If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.—John Quincy Adams

Do you view the words “inspire” and “motivate” to mean the same thing? Marissa Levin, Founder and CEO, Successful Culture feels they are very different and provides the following differentiators:

  • “Inspire” translates to “in spirit.” Inspiration comes from within.
  • The root word of “Motivate” is “motive,” which is an external force that causes us to take action
  • Motivation pushes you to accomplish a task, or work through a difficult event, even when you would rather be doing anything else. We are motivated by a result.
  • Inspiration pulls you towards something that stirs your heart, mind, or spirit. We are inspired by a person, an event, or a circumstance.

How do you feel about these definitions? We think it makes sense that if your heart, mind, or spirit are “stirred”, a person will indeed be inspired and more engaged, and per a study by Bain Research, they will also be twice as productive. This links to our “Magic Dust”™ theory; when a person is in the position to do what they enjoy, and feel they add value, they thrive and results grow.

So as a leader, how can we increase inspiration levels? Surveys state:

  • Set stretch goals with your team
  • Commit to developing direct reports
  • Engage in collaborative behavior
  • Build emotional connections with team members and others you interact with
  • Establish, share, and continually talk about how your vision (or your organization’s vision) can be supported
  • Communicate clearly and often
  • Explain and manage change

It’s up to us as leaders to model these behaviors and recognize others when they display them. How are you helping others dream more, learn more, do more, and become more?

Leaders can be found at all levels of the company and it is through their efficacy, influence and ability to inspire that our company is reinventing itself.–IBM