As a young and inexperienced leader, one of my earliest recollections was a challenge by an equally young and inexperienced member of my team. He was popular and influential with his peers. However, leaders agreed he was just trouble. Crucially, he decided he was going to make life as difficult as he could for me. With no support available from anyone experienced, I pondered my options. One day my dithering was over when after taking an overly extended and extremely inconvenient lunch break he swanned back into the office. When I asked to have a quick word, he swore at me in front of the team. As it turned out, it was my first situation where I became aware of understanding the difference between inspiring and motivating a team member
It was a defining moment for me on a number of fronts. The most vital being the consequences of putting off taking decisive action on a team member’s behaviour well before it reached a critical point. My mind was recognising the difference between inspiring and motivating this particular person. I realised I needed to do something completely different.
Once we got over the formality of the strong warning he received, I decided to be wholly frank. I explained the effect his behaviour was having. At the same time, I also expressed my disappointment that he was selling himself short. I managed to get him to talk about his future. I teased out of him about what he wanted. Most importantly I painted a vivid picture of where his behaviour was headed if he didn’t change. I asked him if that was what he wanted. Of course, he didn’t.
I didn’t focus on his misdemeanour. I showed an interest in what made him tick instead. Once I showed an interest in his intrinsic motivation his attitude towards me changed. His behaviour changed from that day, and we never looked back. It took him about 5 years, and we had long since lost touch. However, when I read he had been appointed to the role he had at that time told me he would love to do, I had to smile.
How do you reach your team?
Being able to reach your team, with the intent to bring out the best of them requires you to understand the difference between inspiring and motivating your team. The most powerful way is to find deep intrinsic and meaningful purpose. Less effective although sometimes necessary is to extrinsically motivate them to reach milestones in their career or lives. Both have a place, but if you only reach the motivation stage, then you have missed an opportunity to connect at the deepest level.
On the occasions I have asked leaders about how they reach their team, their answer usually reveals whether they consciously or unconsciously know how to inspire, or motivate. A higher self leader will have the self-awareness to understand the difference between inspiring and motivating. As a result, they will, where possible help their team member to connect in a very fundamental way.
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I help leaders develop self- mastery, helping them to become confident in their own inner guidance.
I collaborate with leadership experts, managers and HR professionals to help them get their own message and unique services and products to a wide audience.