As someone who cared immensely about everything our company did, I had a tendency to distance some people when my wife Nina and I ran our remodeling company. The intensity of my caring pushed people away from me. Part of what contributed to that was my lack of awareness and responsibility for how some of the people working in the company perceived my intensity. I had to come to terms with the truth that my feelings had to be managed so that I could connect with others who I came to learn were, frankly, scared by my intensity.
At some point it was suggested to me that I embrace the idea of being passionate in lieu of being intense. The wordsmithing might seem to be pointless but it made a big difference for me.
Being passionate implies inviting others to share in the vision, to share in what motivates you. This means making sure that you actually do communicate with others in a manner that makes it possible for them to hear you and be engaged.
Being intense oftentimes presents as being overly concerned about things going well and being overly frustrated about things that did not go well. The perception of negativity that more often than not accompanies intensity can drive people away, even those who care a lot about you as a boss and about the company.
I'm not saying one needs to become a different person. I am suggesting some small changes in the habitual responses one has so that those responses engage people instead of alienating them. After all, the only thing you can change is your attitude. Try it and see the positive effect on your company’s bottom line. —Paul Winans, a veteran remodeler, now works as a facilitator forRemodelers Advantage, and as a consultant to remodeling business owners. Contact him firstname.lastname@example.org.