Five Ways to Inspire Excellence in Your Team

By Monica Guzman

Updated Over a Week Ago

Minute Read

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Leadership is a privilege given to many but appreciated by a few. It requires dedication to a team that relies on your expertise to meet its goals.

Most supervisors take on the role without truly understanding what it means to be a leader. They sometimes make demands and automatically expect their employees to do these tasks without hesitation.

They require that team members perform at optimal levels, meet stringent deadlines, and get along well with colleagues because that’s what they are supposed to do.

For managers who operate under these guidelines, the results can be devastating for the department and the overall organization.


In order to build an effective team, managers must transform themselves into leaders who inspire excellence in those around them. They must develop attitudes that promote engagement and behave in ways that set high-performance standards.

There are a number of ways for leaders to create an environment that rejects mediocrity and inspires excellence. Let’s take a look at some of my secrets for instilling a “good is not good enough” attitude within your team.

1. See Them As Investors

The first step in inspiring excellence in your team is to see your employees as investors in the company. Most managers spend so much time understanding their client’s needs that they forget to pay attention to the men and women who dedicate their days and nights to the organization’s mission.

The success of your company will ultimately be determined by your team’s ability to find meaning in their work and align themselves with the standards you set for performance.

By recognizing and appreciating the role your employees play in achieving outcomes for your organization, you are setting the stage for an environment that screams “excellence.”

2. Listen! Listen! Listen!

In order to inspire great work, you need to know what your employees need. Your staff’s concerns, thoughts, and ideas are just as important as the customer’s. So take the time to listen!

Schedule regular staff meetings and supervision with team members. Stop and ask them how they are doing and listen to their response.

Remember, people can spot a phony from a mile away. So be genuine in your approach. By creating an environment where your team’s voice is heard, you are humanizing the people who do the dirty work for you. This raises engagement which gives people a reason to raise their standards of performance.

The message here is simple: listening = profit.

3. Follow Your Own Standards

If you want your team to reject the notion of mediocrity in their work, you have to do the same. Be prepared to roll up your sleeves and do whatever is necessary to get the job done right.

Show your team that you are prepared to work long hours to ensure that your work is of the highest quality possible. Anything you submit to your team should be neat, accurate, and exceptional.

Spell-check your emails before hitting the send button. Keep your desk clean and organized at all times. Dress professionally. Take on difficult projects. Arrive early to work. Go above and beyond your job description, and always practice what you preach.

Remember, your employees will follow what you do, not what you say.

4. Include Them in Decisions

Employees are much more likely to give you their best when they feel included. Instead of making all the decisions for your team, ask for their input! You would be surprised how many ideas your staff has about how to increase your profit margin, improve customer relations, and ensure regulatory compliance.

They have opinions about the new health insurance plans, the “secret” merger that no one is talking about, and the major restructuring about to take place within the company.

I have news for you: everyone knows what’s happening, and everyone is talking about it behind closed doors! Instead of hiding behind your desks and private meetings, why not create an inclusive environment where employees are kept in the loop about issues that will directly affect them?

Transparency will encourage employees to become a part of the solution. It will promote trust within the organization and send your team the message that you respect them enough to keep them informed.

Of course, there are times when discretion will be necessary, and you won’t be able to share certain information. Be selective about what you reveal to your employees. But always be ready to address their concerns.

5. Stop Being Miserable

Don’t expect your team to show enthusiasm for their work if you’re not excited about it. Your staff pays attention to every single move you make. They know what type of mood you’re in, and they most certainly can tell if you hate your job.

As a leader, it is your responsibility to inspire your team. Just as a motivational speaker electrifies a crowd through positive language and an energizing spirit, you must liven up your team every chance you get.

Come in every morning with a smile on your face and greet your staff with enthusiasm! Give compliments freely. Get excited about that new project. When faced with a challenge, be the first person to offer a solution or provide words of encouragement. Always speak, act, and present yourself in a way that screams, “I love my job, and so should you!”

Leadership requires an intense level of dedication and commitment. In order to ensure optimal performance, you must inspire your team to greatness!

Model those behaviors you want to see and treat your employees as investors who want to be heard, inspired, and included in your process.

How Do You Inspire Excellence?

If you have ideas that you feel like sharing that might be helpful to readers, share them in the comments section below. Thanks!

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Monica Guzman
Monica Guzman
Monica Guzman is an Executive Coach and an organizational development expert with over 10 years of experience in the nonprofit and corporate sectors. She coaches executives to be effective public speakers. A sought-after keynote speaker who inspires others to create their own vision of Excellence, she develops and facilitates seminars for diverse audiences on topics that include professional branding, leadership development, change management, and team-building. Ms. Guzman is a member of the International Leadership Association (ILA) as well as the Association of Latino Professionals for America (ALPFA).
  • This is an exceptional article! Very well written and an easy read. I look forward to reading more of your articles Ms. Guzman.

  • This article is very well written and an easy read! I look forward to reading more of your articles Ms. Guzman.

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