Choose a career you’re passionate about

I believe being passionate in your career can help you become a leader. ln my opinion, the difference between being a manager of day-to-day activities and being a leader is the passion and effort you put forth.

We all manage processes, people, properties, committees and customers. While the results may vary, managing is essentially getting through the day by controlling events or people.

Far too many people lack passion for their work. Many just show up to collect a paycheck and dislike their jobs. Because of this, the companies they work for can only achieve so much. They become stuck and are limited in their success due to this lack of passion. The outcome is usually similar, and over time, the participants likely become disengaged.

Gallup reports that the percentage of engaged workers in the U.S. has risen to 34 percent — its highest since the organization began reporting a national figure in 2000 — but 13 percent of employees are still actively disengaged, and 53 percent of workers consider themselves “not engaged.”

If we add passion, whether it be in the form of creativity, empathy, motivation or vision, you can start to become a leader. In time, others will follow and become leaders alongside you.

The changes don’t always take shape immediately, but passion will start to blossom, and you will begin to see identities form. Leadership slowly begins to take place.

Spreading leadership

Once a month, I have a team meeting with every employee who deals directly with our customers. We discuss marketing techniques, but more important, we do team-building exercises.

One thing I learned from Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer is the 10-80-10 principle. The top 10 percenters will stick with their fellow 10 percenters, and the 80 percenters will do the same with their group, which is just mediocre. We work hard to change that inclination, pairing a top 10 percenter with an 80 percenter as much as possible to grow our company.

The bottom 10 percenters you don’t even really want to remain in your company. It’s usually the top 10 percenters who have the most passion and are the best leaders.

We also make sure that our six core goals, found on our company’s website, are instilled into all of our employees’ hearts and minds. I don’t mind if employees have different ways of getting their jobs done, as long as everyone is moving forward with the same goals in mind in a passionate manner.

Key to success

When you are passionate about something, you can’t help but think about it all the time, work at it and be excited about it. Your passion influences your daily choices and activities.

Passion can change how you communicate and handle situations. Passion eventually leads to success, in large part because you are always thinking about and working on what you are passionate about.

Most successful leaders don’t have a job — they have a passion.


Brian Schottenstein is the president of Schottenstein Real Estate Group is one of the largest developer/builders in the Midwest, focusing on residential and mixed-use developments throughout the Midwest and Southeast. It also is the only three-time Developer of the Year named by the Building Industry Association.