How should you motivate others? With a cheerleader's rallying cry? Through a Knute Rockne “one for the Gipper” speech? Via fear, carrot-dangling, or forced cut-throat competition?

The surprise answer is, none of the above. People must motivate themselves. You, however, can create an environment where self-motivation is not only possible but probable. Your mission is to inspire others to do their best for their own reasons: personal satisfaction, monetary rewards, advanced responsibility — whatever drives them.

The key to creating this environment is simple business-management sense. Here are the seven rules of thumb to follow when you set out to INSPIRE the people you work with:

I nsure that your team members know what is expected of them-in general and on the specifics of a project. Be clear when you give instructions or outline the results you expect.

N ote that people need meaningful work. Nothing can kill a good employee's spirit faster than overload of “grunt” duties. Variety and responsibility keep workers motivated and teams high in morale.

S tay quiet...listen to the opinions of others. Give them due respect and listen to every word. Don't think silently about why they're wrong or what you're going to say next.

P raise people for their efforts-even if they fall short of your expectations. Explain what should be done better next time.

I nclude everyone that is appropriate in the decision process. Ask others for their advice and opinions. Give credit where its due.

R espect your co-workers. Consider everyone's job-and everyone's feelings — as important as your own.

E ncourage others to do their best and to reach for their personal goals.

Remember, people do things for their own reasons, not yours. Get to know them. Your best bet is to set the pace with a good attitude toward your career and the people that work with you. The payoff is an inspired team that works harder for their own reasons to attain their goals — and, ultimately, yours.

Reprinted from PS for Business Communicators®, ECG's client newsletter.