Giving Purpose to Passion

We all face challenging personalities on a daily basis. It could be that customer who has great expectations, maybe it’s the channel partner who takes but does not give, and sometimes our greatest challengers are on our team.

Some call them “problem children”, but I do not recognize that label. Leaders Beacon is the Holy Grail of thought leadership, so today’s discussion should ring a resounding bell. It is my contention that our best talent tend to be our most out-spoken team members. When hands go up in the air, two distinct paths are presented:

  • Managers see passion as disruptive
  • Leaders see the potential in passion

Generational Stereotyping

As a member of Generation X, I don’t ever remember seeing articles about how to manage me when I entered the workplace. I recently did some research and found a posting on the dating habits of my generation, it was inaccurate and offensive. Now I know how “Generation Y” feels every day. There has never been a more stereotyped generation of workers, conclusions on their motivational track are consistently inaccurate, and I don’t blame them for being upset about it!

It has been said that Generation Y hates the term accountability. This may be because their assumed mentors fail to honor the term. Too often we look at a team and blame the players, great coaches are accountable in defeat and humble in victory.

Where Have All The Leaders Gone?

My father was an extraordinary leader. I thought that everyone with an elevated title shared his expertise. I was wrong! I held great expectations for a lot of managers when I entered the workplace, many of them failed to meet my expectations, but no one wrote an article about my generation being disgruntled.

Let me tell you who I want on my team. I want a group of hard working people, who are full of ideas and are not afraid to challenge authority. This is the basis for how organizations evolve and how things get done. The key is to accept the hyper-focus of your team members and to help them channel it into results. If you feel the people on your team expect too much of you, it’s time to step down. If you have your title as an act of self-preservation, I guarantee you will be dethroned (very soon). The period of default promotion has passed.


I remember sitting in a review with a person I had hired. She went through an hour long diatribe as to how the organization had failed her, the industry was changing, and I was unavailable as a manager. With all of the cards on the table she finally said, “I need help”! Now we’re getting somewhere! 

3 Leadership Reminders

1. Turn Complaints into Action Items: step to the whiteboard with your team member and ask he/she to tell you what sucks about the job. Then turn complaints into action items. Our success is determined by our perception and our attitude, Lead accordingly!

2. Listen and Apply: If you ask opinions of your team as an exercise to pretend you care and do not take action on their input, you will never be respected as a leader!

3. Stop Pretending You Know Everything: I understand that upholding a professional demeanor is essential to gaining respect, but an act of vulnerability will get you there much quicker!  

Thanks for Reading!

Dave Kovacovich