[March 01, 2015] A necessary talent of leaders is their ability to motivate others. Earlier I wrote that other people can’t give you adversity to make you a better person. Likewise, others can’t give you motivation – passion or heart to do things – at least they cannot give you lasting motivation because, for it to truly work, it must come from within the person.
Over many years providing leadership, I have come to the sad conclusion that the greatest personality shortfall of people is their lack of motivation. For example, I’ve recently been involved with several colleges to provide transitioning military veterans with techniques to be successful. Invariably the most common reason for veterans to fail to graduate is due to their lack of motivation.
“Your talent determines what you can do. Your motivation determines how much you are willing to do. Your attitude determines how well you do it.” – Lou Holtz
These veterans are talented and have good attitudes. Through the GI Bill, they have the money to attend school yet most will quit before the end of their second year. Motivation, or rather the lack of motivation, explains it. Unlike the military where they find inspirational leaders, the college environment is much less structured and provides little in the way of leaders who could provide them with that extra “push”.
One of the most important tasks of a senior leader – all leaders – is to provide the inspiration for people to do well.1 While this is well known, it is not to be overlooked in its importance. Yet, the seminal factor in success is the internal motivations each person – that is what will ultimately determine the outcome of their life.
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