Every single one of us, no matter who you are, have an activity, topic or something that we are passionate about. You will know when someone is passionate about something cause it is a part of them and it runs through their veins. It is something that they deeply care about!
Passion & Ownership
Think about some of the things that you are passionate about. It may be something like a soccer team, or fixing/improving things. No matter what, when you have the passion inside of you, you pour hundreds and hundreds of hours into it and you make sure that you be the best that you can be at it.
Your job as a leader should be to identify the passions that exist within each member of your team and let them take ownership of that "realm". For example, in my team I have people that are passionate about testing, organizing, finding tools to improve our processes and even someone who loves having fun. Each person will have something different that they can bring to the table and by having all these diverse personalities, you improve a lot in various areas.
Once you have identified the passions of your team members, you goal is then to let them take ownership of that part. As a leader you may be hesitant to lose control, but in all honesty, they will probably do a better job than you in that area. In addition, by having people who are passionate take up the role and will ensure that things are done to the best of their abilities, thereby helping to mitigate the broken windows theory as they will ensure that everything is "tidy".
In my team, the person that is passionate about organizing is also the same person who loves to find tools to help the team. As a result, I have told them that I want him to be in charge of how documentation & materials are organized and maintained. In addition, if he finds anything that he thinks may be useful he can show the rest of the team and we can try it out to see if it works for the rest of us. The same thing with the person that is passionate about the testing, he has full authority to go ahead and get the automated testing up and functioning in our team.
The Goal Is...
The second part of this is that you never tell the people that you have identified how to do their tasks. Instead, you should direct by telling them what the end goal is and leave it up to them to decide what path to take. All that they need to do is keep you in the loop as to what their thinking is. Other than that, it is all up to them. This also ties up nicely with the ownership aspect, as now they really feel like that it is now their baby to take care of.
I challenge you to find the things that people in your team are passionate about. At the very least, you will find something that they are really keen on trying out, which can be just as good. So go ahead and let the passion drive your team.
Until next time...keep learning!