Inspiring Is Not Cheerleading

Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

The prime directive for leaders is to improve things – results, SOPs, team performance, policies, etc. It’s why leaders are hired. It’s what differentiates leaders from managers; management competency is the stepping stone towards leadership.

To motivate action by their teams in response to this directive, leaders employ two skills more than any others – they influence and they inspire.

Influencing involves leaders leveraging their knowledge and experience, and engaging openly and transparently with their teams, to strengthen connections and earn credibility.

But inspiring is a more subtle competency. It’s not cheerleading as many perceive it to be. It’s not untethered expressions of appreciation, unrelated to an individual’s specific, positive actions or outcomes, which can sound disingenuous.

Leaders who inspire understand the role that emotion plays in building trust and motivating team members. By actively listening, exhibiting caring and empathy, and ensuring that their actions consistently align with their words, these leaders project authenticity, respect, and confidence in their teams. In response, teams discover why their leader believes in the chosen goal or improvement, and how committing to it will enable them to make a difference. Inspiration cultivates a sense of genuine appreciation within the team that motivates the extra effort necessary for them to deliver on their commitment.

How often do you leverage inspiration to motivate your team?

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