Asking for help from someone in itself, especially in our world today, is not a sign of weakness in fact it is a great sign of strength and character. By asking for help, you are admitting that you are vulnerable and need assistance, and there is great beauty in vulnerability. I would say that when you ask for help, 99% of the time the other person is grateful to be of service and to assist in whatever it is you are going through, be it asking when the bus is due, asking a neighbour to mind your fish while you are on holiday or asking for advice with a difficult personal problem. I take it as a compliment when people ask me for directions in the street - I must appear to be kind and approachable. I can’t always help them, but I am incredibly grateful to be asked.
Receiving help is an art-form in itself, and one which I think the world needs more of. There is a quiet power in receiving help. We are one, we are all connected, so receiving help not only benefits you in the short term, but it creates a ripple effect. Decide whether you need help or whether you can truly and honestly take the responsibility on your own. As soon as you decide to ask for help, the butterflies in your stomach will tell you that you are moving out of your comfort zone and into this ripple effect, enabling you to receive graciously.
On the other hand, if you’re a leader of any type, you can’t simply order people around and expect them to do what you want. They may follow your directions, if you are watching, but once they’re left on their own they’ll go back to doing what they think is important.
Leaders today, more than ever before, have to win people’s cooperation. And there are two main ways of doing so: motivation and inspiration. Although the two words are often used interchangeably, they actually mean quite different things – depending on what you want to achieve.
Motivation is about moving people to act in a way that achieves a specific and immediate goal. When you’re motivating people to do something they may not necessarily want to do, you have to offer them something they want in return.
When coaches give their teams a pep talk during halftime, they are using motivation. They want their players to charge back onto the field or the court with renewed energy and focus, even though they may be too tired or disheartened to try. Their reward? Victory.
To motivate your people:
- Tell people exactly what you want them to do.
- Limit the amount of time or effort that you’re asking for
- Share in the sacrifice.
- Appeal to their emotions.
- Give people multiple reasons for doing what you want them to do.
Inspiration, on the other hand, involves changing the way people think and feel about themselves so that they want to take positive actions. It taps into people’s values and desires.
As a leader, anytime you talk about values, about identity (either the corporate identity or each person’s identity), and about long-term goals, your intent – whether you know it or not – is to inspire.
To inspire your people:
- Be the change you want to inspire.
- Tell a story
- Appeal to people’s value system
- Trust people
- Challenge them