As leaders, we strive to influence and inspire others around us.  Especially when it comes to our team members we hope that they will excel.  However, as much as we may hope that we are inspiring others, we tend towards tasks and projects rather than focus on our team members who are seeking leadership.

The reason most leaders do not inspire their team members to excellence is that they are not sure how to go about it and so default to being too busy.  The truth is they are inspiring their teams every day, but the question becomes what are they inspiring them to do?

Our words and actions matter.  They impact and inspire our teams as we communicate with them our thoughts and feelings.  Are you thinking about excellence in your own work?  Do you talk about learning, growing, and improving?  What are you communicating in your attitude each day?

You see influence and inspiration are not just clichés but everyday words.

They are actions that communicate what is truly important to you as a leader.  If you are dragging and talking about how long it will be before you can retire, your team will be passive and unengaged.  If you are energized and discussing new ideas or approaches that will also communicate your enthusiasm and passion for your mission.

Influence does not happen all at once and is not one huge thing that makes the difference.  Rather influence lives in your day-to-day activity and words.   For example, we are celebrating MLK Day and will celebrate Black History Month in February.  Your attitude towards whether this was just another day off or whether you recommend activities for your team members to engage and learn speaks volumes.  Are you using this time to educate your team on the incredible contributions of black leaders, scientists, inventors, etc.?

Influencing your team to success means being a role model whose walk and talk match.  Consider how you are modeling behaviors and attitudes that lead to success.  Be sure to communicate why you are making the decisions you do so others can follow.  Then watch as your team engages in behavior that leads to success!