What is The Difference Between Leadership and Motivation?

Understanding the difference between leadership and motivation is the key to leading and motivating your team members. While both leadership and motivation are important for any workplace, which one’s more important? How do you know when what you’re doing is inspiring rather than condescending? So what is leadership vs motivation?

Leadership vs Motivation

Not sure which one is which? Here’s a quick guide to Leadership vs Motivation and the differences between leadership and motivation:

What is leadership?

Leadership is the act of motivating others. Leaders are people who are identified by characteristics that include setting a vision, inspiring and supporting team member moral, courage, passion and work ethic. This differs from motivation, which is the act of motivating oneself. Some ways that you can motivate yourself include:

Staying up to date on employee activities.

Working out as a method to relax and clear head.

Exercising or watching your favorite TV show or movie after a long day at work.

What is motivation?

Motivation is what drives you. It is an intrinsic drive to perform a certain behavior. These behaviors are geared toward positive reinforcement in the form of a reward. Things that motivate you could include:

Receiving praise from your boss.

Getting better at your job in order to move up the ladder of success within your company.

Being singled out as employee of the month because you were work-related tasks above and beyond expectations.

So.. What is the difference between leadership and motivation?

For many people, leadership and motivation are interchangeable. In reality, there is a significant difference in these two important aspects of the workplace. Generally speaking, leadership is more approachable and motivational.

Motivation might be a little bit trickier to deal with because it tends to work on an individual basis instead of team-based. In order to be an effective leader, you have to be able to reach those around you and motivate them as a group towards success.

So as a leader , you need to be able to motivate your team as a whole, while motivating them individually is not as effective as it needs to be.

What are the common misconceptions about leadership and motivation?

“It’s inappropriate to use sick days against employees.”

You may have heard of this statement prior to being in management. This thought is based on the idea that if you do not motivate an employee and they have a doctor’s note for whatever reason, it may affect their job performance.

This thought process is entirely opposite from the truth. If an employee is sick and can legally stay home with a doctor’s note, they are no longer available to you as a manager. # They cannot perform their duties and it may be detrimental for them to come into work because they are out of commission. # You have to consider the fact that you cannot motivate an employee who is not physically there to be motivated!

“You should always use positive reinforcement. “

Like all things in life, there is a time and place for positive reinforcement. If you are dealing with a very negative attitude on the part of an employee, it may not always be appropriate to utilize positive reinforcement. It could end up being counterproductive.

This does not mean that you cannot give any positive feedback whatsoever to employees that are having an off day. You can still use positive reinforcement in this situation but make sure that it is not being used as a band-aid to fix an otherwise very sad situation.

“Never lose your temper in the workplace.”

People’s emotions can get the best of them sometimes. It is entirely okay to lose your temper under these circumstances and situations. It may even be beneficial for you to do so! It is important not to lose control of your emotions and lash out at others physically or verbally. When you do this, it makes it very difficult for you to be able to gain any respect from those around you.

Maintain your composure at all times, but do not fear losing your temper. You are going to be human at some point and it is important to remember that it will not hinder you from leading or motivating effectively.

“The role of a manager is to order others around.”

This thought process is very one-sided and very wrong. Yes, there are definitely times when you need to give a directive or an order. However, there is no need to rely on this as a means of motivating your employees. Motivation occurs on a day-to-day basis, and it is up to you as the leader of your team to stir that passion within them.

“Motivation is something that happens on an individual level.”

This thought process is completely untrue. A great leader will not only motivate others but they will be able to motivate themselves and their team members as well! This does not always happen naturally. It is the job of the leader to ensure that team members are motivated on a day-to-day basis. No one is going to be able to motivate everyone on a consistent basis.

What are some ways to deal with motivation?

There are many different ways that you can motivate your employees and yourself for that matter. First and foremost, if you have a great team dynamic, then you will be more likely to succeed. It is important to motivate each and every team member individually.

How does motivation affect performance at work?

When a team is motivated, they are more likely to perform better as a whole. There are so many things that play into this equation including the people who are part of the team, the task at hand and even your ability as a leader or manager to motivate others.

It is important to set up your team and yourself for success by setting goals with deadlines. This will create more motivation to finish these tasks, thus providing better overall results. By setting up the right incentives, teams can be motivated to work better and harder which will lead to a better outcome for everyone involved.

Motivation is simply a way of getting people to do what you want them to do in order for you (as a leader or manager) to accomplish your goals. Try to ensure that you are putting in the time and effort needed to motivate your team and yourself.

What is the difference between motivation and empowerment?

Some people struggle with thinking of motivation as a positive. They feel like doing it all on their own is the better way because they do not want others to get the credit for their work. This is not true! Motivation should be used as a way to empower others, especially in stressful situations or situations where people are being treated unfairly.

It is all about giving people the tools they need in order to do their best. This is what empowerment is all about. If motivating others really isn’t your thing, then you can still work on empowering them. To do this, just make sure that you are not being difficult and that you are doing everything to help them succeed!


So… leadership vs motivation. Yes, motivation and leadership go hand-in-hand. If you are a great leader, then you will be able to motivate those around you to do their best. If you are an amazing motivator, then you will also be a great leader. The way that you lead (or motivate) one person can be drastically different from the way that you lead another person or team.

It is very important that you are aware of this and that you are able to adjust accordingly. If you believe in an employee’s work, then let them know! Always be honest with your employees, even if it is not what they want to hear. Transparency and honesty are two of the most important attributes that a leader can have.

In order to be a good leader in the workplace, it is important that you find your place and know where your strengths lie. If you can do this, then you will be able to motivate your team and yourself for success!

Being a leader in the workplace can be difficult sometimes. You will have to deal with many different people who have many different ideas. Don’t let this scare you though! With the right techniques, you will be able to get through some of the difficult situations that you may face while being a leader or manager at work.

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