There are a few leaders who choose to inspire rather than to manipulate in order to motivate people.

In the great book Start With Why, Simon Sinek argues that leaders worth following all communicate their “why” up front, instead of their “what” or their “how”.

Condensed even more: WHY is your belief, HOWs are the actions you take to realize that belief, WHATs are the results of those actions. This applies to complete businesses, products, down to every single user story you discuss in a refinement session.

If you’re working with a team, the HOWs are done mostly by other people. It is tempting to go into the HOW, but a good product manager is focussing on the WHY first. Obviously, you define a large part of the WHAT as well, but that part gets easier too, as long as everyone is exactly on board with the WHY.

If you’re a leader: stop defining how people should do things, lead them with your why.

If you’re in a team: don’t stop asking until the WHY is crystal-clear. Listen to the WHY and show that you’re capable of picking the right HOW to deliver the WHAT.