It’s Not a Leader’s Job to Motivate

August 28th, 2014   •   no comments   

Businesses rarely fail because of talent or resources. Actually, there is plenty of that to go around. Failure happens because of each individual’s motivation. It’s not  a leader’s job to motivate. Motivation is an intrinsic factor that only comes from within. And although motivation is not the leader’s job, it is their job to inspire.

To clear up some confusion in the words, here’s the definitions according to

Motivation: Internal and external factors that stimulate desire and energy in people to be continually interested and committed to a job, role or subject, or to make an effort to attain a goal. Motivation results from the interaction of both conscious and unconscious factors such as the (1) intensity of desire or need, (2) incentive or reward value of the goal, and (3)expectations of the individual These factors are the reasons one has for behaving a certain way.

Inspiration: The act of influencing subordinants to perform and engage in achieving a goal.

Leadership that Inspires

8_20_14_AlexanderthegreatLion.  Nothing is more inspiring than a person that has an influential presence, much like the lion.

Yes, lions roar. Research shows that lions roar to communicate, to claim their territory and as a strategy to distract or confuse their prey. While we may not want to focus on  distraction and confusion, roaring can and does provide focus on top priorities.

I believe the real inspiration  comes from the lion’s   slow, dignified lift of the head as it surveys its surrounding to the power exuded in every muscle as they calmly, confidently, gracefully navigate through danger. They are often alone and apart from the crowd as they continually scan, survey and plan. Only theirs eyes in motion capturing all the potential dangers as well as the capabilities of their pride.

Appreciating that a lion’s motivation is much less complex than people, with  food and safety as the primary motivator, leaders can still see the value to inspire as they communicate expectations, while calmly and critically surveying their organization’s climate and environment to more fully understand the underlying motivators of their team.

8_20_14_John Q. AdamsDreams.  A leader that inspires people to proactively discover their dreams and their passions will also help them to connect those dreams  to the company’s vision and purpose.  An inspirational leader helps to challenge people’s interests and ideas to come into alignment fully engaged and motivated to, not just do the jobs they have been assigned, but to actively become more innovative,  creative and  adaptable to change.

As each motivated individual sees opportunities that bring their closer to their dreams, they embrace learning new skills, becoming more resilient and taking more initiative to be more and do more within the organization.  The inspirational leader now can rise above the day-to-day operations to take the business and their employees dreams to new heights.

Aug_23_2014_Courage_SinekCourage.  Leadership can be really scary, especially if one is being held accountable for the actions of others. One of the greatest challenges that strong, successful , self-motivating individuals possess is the ability to delegate.  It takes courage to delegate.

When I was in the corporate setting, I was offered a newly created Chief Operating Officer position. One of the first gifts that I received as a COO from the CEO was a little statue that said, “I believe in you.”  This act tapped into my strong motivation to succeed in spite of often difficult and overwhelming odds.   These acts of  courage -taking the risk and believing in the unknown ME –  inspired persistence and commitment, because I was NOT going to let her down.

Aug_23_2014WE_LaoTzuWe.  For me, this quote offers a great summation to this blog.  Fully understanding motivation serves to support individual beliefs and knowledge that significant contributions to the relationship, the project, the event, the business endeavor have been made.

Although it’s not a leader’s job to motivate. It is essential for leaders to  inspire others to new heights of success. We would love to learn your thoughts on inspiration and motivation.

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