Passion ... is no ordinary word ...' sang Graham Parker in the '80s. That is certainly true of current times, where we are witnessing a renaissance of passionate leadership. Gone is the talk of technocratic management, outputs, productivity; even emotional intelligence is on the wane. Instead, in these heady days of civil engagement and active citizenship, passion accompanied by outcomes, accountability and effectiveness is on the rise.
Even when buying your lunchtime sandwich you may be given a leaflet from Pret declaring a number of 'passion facts' such as 'the team serving on the tills made your sandwiches this morning. At the end of the day we would rather give what we haven't sold to charity to help feed the homeless than compromise our standards.'
Mercedes Benz and Swatch, which joined forces to produce the Smart car, have called the top-of-the-range model Passion. Some sneered that it was a fashion accessory, not a car, but they soon found that the car outperformed many others because it was literally smart, good quality, quick to respond, low maintenance, economical to run, manoeuvrable, and most of all fun! Many of the qualities, in fact, of passionate leadership.