Be the change you want to inspire. Your reputation, your character, your behavior will inspire people more than anything else. The only way to call the best out of others is to expect the best from yourself.
Tell a story. Stories don’t tell people what to do. They engage people’s imaginations and emotions. They show people what they’re capable of becoming or of doing.
Appeal to people’s value system. Ask them to act in a way that is consistent with the values they themselves profess.
Trust people. When you’re inspiring people, you’re not telling them exactly what to do or giving them precise directions. You’re empowering them to be their best, trusting that they will then do the right thing. And the right thing they do may not be what you were expecting; it may be something beyond your wildest expectations.
Challenge them. People aren’t inspired by doing the ordinary or by meeting expectations. They’re inspired by the exertion, creativity, and sacrifice needed to exceed what they themselves thought possible.
Tell people exactly what you want them to do. Motivation is all about getting people to take action, so don’t be vague. Avoid generalities like, “I want everyone to do their best.” Say, instead, “I need you to come in over the weekend so we can get this project done on time.”
Limit the amount of time or effort that you’re asking for. It’s easier to ask people to work late work one night or even every night for a week than to expect them to work late indefinitely. Set an end date.
Share in the sacrifice. Leaders don’t ask people to do what they themselves aren’t willing to do. Don’t tell your people to work over the weekend if you’ve got plans for a spa day. Roll up your sleeves and share the load.
Appeal to their emotions. Fear focuses people’s attention and can be an effective motivator. (“If we don’t get this done right now, we’ll all lose our jobs.”) But if you keep resorting to fear, you’ll end up de-motivating people. People are also motivated by-and prefer to be motivated by-positive emotions like excitement, pride, a sense of belonging, and the thrill of achievement.
Give people multiple reasons for doing what you want them to do. You can give your own reason or the organization’s reason for requesting the action. “If we don’t get this project completed on schedule, we’ll lose the contract.” But the best reason of all is always personal. It would be nice if you could give your people extra days off or even a bonus. Or, you may talk about something as intangible as the camaraderie that comes from having achieved something important together. But things being what they are these days, the best you may be able to offer is the hope that no one will lose a job.