Motivation is an interesting animal. Business leaders rarely lack self-motivation, likely because of a certain entrepreneurial drive or “leadership mentality” that is innate.
But because it comes so naturally to them, there can be a disconnect between leaders and team members when their people don’t seem to have the same drive. In fact, one of the most common questions I receive from leaders is, “How do I motivate my team members?” Imagine their surprise, when they hear my answer, which is the same time and time again: “You can’t.”
As a business leader and coach, I help company leaders understand the reasons behind their personal motivation and how it aligns with the objectives of their businesses. An important realization for leaders is this: Your team members do not and will not share the same outlook or motivators that you do. So don’t attempt to force a “why you should” statement or reasoning with your team. Instead, inspire your team members to find their own motivation.
Here are five things you can do right now to inspire your team members to motivate themselves:
Not every workplace objective or company initiative is going to foster the same amount of teamwork or excitement among your team— that’s the nature of work. As a leader, you’ve got to commit to being open and honest about the reality of the task at hand and help people understand what it means to you personally and to the business. If the goal is challenging or high-risk, say so – people will respect you for your transparency, and they’ll be more likely to trust you as a genuine leader.
Be the example by bringing passion to your work. Dedicate yourself to being “on fire” in everything you do. If your team doesn’t see enthusiasm from you, why should they put in the energy? If, instead, they see you express genuine excitement and if you take the time to share your inspiration with the team, they’re more likely to get on board with whatever project is at hand and join in on the mission.
One quick way to kill self-motivation among team members is to either “backseat drive” objectives by micro-managing them or to be so completely hands-off that team members don’t know where to turn when things get tough. In all things, find balance. Free people up to find their motivation but stay hands-on enough to encourage them and assist when you’re needed.
Inspire team members by showing confidence in the outcome of any task – even before it’s started – and encourage them to bring their best. Explain why success is so important to you and the business, and let them know that you think they’re up to the task. If your team understands that great results are expected and that you believe they can do it, they’re more likely to be motivated to achieve great things that benefit not only themselves but also the team.
I say this early and often to leaders, but it’s imperative that you celebrate wins with your team members and show them how much you appreciate them. A reward is a great personal motivator, yes, but it’s just as important for providing inspiration and encouraging the team to work together towards additional successes.
Some days I feel more inspired than others, but when you’ve got a team to lead, you’ve got to step up and show them how it’s done. Positive energy is infectious. Spread it around and live by example. If self-motivation becomes a staple of your company culture, you’ll benefit from the results every day – and create future leaders.
This article originally appeared on Forbes.