“Motivation is when you get hold of an idea and carry it through to its conclusion, and inspiration is when an idea gets hold of you and carries you where you are intended to go.”
– Dr. Wayne Dyer
Motivation and inspiration…two words often used interchangeably and echoed throughout the minds of leaders today. They might seem like the same thing at first glance, but many executives missing a critical component in their evolution as a senior executive. Here’s the difference: Motivation is of the ego, while inspiration is of the soul. Knowing how to motivate can make you a phenomenal boss while knowing how to inspire will solidify your future as a phenomenal leader!
Being inspirational can be a trait that appears to be intangible. You might have heard people say, “You either have it or you don’t.” People like Steve Jobs, Winston Churchill, or Tony Robbins were most certainly born as charismatic and influential individuals. So if being inspirational to others is something we all want, but it’s something you are “just born with”, then inspiration must be impossible to teach, right? Not quite.
Turns out, inspirational leadership can be built with thoughtful and measured practice. There’s even an incredibly easy place to start!
It All Starts with You
In order to inspire others, you must first be inspired yourself.
Reflect upon some of the individuals in your life who have inspired you. The common thread between them all of these people is that you fed off of their enthusiasm. If you don’t know where you are going, how can you expect those around you to be inspired to join you on the journey?
Great leaders have a crystal clear vision for what the future holds, and they can articulate that vision precisely with contagious energy. Martin Luther King Jr’s “I Have a Dream” speech is proof of his ability to paint a picture so clearly that it almost seems we are already living in the future state. To truly inspire, you must start from within by answering these questions:
- What service or thing do we provide and what’s our connection as to why that matters?
- What are we building together?
- Why is my team special? What makes us proud to be part of this unique collection of individuals?
- What are my 1, 3, and 5-year dreams for my team? What will life look like for all involved?
- How does my dream connect on a personal level with each team member?
- How do each of my team members want to be remembered in terms of the impact they had?
- What gifts am I giving to those I work with every day?
Each of the answers to these questions will help leaders advance to the next stage of their business.
Focusing only on motivation is comfortable for most leaders. Motivation can be wildly effective as it forces us to keep up, compete, and compare ourselves to others. Motivation works as it compels us to take action, push past limits, and do more than we thought possible. At the same time, motivation without inspiration is temporary and exhausting. Motivation can drive results while inspiration drives the purpose connected to those results.
That connection is what keeps individuals tethered to a mission and company for years to come. When a leader is able to reach in and inspire the hearts and minds of individuals, people are changed from the inside out. When employees want to take action because there is a deeply connected desire from within, that action is sustainable and infinitely more meaningful.
One of the strongest value props a leader can give an employee is the ability to perpetually grow in all dimensions. The message that someone else believes in you and sees potential in you can be a powerful connector. Professional and personal growth can be expected, but do not overlook the importance of financial, mental, and spiritual growth as well. In nature, plants either grow or decompose. They never stay the same! In an organization, nourishment is supplied by learning What is being done within your organization to foster learning, growth, and new perspectives each week?
Don’t be afraid to set your team free. Open the gates and let the human need for autonomy and significance flourish. People want to succeed, but can be suppressed by a leader’s need for control or cumbersome processes within the organization. Inspire others by giving them a purpose they connect with, a timeline for results, and the authority to act.
When a car is out of gas, you inject it with gas. Your team is no different. When the team doesn’t know what to do next, lead by example!
This doesn’t mean you need to be the first one in and the last one out every day. In fact, many times the “busiest” people are the ones who simply manage their time the poorest. Unplugging and taking time off is important, but the team should be able to clearly see your dedication to doing what’s necessary to achieve success. You will be thrilled to see the byproduct of that dedication when the rest of the team follows in your direction. Now go on and inspire those around you!
With over 90 years of Logistics experience, Top Talent is a recognized leader in Talent Acquisition for Logistics, Transportation, and Supply Chain., Let us put our team to work for you. To learn more about successful strategies for getting those impact players and game-changers on your team, reach out to us today.
– Michael Monson
President and CEO