Vaya Insights
Can Your Passion for Work Slow Down Your Career?

Can Your Enthusiasm for Work Hinder Your Professional Progress?

Businesses want workers who are passionate about their work. People that are passionate are generally more productive and bring energy to the workplace that can be inspirational. However, while energy and passion are clearly desirable traits, when coupled with skill deficits, that passion and energy can actually be a detriment.

In part two of our series “examining behavior combinations,” we will look at individuals that demonstrate passion and energy (goal focus) but have difficulty executing priorities (delegation). As discussed in part one of this series, it is important to examine behavior within the context of other behaviors because it can bolster the potential success of an individual. It is also important because, if not recognized, behavior combinations can sometimes deter from an individual’s success. Within this blog, we will examine goal-oriented, energetic individuals whose passion for work and perfection may impede their ability to prioritize and delegate to others – and ultimately to advance within their careers.

Behavior Combination: Passion and Energy (Goal Focus) combined with Executing Priorities, (Delegation)

For junior-level employees, this behavior combination is often viewed as desirable. This employee is seen to be working long hours and putting in the extra mile to ensure every item is perfect. However, it can be challenging as they move onto larger roles within an organization because they frequently have difficulty “letting go.”

Additionally, people are typically promoted because they demonstrate these desirable traits. High performers are likely to deliver consistently and have outstanding drive and determination. These individuals will get EVERYTHING done – from the most critical items to the least important. This becomes especially problematic as this person moves up within an organization because it is impossible to do everything well as the activities and decisions become more complex. This can ultimately lead to a “fire drill” approach to time management.

Furthermore, when an individual uses this approach as a manager, it limits the development of others within the organization because it creates a dependence solely on the leader, rather than the team. This type of individual likes to know what is going on and prefers to be in the action. However, this can lead them to get involved in so many projects and initiatives, many of which could really be owned by his/her team. This individual would benefit from being more purposeful of where to spend his/her time and when it makes sense, give others additional responsibility.

To coach this person, ensure that his or her goals align with the broader company objectives. If he or she is consistently working on things that don’t “fit” call them out and help them re-prioritize. Ask the individual to block out time on his or her calendar for work on long-term projects. Ensure that they anticipate potential “emergencies” and proactively plan ahead. Also, suggest that they delegate and/or seek assistance from others on those “extra” tasks and assignments that they tend to take on by themselves.

People with this behavior combination are extremely goal oriented and highly accountable. Take advantage of this when coaching them. Remind them of their long-term career goals and discuss the importance of focusing on the most critical-to-success priorities and the value of delegating to team members. In the long run, this will not only help the individual achieve his or her career goals, it will also improve the team member’s work-life balance.

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