Have you ever heard the question, "what motivates you?" Better yet, have you been part of a leadership team which is tasked with motivating others? Getting the best out of a group of skilled individuals is an essential and necessary part of what a leader does, but is it honestly motivation we need to focus on? Think about this for just a second. If we motivate someone to perform a task very well, once the task is completed, so is the motivation. If we give financial incentives to motivate, what happens when the money runs out?
During my recent leadership conference, we had the absolute pleasure to have a keynote speaker by the name of Nicholas Boothman. He posed a question that caught me off guard and then provided the answer and reasoning for the answer. (Also a positive leadership technique, by the way!) He asked, "why are there so many motivational speakers out there?" Well, as it turns out, he went on to explain that motivation just "bloody doesn't work." If you're a leader and striving for a short burst of energy or focus to complete a specific task, then motivate away. If you're looking for engaged, productive, and excited work forces, motivation is an ingredient in what you really need, not the full recipe for success. What do you need? Inspiration, my friend, you need inspiration!
If you inspire people, they will motivate themselves! This is a novel approach. Now the hard work must begin, how do we inspire those whom we must lead? Those we want to lead? Those whom in return want to be lead? As I stated, motivation must come from within, so the first step is finding a group whom has the desire to work, engage, and be part of this thing you are trying to accomplish.
Once those people are found and included into the group or activity, the second step is to be clear in your communications. Huh? What does this have to do with anything? Everything, that's what! You have to be clear in what you are doing, why you are doing it, when you are doing it, and where you are doing it, and most importantly, how you are doing it. With clear communications on the who, what, why, when, where, and how's, you've started the process off with a clear goal, procedure, and expectation.
Now we have the people and they know the details, we need to motivate them to get the activity done, right? Wrong! We need to inspire them. If we provide them with inspiration, we open up the entire process to suggestions for improvements, empowered employees whom what to be part of this, and a continual evolution of successes. If we empower those whom want to be there and are clear in our communications, they will want to be part of this. We must inspire.
Motivation is essential, yes. It is essential for short term goals or activities. If someone whom is having a rough day or facing a daunting task, we must utilize motivation to help them over the hurdle. Then use the success to help build them, this will inspire them to do it again. Motivation is a needed tool in the leadership toolbox, but inspiration should be the belt with which we carry it.
How about you? Would you rather be motivated by your leader or would you rather be inspired?