Leaders create the conditions that motivate people in a way that leads you to a great outcome. It’s not easy to motivate people, though, because even subtle differences in your language will change how people are motivated.

For example, you might try to motivate people to do a good job by saying, “don’t make a mistake, as it would be very costly.” The problem is your words will have them unconsciously planning for mistakes to happen. When they’re planning for mistakes, they’re far more likely to make them.

Shift your language to focus on what you actually want. For example, “The quality of the team’s work is excellent. What would it take to ensure we at least maintain that track record?” Then, let the ideas and excitement flow.

People are always motivated. Choose your words to motivate them to do their best work.

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