How to motivate others

6 steps great leaders use to inspire anyone

Human beings are incredibly complex. Our genetics, upbringing and experiences all combine to make each one of us completely, utterly unique. It’s what makes life interesting – and it’s also what makes motivating others so hard. We all have different personalities, wants and needs, and that means we all have different things that drive us.

If you’re wondering how to motivate others, you’re well aware of the challenges. You need solutions. The good news is that great leaders are made, not born. You can learn how to develop the skills that will allow you to inspire others – and help them achieve more than they ever dreamed.


Live your values

If you’re wondering how to motivate others, look no further than your own example. Great leaders take to heart the quote, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Oprah built an empire on positivity and celebrating the successes of others. Jeff Bezos’ bold, visionary insights are legendary. Bill Gates is known as one of the hardest workers in tech.

All of these great leaders were fueled by their own unwavering belief in themselves. They knew what they wanted, and they set out to achieve it. People are attracted to certainty. When you discover your passion in life and let it fuel your inner fire, motivating others comes more naturally because they will be attracted to your passion.


How do you motivate others without listening to them? The truth is that you’ll never be able to inspire others to action if you’re the one talking all the time. Listening is essential. It shows that you’re interested in what others have to say and you care about their lives. It also allows you to uncover their passions, which you can use to motivate them.

Deep listening is more than just “hearing” someone. It’s an active state that requires concentration and effort. Put your phone away and step away from your computer to give the person your full attention. Maintain good eye contact and practice mirroring to make them feel safe and understood. Give both verbal and nonverbal feedback. You cannot learn how to motivate others until you learn how to be a good listener.

Ask the right questions

Tony says that “Successful people ask better questions, and as a result, they get better answers.” Giving the right feedback is just as important as deep listening. When you ask the right questions, you’re able to create a connection and uncover someone’s innermost dreams and desires – and ultimately figure out how to motivate others.

Show an interest in the person’s life. Ask about their family, their partner or their weekend plans. These questions will often show you what matters most to them. Find out if they volunteer, play sports or love to get into a good book. Recreational activities reveal traits like compassion, competitiveness and desire to learn new things – and you can leverage these traits  to inspire others.

Adapt your leadership style

People inherently respond differently to different motivators. People also have different communication styles, or metaprograms, such as internal and external frames of reference and tendencies to look for similarities or for differences. Motivating others is about adapting your leadership style to fit different personalities and communication styles.

But you must start with determining your natural leadership style. Take the DISC assessment to see what type of leader you are. Then work on building up your areas of weakness, such as your coaching skills or your use of praise and encouragement. When you can change your leadership style at will, you’ll discover how to motivate others no matter who they are.

Set goals

It seems contradictory, but assigning responsibility is key to how to motivate others. It shows that you trust them and believe they have the skills to get the job done – and that in turn makes them want to live up to your expectations. As with anything else involving leadership, effective communication is essential to making sure you get the result you want.

Set clear goals that are a little bit of a “stretch,” but are attainable based on the person’s skill set and experience. Goals that are too easy won’t push them to improve, but goals that are too hard may frustrate them and actually cause them to lose motivation. The right goals provide just the push they need to be their best selves.

Provide support

Motivating others isn’t just about giving inspiring speeches or writing an amazing company vision statement. It’s about following up and providing the support people need to achieve their goals. It means providing the physical tools and programs they need to succeed, but also providing emotional support. Ask them how you can help. Let them know you’re there for them. And always follow up and keep them on track for success.

When people achieve goals, they gain confidence. When they gain confidence, they begin to believe in themselves – and they feel inspired to achieve even more. Great leaders are the catalyst that sparks the passion within. Then they use that flame to illuminate the right path. Ultimately, they inspire others to become leaders themselves, passing the flame along to help even more people.

Tony Robbins

Tony Robbins is an entrepreneur, bestselling author, philanthropist and the nation’s #1 Life and Business Strategist. Author of five internationally bestselling books, including the recent New York Times #1 best-seller UNSHAKEABLE, Mr. Robbins has empowered more than 50 million people from 100 countries through his audio, video and life training programs. He created the #1 personal and professional development program of all time, and more than 4 million people have attended his live seminars.

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