Passion Versus Smarts

I’m sure you’ve heard someone say, in some roundabout way—follow your passion, do what you love and you’re sure to succeed in whatever you undertake. It sounds cliché and to many unbelievable, but at the same time, I’m sure you’ve seen that saying proven true in many circumstances, as well.

Steve Jobs, Michael Jordan, Oprah Winfrey… the list goes on and on, of significant people who let their passion drive them to success.

But how does the passion factor affect who we hire or how we manage employees? Do we hire employees to add passion and fire to our team, or do we hire based on if they are actually capable and smart enough to do the job? Also, can we be an effective leader/manager with just a spirited attitude? Probably not.

Ideally, sure, we’d want to manage someone with both of these qualities. You don’t want to hire a passionate candidate who is as dense as a brick, and, likewise, you don’t want someone who is genius-level smart but doesn’t care about going above and beyond the scope of a project to excel. The same goes for characteristics in a good manager.

Here are a couple of reasons of how passion and smarts go hand in hand:

Communicate your passion: While you can be motivated about a company’s direction as a leader, or even a job opportunity as a candidate, you can’t move the company forward without being able to communicate why your passionate and how this serves an objective or goal of the organization. To create a team of believers, you have to get everyone on the same page—and that takes smart communication.

Execute your passion: Passion is definitely one aspect of a great leader, but if you can’t get things done and figure out a way to execute, you will fall flat. Learn how to trust your instincts, and make the best decision based on logical factors (and your gut!) to get the job done. Find a way to make your passion a reality.

Truth is, you have to have smarts to fuel your passions. Good luck!