That statement was once said to me by a manager who was also the leader of an entire organization – “keep passion separate from work”. Once I heard that, I began planning my escape plan.
Now I can understand the usefulness of keeping emotion separate from work. It’s not constructive to cry or get angry when receiving feedback, but to lead an organization and tell someone to keep passion out of their work reveals what type of leader they are. As a leader, it is your job to captain the ship, deliver the messages (sometimes good, sometimes bad), and make tough decisions. As a leader, your decisions could have far-reaching impact and may have to be made without 100% certainty (check out this article on how Jeff Bezos makes these types of decisions). These decisions can be made with a level headed, business-focused approach that can be absent of emotion but influenced by the passion a leader has for the business to succeed.
I’m a firm believer that authenticity and passion is important not only in leadership but in how you market your business. Fake it and people will know. You don’t have to follow a script or a formula – be yourself, have a plan, execute the plan.