Inspire vs. Motivate

Leaders don’t motivate. There. I said it. Got it out of the way early. Inspire wins.


Simple. Because motivation comes from within. We are driven by our own motivators. Leaders don’t put motivation into us. They draw it out.

The art of leadership is connecting people’s internal motivations to a piece of work, a goal, a cause, a project, a mission, or a job. Make that connection, and people will follow you.


By inspiring people with vision, equipping them with resources and support, and letting them go.

So, how do leaders inspire? Let me count the ways!

Here is a starter list.  You keep it going…

  • Model the way.
  • Show appreciation and recognition.
  • Cast a compelling vision.
  • Believe in people.
  • Serve people.
  • Promote people.
  • Connect with people.
  • Tell powerful stories.
  • Help people relate to those stories.
  • Challenge people.
  • Be real — uness you’re a jerk.
  • Be appropriately vulnerable.
  • Be confident.
  • Produce results.
  • Help people produce results, then recognize them for it.
  • Extend trust.

What would you add?


Leave a Comment