Many leaders who put tasks over the larger purpose, end up making their team members also feel like they are simply resources that are only useful for getting those tasks completed. What they might have a tendency to overlook is that for them to be able to achieve those tasks, their teams need much more than the monthly paycheck. As a result of this attitude on the part of the leaders, even the regular award, praise and recognition lose their value and their potential as motivators.
At the outset it is important to mention that motivation and inspiration are not interchangeable. Many consider them to be so and therefore a lot of human potential perhaps remains untapped. Motivation is almost always external. Inspiration is what drives you from within, thereby being far more long lasting. Motivation is centred on the ‘how’, while inspiration almost always asks ‘why’ or ‘who’ making it far more linked to the vision of what has to be achieved.
While many interesting articles and blogs online focus on motivation at work, managers tend to look at these as quick fixes. This ends up making it probably more mechanical than heartfelt. Inspiration is tougher to achieve not just because it is intrinsic, but because it is far greater a concept than motivation.
But when there are small steps that one can take towards motivation which can keep the team going, why does one need to delve into a more daunting concept like inspiration? This is because inspiration is the game changer – the reason why your people will be working with a far greater purpose than the paycheck and the boost to their careers (no doubt important issues, but still not game changers). Today you might have a team that works efficiently, but is not personally attached to the organization and the work you do. They get the work done, but when a better opportunity comes their way in terms of money and designation, won’t hesitate to pack their bags and move on. In contrast, imagine a workforce that wakes up every morning, charged up by what lies ahead of them that day. Or better still, imagine a workforce that is just charged up by everything they do every single day! People that are talking excitedly in every meeting about the potential of the work that they do and that you do. That looks at everyone in the organization like a team that’s working so hard towards the same goals. A workforce that acknowledges each other’s challenges and struggles and goes out of their way to support each other even when support is not explicitly asked for.
Inspiration seems daunting because there aren’t any quick fixes. Either something inspires a person or it does not. What makes it easier though is that everybody does have something that inspires them at a personal level and it is possible to find out what these might be. It takes time to get to know them, time to build that relationship, and of course it takes effort to ensure that they are inspired all the time. That is, in fact, the difference between a leader who cares about the team versus one that considers them just cogs in the wheel. One that cares about every person’s growth and development and wants to ensure that they are growing into the leader they aspire to be.
Find out whether your team member is inspired by people’s experiences, through learnings and readings, through challenges, through mentors. Block some time on your calendar at the beginning of every week to share inspiration of different kinds with your teams. This will keep them going the whole week! Keep a close pulse on their inspirational moments so that you can even share it with them when they are not around you.
And then wait for them to inspire you!