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Ask a leadership coach

Ask a leadership expert:
Do You Know How to Inspire Others?

By Jenn DeWall Confidence and Leadership Trainer, Motivational Speaker & Workplace Culture Expert.

What do you think of when you think of how to inspire others? Maybe you think about Instagram, where you can find plenty of inspirational quotes, motivating hashtags, and influencers of all different kinds. Or maybe you think of a local news story about a brave hero who saved someone’s pet from a fire. Or maybe you think about a famous quote from a historical figure. But what about you? Did you make the list of someone who could inspire others? If not, you are definitely not alone. We tend to think of ourselves as average, or worse— not inspiring. I’m here to tell you that you already have what it takes to inspire others. You just need to know how!

5 Ways to Inspire Others

1. Care about people! First and foremost, inspiring others requires that you focus on relationships first. A quote from Theodore Roosevelt that I have always loved is, “Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care.” If people don’t feel genuinely cared for, it will be incredibly difficult to inspire them to action. To be a more inspiring person, start with showing genuine interest in others, getting to know them, and building relationships.


2. Walk the talk! No matter what you want to inspire others to do, you will not get anywhere unless you do that thing too! Do you want to inspire a team being asked to work late? You better be burning the midnight oil and ordering that pizza right by their side! Do you want to inspire someone to start recycling? If they show up at your house, you better have a recycle bin! Authenticity is vital to inspire others to take action. We’ve all known people that say one thing and then go do the exact opposite—when that happens, it is safe to say we feel the opposite of inspired.


3. Connect action to purpose! Nothing is inspiring about being told to do something just because someone else said you should. If you want to inspire others to act, you need to connect that action to a greater purpose. To go back to the example of recycling, no one wants to take an extra step to get rid of trash “just because.” No! We want to save the planet, conserve resources, and create a better future for the next generation. Connecting the act of recycling to a greater purpose inspires us to make that extra effort!


4. Let go of your ego! If you want to inspire others to do something great, it cannot be about your ego. Inspiring others to do great things might require letting them get the spotlight for their effort. Knowing your own worth is important— but so is a touch of humility. Avoid micromanaging or setting arbitrary rules to enforce your authority. Inspiration is about bringing people with you, not forcing them to follow. 


5. Demonstrate enthusiasm! The best way to inspire others is to demonstrate enthusiasm for the cause! Enthusiasm is contagious—in a good way! If you are excited about a new project, your team will be excited too. Don’t forget to let people know what inspires and excites you about the task at hand! You can’t inspire people to work hard doing something you obviously dread. Negative emotions are contagious too! 

Jenn DeWall is a motivational speaker, facilitator, trainer, and podcast host. Jenn is a Millennial leadership and culture expert based in Denver, CO. 

Are you looking for an engaging keynote speaker, workshop facilitator, or trainer? Book Jenn for your leadership needs today!

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