For years, leaders have asked me how to motivate people. And regardless of whether you’re talking about large teams or small teams, sales teams or project teams, the answer is the same.
You can’t motivate people. People are either self-motivated or they’re not.
The most effective means of getting people to take action is to inspire them.
There is a difference between motivation and inspiration. By definition, “to motivate” means “to provide with an incentive” while “to inspire” means “to exert a stimulating or beneficial effect upon, or to arouse with a particular emotion“. The implication is that people are motivated by what they want, but are inspired us – by who we are and what we do (or did). Therefore, for you to be able to inspire people, they need to know what kind of person you are and need to become aware of what you’re doing or have done in the past.
If you want to enhance your leadership effectiveness and achieve greater success, it is essential to become inspiring to others. An inspiring leader elicits an emotional response from people. This ability is essential to effective leadership. People are moved more often and more strongly by emotion than they are by logic.
An inspiring leader can spark the imagination of an entire organization. When a leader masters the ability to deliver an inspiring message, their message can become the catalyst for a new, innovative future. Inspiration causes people to align themselves with your vision, your passion, and your cause.
An inspiring leader creates belief, enthusiasm, and hope in people. When people are inspired by someone, they admire them, respect them, and often strive to emulate them. In turn, they will strive to gain your respect and admiration as well.
Because the ability to inspire people is so impactful, it’s important to understand how to become an inspiring leader. A good place to start is by thinking of people who you find inspiring and by reflecting on why they inspire you. These people may be historic figures, present day figures, or family members.
Some people I think many of us would consider to be inspiring include Theodore Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln, Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, and Martin Luther King.
So, the question is, what was it about them that made them inspiring? What causes us to feel that way about them? If you list all the things about them that cause you to feel that way, you’ll see that their character and/or their actions were admirable.
When someone has a vision, a passion, a purpose, or a philosophy and communicates it well, they draw people to them like a magnet. They inspire them to dream bigger and achieve more. Even more inspiring is when they act on that vision, passion, or purpose. We also are often inspired by and admire a leader who was willing to stand up for someone or something.
A leader who overcame adversity and succeeded in spite of everything will inspire us to achieve greater things. We all have challenges – sometimes we overcome them and sometimes they overwhelm us. An inspiring leader can make all the difference in someone’s life.
And finally, we are inspired by someone with integrity. Someone who not only does what he or she says they will do, but speaks and acts in alignment with those values they say matter to them. There are few things more powerful than a person who lives by their principles.
Let me offer some insights into what you can do right now to be more inspiring to the people around you. Most of us haven’t had to overcome extraordinary challenges and most of us haven’t made an impact on a global scale. But nevertheless, each of us can be an inspiring leader to our team, our company and our family.
The best way to start is to take time to reflect back on your life and take stock of how you’ve changed, who you’ve become, what you’ve overcome, what you’ve achieved, and what you believe in (your passions, philosophies and/or purpose).
We often tend to consider our past achievements and accomplishments as unremarkable. Unremarkable because either they came easily to us, because we feel that anyone could have accomplished what we did, or because we’re focused on (and are possibly embarrassed by) the challenges we faced rather than focusing on the fact that we overcame those challenges. Nothing could be further from the truth.
STRATEGY #1: Share what matters to you.
People are attracted to and inspired by someone who believes in something and is passionate. In truth, most people are not passionate about anything in their life. Having and expressing a vision can be impactful, but actually taking action on what we say matters to us is very powerful. After all, actions speak louder than words.
If you need a jump start towards gaining clarity about this for yourself, reflect on what advice you would give someone just starting out in business or in life. Never miss an opportunity to share what matters to you. Use stories to make your point and paint a picture with your words.
STRATEGY #2: Let others know about an adversity you overcame.
When people hear a story of how someone overcame adversity and succeeded in spite of it, they become inspired to overcome their own obstacles and challenges. It doesn’t have to be a “crushing” issue. It can be an attitude, a circumstance or a belief that we overcame that allowed us to achieve what we did and become the person we are today.
Share past challenges that you worked to overcome. Remember, it doesn’t have to be a major life-altering challenge to have an impact on someone. Once again, use stories to make your point and paint a picture.
STRATEGY #3: Be willing to stand up for what you believe.
People admire a person who stands up for what they believe in – even if they don’t agree with that person! They admire someone who is true to themselves and defends others.
Don’t compromise on the principles you believe in. Stand up for someone’s rights, even if you don’t agree with them.
STRATEGY #4: Act with integrity.
When someone does what they say they’re going to do, it creates an impression. When they go out of their way to do what they said they’d do, it creates an even stronger impression. Acting with integrity causes people to take notice of us. When we speak and act in alignment with the values we say matter to us, people notice.
Make a practice of doing what you say you are going to do, become clear on what values matter to you, and work to ensure your words and actions align with who you say you are as a person.
Put these ideas into action. People form opinions about us through our everyday actions, rather than as a result of our speeches and decisions. An associate of mine likes to refer to those everyday actions as “moments of apparent insignificance”. But of course, they are anything but insignificant. Start now to make a greater difference in people’s lives.
If you’d like help becoming a more inspiring leader, please contact me.Enter text here.