Passion: the great leadership tool

leadership Mar 14, 2022
Anita Roddick believed in the persuasive power of passion

If you get a buzz out of your job, and get excited talking about it to strangers, congratulations - you have one of the most important communications tools.

Your enthusiasm, your passion, will do more than almost anything else to get people engaging with - and buying into - your ideas.

Anita Roddick (pictured) knew a thing or two about getting people to support her ideas.

She founded the Body Shop, selling cosmetics that were not tested on animals, and turned it into a global empire. She was an environmental campaigner, and an enthusiastic supporter of Greenpeace. It earned her the title Queen of Green.

Anita Roddick (1942 - 2007) was also a very savvy business leader. She took what she described as a series of brilliant accidents and turned them into a chain of almost 2000 stores around the world. 

Underpinning her approach was one fundamental idea: “Communication is the most important tool of leadership... and passion is the most important element of communication.”

It's interesting that she said communication is THE most important tool of a leader... not ONE of them, alongside vision and strategic thinking, but THE most important tool of a leader.

For her, having staff who shared her enthusiasm was essential. “It is passion, above all, that persuades,” she said.

Not packaging, not reasoned arguments not slick slideshows - just plain, unbridled passion. The great persuader.

Tom Peters, the management guru whose book In Search of Excellence has been rated one of the top three business books of the last 100 years, has a similar philosophy: "Don’t keep your passion buttoned inside your vest… an audience’s biggest turn on is the speaker’s obvious enthusiasm."

So if you want people to get excited about supporting your big idea, put the persuasive power of passion to work.