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Motivation vs. Inspiration


I recently attended the global leadership Summit hosted by Willow Creek church in Chicago. Each year, I look forward to participating in this conference because the lineup of amazing speakers is incredible.

This year showcased John Maxwell, Simon Sinek, Sheila Heen, Craig Groeschel, and many more. All leadership experts and very successful individuals in their careers and various companies. 

Interestingly, the very first speaker on the first day was breaking down the difference between motivation and inspiration during his presentation.

He was talking about how with inspiration, we attract people to perform. He went on to say how inspirational leaders will pull in and attract people to perform based on our enthusiasm, whereas motivation is more akin to pushing someone to achieve a certain goal or task. 

For example, think about how “Beatings will continue until morale improves.”

He was making a great point about how leaders need to be more inspirational, pulling our teams to greater performance instead of motivating them. He made some really impactful points about how inspiration is so incredibly important... and how it is a discipline that most Leaders should work on first.

We should be inspirational, not motivational.

As leaders, we should become better cheerleaders and work with more enthusiasm. We need to stir up feelings from deep within an individual so that they internally want to experience success.

But, because of the fact that many of us as leaders are older, and we're tired, and we're busy, inspiration just doesn't make it into our list of things to do each day.

And at work, aren’t most bosses always looking to give out commands?

These are great reasons why we should learn to inspire better and practice it frequently. 

But here’s the thing….I started to listen with increased skepticism as the speaker was saying that inspiration is more important than motivation.

And finally, he lost me when I started comparing his guidance to my personal experience.

Yes, inspiration is key! But, I think motivation is very important and I'm specifically talking about in extrinsic motivation when it comes to dealing with inexperienced millennial employees. Which is my playground.

When dealing with young adults, we motivate in a way that helps someone earn a reward or avoid punishment. Sometimes they just need a kick in the pants. They just need a little jump start. Not everyone is a self-starter with a lot of initiative.

As leaders, we need to spend more time modeling and exemplifying what we want accomplished and how we want it executed, then reward the behavior by honoring someone financially, verbally or whatever.

Motivating and rewarding someone can induce interest and participation in an activity in which the individual had no initial interest.

In our case that means we’re getting young adults interested in taking a job and showing up to work instead of playing FortNite. 

So, to summarize today's lesson... Leaders of millennial's and younger adults have an obligation and huge opportunity.

Not only can we inspire others intrinsically with enthusiasm and by speaking words of life, but by extrinsically motivating to get the best from their team.

It's going to take a holistic, full-scale tack to succeed in leading a generation that is so different than you and me.

For Millennials, it’s going to take Motivation and Inspiration.  

Get our FREE bullet-proof action guide with practical steps you can take RIGHT NOW to unlock the infinite potential of a young team.

8 Ways to Get Millennials to WANT to Work for You.

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