In May 2021, Don Frericks, founder of Don Frericks Leadership Coaching, joined Steve King of People At Your Service, to discuss the importance of leaders having purpose and passion in an increasingly virtual world. The session opened, however, with Don sharing a little about his background and what got him into leadership coaching.
For Don, it all began with the realization that a lot of suffering in the office comes from really bad leadership. As a result, businesses are going to be best served by focusing efforts on building extraordinary leaders. We’ve all heard the adage that people don’t leave a job, they leave a (bad) boss and that was a theme that was woven throughout the discussion.
Don then talked about the importance EQ, IQ and CQ in leaders. Most of us are familiar with IQ as a measure of intelligence and EQ, or emotional intelligence, has certainly become much more familiar to many in the last few decades. But CQ is a term not often encountered and Don explained it was your curiosity quotient. His point is that curiosity is foundational for great leaders because they know how to ask really good questions and how to really listen.
This then brought us to the theme of the talk – finding and having passion. The best leaders, Don shared, are the ones who have a passion and a purpose in all that they do. People are attracted to that. And as an extension of finding your passion at work, Don strongly encouraged people to find their personal purpose… to define why we do what we do and what things we are willing to withstand anything for.
The irony is that it’s easy to say that we need to find our purpose, the reality is that finding one’s passion can be really difficult. It requires investing time and having honest reflection, of exploring the good and bad things in our careers. One thing that Don strongly encouraged was for people to have an accountability partner who can both help keep you on target but also provide an objective sounding board as you go on this journey of discovery.
And the payoffs of finding your passion are significant. Think about your own journey and the people and causes you are drawn to. You were likely introduced to them by someone who had a fire in them about what is being done or could be accomplished. We attracted to someone who believes in what they are saying and can paint a bold but still attainable goal… think of President Kennedy going before Congress and declaring that, before the end of the decade, we would land people on the moon.
As an effective leader, we need to bring vision and passion to those we seek to lead. And we need to give them a reason to believe.
Building from there, Don made some very poignant points about leadership and flexibility. Leading is a moment-to-moment thing. You need to adapt what you’re doing, not to the point where you are being inauthentic, but rather you’re adapting your style, even slightly, to better match the preferred style of your team. It can be hard but doing so is vitally important in building the relationship and communicating effectively with others.
Don also emphasized a strong sense of service that’s common in great leaders. The question you should be asking yourself is not “how do I make them change” but rather “what must I do such that their behavior changes?” This speaks to a mindset where the leader accepts responsibility for their team and the role that they play in developing them.
In short, Don made a compelling case for doing the difficult work of finding your passion and leveraging it to inspire and lift up those we lead.
You can listen to the full discussion Here.