Emotion vs. Passion

We love seeing examples of people expressing their passion, especially when it reinforces their desire to do well for their clients or colleagues. Passion is contagious and can even lift others out of lethargy.

There is a distinction, however, between expressing passion and being subjectively emotional, or “overly emotional” as some people describe it. When this happens, people lose their objectivity and they are less effective influencers. I’ve seen many examples of this, with both positive and negative emotions.

When an expression of passion is perceived as emotional, you can lose credibility. What was previously a “positive contagion” can turn into an emotional loss.

Here’s an example. A leader expresses passion for a new line of business that will become part of her department. She introduces the concept to her team in a way that almost everyone is absorbing her passion.

As questions arise, however, she answers with the same passionate tone, but over time, she becomes a little defensive because, frankly, she doesn’t have all the answers. She thinks that incomplete answers expressed passionately will do the trick. As this continues, however, the team knows that she’s just winging it and enthusiasm begins to dissipate.

Effective emotional intelligence helps you express passion credibly and learn to influence more successfully. Being passionate alone doesn’t equate to good emotional intelligence. When you’re emotionally intelligent, your self-awareness guides you to express yourself appropriately in different situations.

If you’re curious about your own emotional intelligence, just email me and I’ll send you a link to a questionnaire that will provide some answers.

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