As a manager, you need to know how to inspire your team. You want to build motivation in the workplace to get results. Take inspiration from the actions of established leaders, like Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook.

If you can’t inspire your team, you can’t achieve results. A Great Manager always looks for new ways to motivate staff. But you may find that some of the techniques that you try don’t work out as you intended.

Look towards those who’ve already achieved success to find the answers. Entrepreneurs, such as Mark Zuckerberg, must constantly inspire huge teams. They’re constantly working on ways to inspire a team. That’s why their organisations achieve the successes that they do.

You can use their examples to help you to inspire your team. This article examines seven methods that come from the world’s leading entrepreneurs.

But first, here’s an example of how a client inspired their people with Great Managers

Case Study – Inspiring People

Great Managers worked with a not-for-profit organisation to help develop their leaders. They had a problem that’s common among many organisations. They’d used traditional training methods in an attempt to create an inspiring workplace.

This meant small, half-day management seminars, coupled with multi-day training trips. The organisation’s team didn’t learn what it needed. Moreover, its people didn’t work together on the materials.

They’d attend a session and leave no more inspired than they were before.

Our Great Managers Academy introduced new techniques, such as blended learning, to the organisation.

With Great Managers, the organisation took control of its training. Its people could fit their education around their work. Moreover, they developed a community around their training efforts.

The Great Managers Academy introduced an ongoing learning model. This became part of their culture and replaced the fractured training sessions of the past.

The benefits of this became apparent when the organisation had to roll out changes. Its people no longer resisted such change. Instead, they felt inspired to take charge and lead that change.

Inspiring your team helps you to usher in positive organisational change.

Here’s how some of the world’s leading entrepreneurs inspire their people.

Mark Zuckerberg – Hire Talented People

The founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg is one of the most prominent people in the technology industry. You could argue that he’s the person responsible for creating the social media age.

He’s built Facebook into a multi-billion dollar company. Importantly, he knows that he hasn’t done it alone.

“No one does it alone,” he says.

“When you look at most big things that get done in the world, they’re not done by one person.”

He continues with an important point. “You’re going to need people that have complementary skills.”

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How does this help you to inspire your team?

It’s simple. When you create teams with complementary skills, you ensure that everybody has a purpose.

That’s a crucial motivator. When each member knows the role that they play, they also know they’re contributing to the team’s goals.

If you pack a team full of people who have the same skills, you create two problems.

Firstly, there will always be somebody in the team who can’t work on what they’re best at.

Secondly, such people usually end up taking on tasks that they’re unsuited for.

That causes dips in motivation in the workplace. Surround your team members with talented people who have different skills to inspire them to achieve more.

Rand Fishkin and Henry Ford – Build Relationships

A web guru, Rand Fishkin founded Moz in 2004. Since then, he’s built a search engine optimisation (SEO) empire that’s valued at over US$120 million (AU$160 million).

As an SEO entrepreneur, Fishkin knows a lot about building links. But he reveals something interesting when talking about the connections that people make with one another.

“Don’t build links,” he says. “Build relationships.”

It’s such a simple quote, but it holds a lot of power.

You create instant links when you bring a team together. But if they don’t build their relationships with one another, they’ll struggle to achieve results.

Your people must care about the people that they work with to feel truly inspired.

Focus on helping your people to connect in a deeper way. Having them work together isn’t enough.

Encourage conversation and hold events that bring your people together. Over time, you’ll help your people to build the relationships that inspire them to work harder.

Henry Ford expresses the same idea in a different way.

He says: “Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.”

He says that bringing people together isn’t enough to inspire your team. Keeping them together and fostering the bonds that they build is the key.


Simon Sinek – Engage Emotions

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Simon Sinek shot to viral fame when discussing millennial workers during an interview. He’s also the founder of Start With Why, which aims to inspire people to do remarkable things.

He points out that emotion is a key motivator for most people.

“When people are financially invested, they want a return,” he says.

“When people are emotionally invested, they want to contribute.”

Sinek may talk more about investors here than organisations. But there’s an important point about how to inspire a team buried in this quote.

Money isn’t the key motivator when it comes to any project. As Sinek says, those who focus on money can only focus on the returns that a project generates.

That’s not what you’re looking for with your team. You want people who care about the outcome, rather than the returns that it generates.

For that, you have to engage your people on an emotional level. This means aligning your organisation’s values with those of your people. Moreover, it means giving them a reason to care about what the project will achieve upon completion.

If you get your people to invest emotionally, you can push them to achieve better results.

Barbara Corcoran and Elizabeth Debicki – Use Failures to Inspire Your Team

Barbara Corcoran is a true example of the “rags to riches” story that inspires so many people. She started her organisation with a $1,000 loan in the 1970s. Since then, she’s built the Corcoran Group into a multi-billion dollar organisation.

She also points to the importance of not getting bogged down in failures. “All of my best successes came on the heels of a failure,” she says. “So, I’ve learned to look at each belly-flop as the beginning of something good.”

How can you use this advice to inspire your team?

It all relates to how you react in the aftermath of a failure.

Unfortunately, you can’t guarantee that everything will go the way that your team planned it. When things go wrong, it’s easy for your team to fall into a slump. This can lead to other projects going wrong, which further demotivates your people.

Corcoran says that a failure offers you the chance to reflect. Sit down with your team to discuss the issue when something goes wrong. Gather opinions and ensure everybody contributes to the discussion. Don’t focus on the failure. Instead, focus on how you can use the failure as a learning experience. This gives your team a valuable incentive in the aftermath of something going wrong.

Australian actress Elizabeth Debicki offers up a similar viewpoint.  

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Elizabeth Debicki Image: Gage Skidmore

She says: “I’m grateful for every time I’ve slipped up so far. Not immediately. I don’t think anybody’s immediately grateful. When you fail, that’s when you learn things.”

Scott Belsky – Turn Ideas Into Action

The founder of Behance, Scott Belsky has forged a strong career in the technology industry. The platform that he created now hosts content from thousands of contributors. He’s also leveraged his early successes into a key role with the Adobe software group.

Belsky says that ideas aren’t enough to inspire your team.

“It’s not about ideas,” he says. “It’s about making ideas happen.”

Here’s what Belsky means. Your people will contribute ideas for projects. But if they don’t see you taking action on those ideas, they’ll feel demotivated. They’ll think that you’re not listening, or that you don’t think that they can contribute to the team.

If an employee shares a good idea, don’t just tell them it’s good. Take action on the idea. Implement whatever they suggest into the project.

Of course, even the best ideas can fail when put into action. But the fact that you’re willing to try creates motivation in the workplace.

It shows your people that they can actively contribute to the work process.

Sam Walton – Show Appreciation

The founder of Walmart, Sam Walton believed that appreciation breeds inspiration. He was keen to point to his people as being the reason for his success. Because of this, he inspired his people to achieve more.

“Appreciate everything your associates do for the business,” he says.

“Nothing else can quite substitute for a few well-chosen, well-timed, sincere words of praise. They’re absolutely free and worth a fortune.”

Walton makes a crucial point with this quote. Money isn’t the only motivator that your people have. It’s also not enough to inspire them to come up with new ideas.

Praise, on the other hand, shows that you care about what your people contribute to the organisation.

A small pat on the back can boost somebody’s spirits and show them that what they do matters.

If your people know that they’re making a difference, they’ll work even harder to keep making that difference.

Don’t reserve your praise for the big accomplishments. Every small milestone that an employee reaches is a cause for praise. After all, every small step takes them closer to what they want to achieve.

Show that you appreciate their hard work and you’ll inspire them to keep pushing.

Steve Jobs and Richard Branson – Bring in Passionate People to Inspire Your Team

Steve Jobs and Richard Branson are two of the most prominent names in entrepreneurship. Both became brands unto themselves, as well as leading their organisations to great success. Both also believe that passion is the key to inspiring a team.

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Jobs keeps it simple when he says: “The only way to do great work is to love what you do.”

Branson expands on this when he says: “The first thing that has to be recognised is that one cannot train someone to be passionate. It’s either in their DNA or it’s not.”

Passionate people push each other to achieve success.

This starts with you. If you have no passion for what you do, you can’t expect to inspire other people.

But you also need passionate people in your team.

Your people must love what they do, as well as having the skills to do it.

As Branson says, you can’t train somebody to have passion. They either do or they don’t.

Use your hiring processes to pick out the people who genuinely care about the work.

Remember, you can help them to develop their skills. But you can’t make them more passionate than they are.

The Final Word

Don’t just look at money when figuring out how to inspire a team. There’s so much more that goes into building motivation than the money you throw at people.

Your people need to have the following:

  • A passion for the work that you do to complement the skills they bring to the table.
  • Emotional engagement with the project.
  • Deep bonds with you and the people in your team.
  • The ability to build up from failures.

A Great Manager can inspire their people to achieve more. But a bad manager can completely demotivate their staff. After all, there’s a reason why 65% of people would take a new manager over a pay rise.

Don’t be part of that 65%. Register for our next free webinar to learn what great managers do differently to inspire their teams to higher performance levels.