Five Motivating Leaders

Last Updated May 5, 2010 12:43 PM EDT

All managers would like to think they motivate their staff, but most of us have seen (and been forced to work for) enough uninspiring bosses to last a lifetime.

What's the key to motivational success?

You can tell us by taking our a poll on what (or who) motivates you to go the
extra mile at work. But

In the meantime, here's how five of the world's most successful (male) leaders inspire their staff according to an excellent article on AskMen:

  • Donald Trump, Property mogul
  • Trump inspires because he brings out the best in people. He educates as he orders. Even on his television show, he doesn't say, "You're fired," without offering advice on the nature of business. Trump also values and nurtures relationships. He may be tough on his enemies, but he's true to his friends.
  • Phil Knight, Nike's founder
  • According to those who work for him, Knight is always moving, always thinking ahead. He once said the worst thing that could imagine happening would be to have one of his grandkids ask him, "What's a Nike?"

    It is also the relentless pursuit of innovation that drives Knight and those around him. Knight tells colleagues that he rarely has time to reflect on the past, because every six months is a new lifetime and he's always thinking about how to stay two steps ahead of the game

  • Richard Branson, Virgin Group founder
  • Branson's motto is to have fun. If a particular business enterprise doesn't bring him enjoyment, he's out of it. But it's more than his fun, gregarious personality that inspires those around him.

    Branson is well known for encouraging fresh ideas. He even keeps a notebook in his pocket to write them down in case he's away from his office -- which he usually is. Branson is always interested in learning new things and he encourages others to do the same.

  • Steve Jobs, Apple CEO
  • Jobs has a vision. A big, bold vision that he shares with customers, colleagues and, most of all, the people who work for him.

    We all want to follow people who paint a vision of a future so bright you need shades. That's where Jobs succeeds

  • Arnold Schwarzenegger, 38th Governor of California
  • A senior communications staffer once said "Arnold makes me a better person." That's the point, isn't it? To make people around you feel better about themselves. Arnold pushes his staff to continuously improve their lives. One man once told me he's never exercised or consumed as much trail mix in his life! Arnold's passion for life and for achievement are both quite infectious.
If you've been motivated, have inspired or have any old horror stories, feel free to leave a comment to let others know how it is (or isn't) done.

(Picture: Joi, CC2.0)