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Purpose, Passion, and Emotional Intelligence Drive Global Leaders

Updated: Oct 28, 2020

Today's employees want to engage their purpose and passion in their work life. Purpose means that a person is plugged into his or her uniqueness, unique gifts, and individual genius. And passion is the state in which a person is able to actualize his or her true desires.

Together, purpose and passion help employees to live their full potential. Working with purpose and passion gives rise to a new style of leadership: the Global Leader.

Smart companies recognize that they need to connect people's purpose and passion with everyday work if they hope to attract and retain employees. Leadership expert Bill George has suggested that high wages and perks are no longer the way to attract talent. "[Workers] want to make an immediate impact," George says. "They want to make a difference."

Operating from purpose and passion creates a more natural and holistic environment in which employees can express themselves and organize their work and their teams. A holistic environment implies internal alignment, in which a worker's mind, body, emotions, and values and beliefs all operate together. This inner alignment makes work the most efficient and effective it can be, and it turns everyone in an organization into a Global Leader.

Emotional Intelligence Aligns Purpose and Values

Critical to internal alignment is Emotional Intelligence. Emotional Intelligence helps to synchronize a person's purpose with his or her values, resulting in more effective leadership in which leaders naturally create the best results.

In defining Emotional Intelligence, most experts agree that these skills and capacities include self-awareness, self-motivation, communication, collaboration, teamwork, critical thinking, social skills, creativity, empathy, and adaptability.

Research suggests that people actually might be hard-wired for some or all of these skills, according to compassion expert Emma Seppala, PhD. Survival instincts often drive people to respond with compassion, empathy, and the desire to help others, Seppala suggests. The result is reduced stress, increased social connection, and increased physical and emotional well-being.

By applying Emotional Intelligence, people can clarify their values and act with more purpose, as the graphic below shows.

Emotional Intelligence Aligns Workers to Values and Purpose

Values are a deep set of principles or standards of worth that produce meaning and peak experiences in life. Many modern workers want to experience a completely new set of values in the workplace, including fulfillment, authenticity, simplicity, flexibility, joy, and well-being. These values represent a radical shift from traditional workplace norms, which often operated from control, stress, fear, and lack of meaning.

As people's values clarify, Emotional Intelligence also helps workers express their purpose. Purpose includes a person's uniqueness, unique gifts, and individual genius. Uniqueness is rooted in a state of authenticity, in which a person's mind, body, emotions, and values and beliefs are aligned and pulling together.

In this state, a person can make radical breakthroughs. A person feels empowered to act on his or her unique gifts, which are archetypes of potential that everyone holds. And a person's individual genius―a state in which both hemispheres of the brain are synchronized―directs him or her in how to use those gifts.

As Daniel Goleman, the leading expert on Emotional Intelligence, writes: "Emotional Intelligence gives you clarity on your values and sense of purpose, so you can be more decisive when you set a course of action. As a leader, you can be candid and authentic."

Emotional Intelligence is gaining significant importance in organizations. In fact, Alain Dehaze, CEO of The Adecco Group, believes that workers' skills in Emotional Intelligence eventually will surpass technical expertise as the global economy evolves.

Focus and Awareness Accelerate Your Purpose and Fuel Your Passion Two important aspects of Emotional Intelligence are self-awareness and focus. Self-awareness includes an accurate assessment of your strengths and weaknesses, an understanding of your thoughts and feelings, and a sense of how others see you, Goleman states. Focus is the ability to hold your attention steady and to concentrate that attention.

Focus and self-awareness, in turn, act as fuel to ignite a person's purpose and passion, as shown in the graphic below. The more focused and self-aware a worker is, the more he or she can act with clarity and decisiveness. With clarity and decisiveness, a person can more fully engage their purpose. A person then can take possession of his or her unique gifts and manifest them confidently and easily, thus expressing their passion.

Passion and Purpose Flow from Emotional Intelligence and Values

Focus and self-awareness also produce simplicity, which reduces stress and allows people to rediscover themselves and maintain a sense of well-being, according to coaching pioneer Thomas Leonard. Simplicity brings ease to a person's work and life. And this capacity frees workers to cultivate flexibility, creativity, and innovation. The evolved person has the ability to produce infinite choice, Leonard concluded.

Thus, with Emotional Intelligence, purpose, and passion, work becomes more like play, and joy and fulfillment in the workplace become possible.

Global Leaders Excel at Emotional Intelligence, Purpose, and Passion

Work that is rooted in purpose, passion, and Emotional Intelligence is opening new roles for people in organizations and, indeed, might be creating an entirely new class of workers focused on emotional engagement. These workers will gain demand as technology trends evolve in the marketplace.

A recent article in Harvard Business Review (HBR) suggests that as artificial intelligence takes over tasks traditionally performed by humans, we need a new definition of "smart," as shown in the graphic below. The new smart must take emotional engagement to a new level and include the "quality of your thinking, listening, relating, collaborating, and learning," according to HBR.

Technology Advancements Create "New Smart" Jobs at which Global Leaders Excel

Moreover, journalist Livia Gershon suggests that as technology replaces technical skills, new jobs will arise for workers who are highly developed in Emotional Intelligence, thus creating opportunities for "people to genuinely care about each other."

Today's workplace trends converge on the mindset and capacities of the Global Leader. Global Leaders are highly qualified to meet the challenges of a transformed world, which will require clear thinking, clear feeling, and deeper and more meaningful service to others.

Yet organizations have a long way to go to develop Emotional Intelligence in employees. A recent LinkedIn study found that almost 60 percent of US companies cannot find people with strong skills in Emotional Intelligence.

As organizations embrace workplace trends and the "new smart," Global Leaders will be fully prepared to meet the challenges of 21st Century work. Global Leaders are holistic and transformational. Global Leaders naturally create Goodwill in Every Interaction. From this new mindset, people are free to re-imagine the workplace and create new solutions to today's highly complex problems.


George, Bill. "Attracting Talent; Brexit and Banks." CNBC video, posted by Bill George, June 20, 2016.

Gershon, Livia. "The Future Is Emotional." Aeon, June 22, 2017. Accessed Aug. 10, 2017.

Goleman, Dan. "What Is Emotional Self-Awareness." Reports and Insights. Korn Ferry Institute, May 17, 2017.

Hess, Ed. "In the AI Age, 'Being Smart' Will Mean Something Completely Different." Harvard Business Review, June 19, 2017. Accessed Aug. 10, 2017.

Leonard, Thomas J. “Top Ten Trends Evolving Us.” Coachville, 1999.

Rampton, John. "10 Qualities of People with High Emotional Intelligence." Inc., Jan. 14, 2016. Accessed Aug. 10, 2017.

Seppala, Emma M., PhD. "Compassion: Our First Instinct." Psychology Today, June 3, 2013. Accessed Aug. 10, 2017.

The Adecco Group. "The Soft Skills Imperative: Human Attitude in the Workplace." White paper, Jan. 24, 2017. Accessed Aug. 10, 2017.

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