Leading people or teams that want to be led is much easier than leading a team that would rather not. This makes perfect sense and is likely not a surprise for anyone. The question, and challenge, is how do you motivate a team to accomplish a task that they would rather not do. How do you get someone to complete a project that they could care less about? A leader must motivate and inspire and provide task and purpose.
Motivation is the force that gets you going – the carrot or the stick. For some, being a member of a team is motivation enough. Others need a bonus, raise, or praise (the carrot) while some need the fear of demotion, losing a bonus or even their job (the sick). As the leader, you need to find what motivates your team members and get them going. Each team member is different and needs different motivation. Some are self-motivated, some need the carrot, and some need the stick.
Inspiration may be synonymous to motivation in many cases, but when it comes to leading, they are different. Motivation may become inspiration if done correctly; however, inspiration focuses on energizing the individual or team to achieve or exceed their potential, and becomes a part of who they are. Motivation is the carrot or stick, whereas inspiration becomes the innate desire to succeed. A motivated individual will accomplish a task as quickly as possible to get home and watch the game while an inspired individual will strive for better results.
Task and purpose.
Task and purpose must go together. Always. A task in and of itself is meaningless without purpose. Have you ever been assigned the task of producing a report knowing (or thinking) that nobody will read it? How does that make you feel? I have had my fair share of such tasks, often asking myself “why am I even doing this?” Would it change if you thought someone would read it or if you knew why you were completing it? Have you ever assigned someone a task without providing purpose? Try telling them why the seemingly meaningless task is so important and that you actually do need it. Show your team how important it is that the task is completed. What if the report isn’t really that important? What if the task really is meaningless? Then you may want to stop the report or task and focus your teams’ energy on something that is more valuable.
Motivate your team and inspire them to succeed more. Provide clear task and purpose. When you do, step back and see what they will do. You may just be amazed.
Jared W. Snow