Leaders Speak: Successful Motivation and Inspiration in Local Government


On Friday, May 17, 2024, LeaderGov hosted a workshop for Local Government leaders on Inspiration and Motivation. Highlighted below is a summary of their insights into how they approach motivation and inspiration for their teams.  

If you’d like training for your local government team on this or other leadership topics, email us at [email protected].

Differences between Motivation and Inspiration

Understanding the difference between motivation and inspiration is crucial. Inspiration is self-driven and internal, igniting a personal passion within individuals. In contrast, motivation is often external, relying on persuasion and aimed at task completion. Inspiration stimulates mental engagement, fostering a deeper connection to the work, while motivation typically drives immediate action.

Challenges to Motivation as a Leadership Tool

During the workshop participants highlighted several challenges in keeping their teams motivated. Burnout and heavy workloads at work were common issues, exacerbated by insufficient time for enjoyable motivational activities. Leadership problems and poor communication were also cited as significant hurdles to motivating teams. Negative silos and high stress levels were prevalent, often worsened by mandatory directives from higher authorities. Many felt a lack of investment in staff, unrealistic expectations, minimal incentives for productivity and staff shortages further demoralized teams, while distrust stemming from past leadership experiences and personal distractions added to the challenges. Influences from disgruntled employees and varied phases among staff members also contributed to motivation difficulties.

Challenges with Sustaining a Motivating Environment

The sustainability of the carrot or stick motivational method was questioned by participants. This approach is often external and temporary, leading to transactional responses. Maintaining such a strategy is resource-intensive and offers limited long-term impact as incentives lose effectiveness over time. Generational differences in motivators and mandatory directives with limited incentives further complicate this method.

How to Leverage Inspiration, not Motivation

Connecting with team members to understand what inspires them is essential for "fanning the flames" of internal inspiration. Sharing team project successes and understanding each person's driving passions beyond a paycheck can foster deeper connections and work inspiration. Asking team members about their “why” and what inspires them helps in building relationships of trust. Leading by example and practicing servant leadership can motivate hearts and minds. Reflecting on leadership effectiveness daily and showing how each employee’s work contributes to the overall vision and service strengthens team cohesion and fosters inspired work.  Building trust and finding each employee’s purpose and passion are key to long-term successful inspiration.

For additional support, visit our website LeaderGov or contact us at [email protected].


50% Complete

Two Step

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.