How To Be A Source of Inspiration

Bird On A hand

As a manager of people one of the most frustrating things is to tell team members what to do.

Most of the time things are fine. The job agreement is for the employee to do tasks that are laid out in return for payment.

But it’s easy for that contract to change over time. Just a little bit for awhile, but then some time later you realize that things are out of whack.

Motivation is different for people. If you have a controlling personality it can be especially difficult when someone doesn’t show the same passion, interest or seriousness as you. When you’re a boss, this can lead to some big blowups that really aren’t necessary.

It’s not easy to motivate others. It’s not easy to control others.

So what can you do?

You can be a source of inspiration…

#1. Listen

There are two great TED videos from the same speaker, Julian Treasure. I love thinking about them because the stats show how many of us think.

The first video is: 5 ways to listen better

The second is: How to speak so that people want to listen

When I first watched them the second had about three times as many views. Today, it’s ten times as many views. And the first one has actually be around for three more years…

People want to be heard. People want to be understood. Many of us are going through life feeling misunderstood. That can lead to a lack of motivation and inspiration.

The first step to inspiring others is to listen. Much more than you speak.

#2. Challenge

Humans seem to be wired for all kinds of contradictions. It’s one of the ways that nature seems to work. Two things can be true at the same time.

One example is that humans want to be challenged while also enjoying leisure. This can be frustrating in a work setting or when you see your friends not living up to a standard that you see for them (be very careful with this view…).

This builds on the ability to listen. Ask employees, friends and family what they want from their lives. Ask why they want it. Get them thinking about what they really value and want.

Then challenge them. Usually you’ll need to do it in a subtle way. Asking them about it. Not making them feel bad, but getting them to take the small steps required to achieve long-term success.

And sometimes you can do this as the challenge setter. Set a small goal for them that gets them into the right habits.

#3. Encouragement

Especially for the person to improve upon their strengths.

We all have strengths and weaknesses. Think about your life… How motivated were you to do something when you were somewhat good at it?

Now think about things that you struggle with?

Obviously we’re not good at most things from the start. But we all have certain strengths and weaknesses. Yet sometimes we push ourselves on the weaknesses more than we should. It leads to frustration and quitting.

Identify what other people are good and bad at. Work with them to figure it out. Then encourage them to improve up on what they’re good at while also working a little on the weaknesses.

#4. Optimism

Think of your favorite person…

Are they optimistic?

I guess it depends. Most people really enjoy spending time with people that are happy and optimistic about life. A few love a good misery is company situation, but mostly it seems that we like happy people.

Try to be the most optimistic person in every room. It’s contagious and just by being optimistic you can inspire others around you to think the same way. At least some of the time.

But this is also a way to remind others of the good things they can do and achieve in life. You can remind people that they’re capable of doing great things. Not quickly usually, but with consistent effort.

#5. Followup

We often have a good talk with someone and that’s it. It kind of dies right there and no progress is made.

Followup with your team, friends and family. If you discussed something relating to growth and progress then set a reminder on your calendar to followup.

Even if they inspired you to do something make sure to set a reminder to update them on your progress. It can lead to another good discussion and a better relationship.


Another sidebar on this topic is accountability. If you’re the boss and you’re struggling to inspire someone to do a job then take the responsibility for the situation. You hired them. You trained them.

See how you could be responsible for the current situation. See if there is a solution you control. If not, move on. It’s probably best for both of you.

Dayne Shuda
Dayne Shuda
Dad, husband, golfer, and bow hunter. Owner of Ghost Blog Writers.