Real managers often take on the role of a coach when it comes to getting their employees to do their best work. They know that getting the best results from their team members requires being an exemplary leader and providing them with the resources to help them do their best. As a result, many managers focus on inspiring and motivating their employees. But there’s a catch: Many people assume that inspiration and motivation are the same thing. But it is not. Knowing what makes them different and how to use them can increase your chances of long-term success for your team.
Motivation is one of the most important tools that managers have to increase employee productivity. Providing external forces that encourage employees to put in their best effort can make a significant difference in the workplace. Motivating factors often rely on some form of reward. For example, according to some researches, 79% of employees have training and career development opportunities that are very effective in motivating them to stay in their current company. In this case, the potential for career advancement is a strong extrinsic motivator. Similarly, reward systems and recognition promote greater productivity while also increasing happiness at work.
As Kristen Hamlin points out in a blog post,
“Employers are working harder to motivate employees to focus on rewarding them for their actions rather than punishing them. Promising rewards for certain actions trigger the “let’s go” response that gets people to take action. Trying to move people by threatening bad things that will happen if they don’t take action is likely action. It will reveal the fear and anxiety that will prevent
Innovation with inspiration
Using extrinsic motivation increases productivity, but often these bonuses are temporary. When an employee feels they are advancing their career as far as possible within your organization, they will be willing to jump ship. To encourage retention, you must do more than motivate: you must inspire.
If you ask how inspiration differs from motivation, motivation is a push factor, explains Sam Taggart, founder of The D2D Expert.
“Motivation is an outside force that forces you to take action even if you don’t want to do something. Inspiration is more of a pull or a push. It’s something that comes from within and allows us to proactively show our best.”
An inspiring leader focuses on each individual employee while at the same time placing great emphasis on the company’s mission and values. Inspiring managers live up to company values every time they interact with an employee. It highlights how the team’s work has had a positive impact on the world. He clearly communicates his expectations and pays attention to the needs of his employees. They get to know their team members on a more personal level so their words and actions have more meaning to those they lead. Focusing on being an inspirational leader helps change an employee’s mindset. Motivation starts to come from within when you realize how your contributions make a difference.
Where should managers focus?
In reality, the greatest leadership achievements will not come from just focusing on inspiration and motivation. You will need to use both to develop a successful team environment. For example, a study from LinkedIn found that both motivating and inspiring factors are extremely important in creating a sense of belonging among employees. While 59% of the respondents wanted to be recognized for their achievements, 41% wanted to feel that their company cares about them as an individual.
Ultimately, both motivation and inspiration will help your employees be happier and more satisfied with their work environment. A study by the Social Market Foundation and the University of Warwick’s Center for Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy found that happy employees lead to 12-20% more productivity.
In an economy where even single-digit percentage increases in revenue or productivity are significant, it’s clear that creating a workplace where your employees can truly thrive will have a lasting impact on your company’s earnings. Which motivating and inspiring factors you use will likely vary from person to person. Some people will respond better to motivators, while others will work purely on inspiration. To effectively motivate and inspire according to their individual needs, you need to get to know your team as individuals.
While motivation is a good start, the most effective way to lead your team is to combine motivation with inspiration. When you can help support internal change, your team will be more motivated to put in their best efforts and act on your company’s vision and mission.