Commonly used interchangeably, inspiration and motivation are separate things. Inspiration is emotional drive while motivation stimulates action. Inspiration can be used as a motivator, but motivation is based upon reward. To properly motivate, it is imperative to examine the wants and needs of a team in a full picture approach. The state of the world and economy being as they are, most people are struggling, both financially and emotionally. Jobs seem scarce; money is tight; and work-life balance is an obscure myth trying to juggle responsibilities, relationships, and self-care. No matter the situation, it may seem like a test in futility to incite the inspiration and motivation needed to accomplish goals, but it is very possible with the right mindset and techniques.
Set the tone by using positive language and avoid negative talk. Attitudes are contagious and quickly impact work quality and experience.
Always give a deadline or expected end date. A temporary hard time is always easier to accept and deal with than working tirelessly and feeling hopeless with no end in sight.
Reiterate the rainbow at the end of the tunnel. A team cannot be expected to put forth extra effort or meet extra demands without gaining something desired, whether it be additional time off, a bonus, or even something more intangible, like respect and recognition.
Most importantly, empathy is the greatest tool a leader can use. Assigning workstations and delegating tasks is necessary to maintain proper workflow, but being a team involves so much more. Without the ability of emotional intelligence and a true willingness to see from another’s perspective, people will quickly become demotivated and discouraged. Never use fear as a way to motivate, for then it is just tyrannical oppression and is a sure way to lose even the most loyal team members. It’s not about control; it’s about working together. A machine needs all parts to optimally function. Instead, show compassion and understanding by putting ego aside and getting some skin in the game. Additionally, this provides leaders with respect and trust. Teammates will then want to give quality results with a sense of pride. This ultimately creates rapport and higher morale which benefits everyone, making future projects more enjoyable.