Enthusiasm: The Most Powerful Tool of Leadership

In 2009, The Academy of Management Journal published a study of “entrepreneur passion” and the effects it has on the funding decisions of venture capitalists.  The inherent challenge of entrepreneurial endeavors is the reliance on “selling” the vision. However, out of the multitude of factors considered, the most persuasive of entrepreneurs had one singular commonality… passion. Moreover, this enthusiasm is an element of power and a response to one’s own self-concept.

Leadership and Power

Amy Cuddy a TED talk veteran, accomplished author, and social psychologist wrote the book Presence, a collection of research affirming the existence of power positioning and the effect it has on one’s own psyche which bleeds into the perceptions of those around us. Presence is the development of a positive self-concept to advance in our own lives, power positioning is the means to do it with. The term is a stand for the positioning of one’s body to convince themselves of their own power. In recreating the stances considered powerful, one can convince themselves its true, transcending the mask. From a powerful stance, testosterone increased 19% followed by a 25% decrease in cortisol (Cuddy, 2018). This self-imposed boost in self-concept is an effect tied directly to the enthusiasm and the determinism of an individual. A powerful leader is one who uses their passion and commitment to inspire their employees.  

Being a Successful Leader

We are not grandfathered into this affectation of power. Pivotal figures in history, inspiring performances, even the beloved statues of art history, display power in positioning to persuade effectively.  Power leads to furthered determinism and enthusiasm which are necessary for convincing others. Persuasion is the crux of leadership, evoking vision and motivation into employees is critical too if expected to perform well.

The ability to convince others isn’t the only attribute a successful leader requires. A successful leader is malleable, adjusting their own leadership style to invoke the latent talent of each employee. James Hunter wrote the worlds most powerful leadership principle to describe servant leadership. Servant leadership is conventionally a leader sharing responsibility and reward with their team, acting as part of it, rather than a separate dictating force. In working closely with the team developing strategies to challenge and utilize the skills of each member is essential. “Leadership is about getting things done through people (Hunter, 2015).” Motivating others through leadership is the goal, and in engaging your employees, they are more likely to work harder for you.

A leader exuding enthusiasm and power will directly affect the disposition, motivation, and passion of the team. However, to convince anyone you first must convince yourself. Utilizing power positioning to create a sounder internal self-concept will then lead to a stronger external paradigm. The team is a complex reflection of the leader, as leadership is a role that holds more influence into the lives of those around us that we would like to believe. So be a powerful visionary leading from the ground, build a presence in the workplace and set a lasting example for your team.  

Chen, Xiao-Ping, et al. “Entrepreneur Passion And Preparedness In Business Plan Presentations: A Persuasion Analysis Of Venture Capitalists’ Funding Decisions.” Academy of Management Journal, vol. 52, no. 1, 2009, pp. 199–214., doi:10.5465/amj.2009.36462018.

Cuddy, Amy Joy Casselberry. Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges. Back Bay Books, 2018.

Hunter, James C. The World’s Most Powerful Leadership Principle: How to Become a Servant Leader. WaterBrook Press, 2015.

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