How do you motivate people? My response is always the same.

I meet with a lot of people in my business.  As a trainer and expert in the area of leadership, training, and motivating. I get asked quite often how do I get people motivated to want to work hard?  The people who ask me this are typically in a leadership position and have a team of people that they are responsible for.

Here is how I respond. You can’t motivate People.  It can’t be done.  It is impossible for anybody or any person to motivate another person.  The definition of motivation tells us why this is impossible.

The word motivation comes from the root word.  Motive.  And the simple definition for motive: is a need or want that causes a person to act.  The suffix ation means: indicating an action, process, state, condition, or result.  When you put the words motive and ation together, it simply means: the state or condition that causes a person to act. 

You can look the words up yourself and come to your own definition. As you can see though, motivation must come from internally.  Another person can’t get you motivated.  You have to motivate yourself.

So the real question people should be asking me is this.  How do I get people to motivate themselves?

Now this I can answer, but they typically look at me with uncertainty with my response.

Here is how I respond:  You show me someone who isn’t motivated, I will show you a person who doesn’t have any goals set for themselves.  And if they do have some set, (they usually don’t, at least not clear ones, and why) they are usually not big enough, or exciting enough, for the person to do what it takes (motivation) to accomplish them.

It is as simple as that.  When we have established clear goals on what it is that we want, we will find the motivation to do whatever it takes to get it done.  We will get up early, stay late, spend money, cut expenses, work harder, do things differently, etc.  We will do whatever it takes to accomplish our goal.

What I have found though is that most managers that ask me this question can’t answer the question themselves, because they don’t have very clear goals set.  At least not ones that are more personal.

Sure the company gives managers a goal to hit X targets, or X revenue goals, etc.  However, those are not their goals.  They are the goals the company has set and told them to hit.  To get motivated you have to know how hitting the companies goals are going to help you hit your own personal goals. They go hand in hand.

And most managers and leaders haven’t set their own personal goals on what it is they do and why they do it. Which makes them incapable of helping their employees excited and motivated about hitting their goals for the company.

A person can’t give that of which they don’t possess. So as a manager, if you don’t know clearly why you do what you do, and what motivates you to do what you do.  You will be unable to help others do what they need to do.  And when you do have to get others motivated, you don’t know how to do it.

I have tried to simplify the process as best as I can, but it can be complicated or clunky when explaining via words on a page alone.  If you are interested in learning more about what I am discussing, reach out to me at

Simply put.  To get others motivated you have to create an environment for them to be motivated.  Which means the individuals must have set some clear goals for themselves personally and professionally, and when they see how the job or the company can help them achieve their personal and professional goals, they will be motivated to take whatever action is necessary.

To your success and your future.



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