Inspire Your People

How do you like to do your work? Do you like to make it hard by being un-inspired, or do you like to make it easy by being inspired?

When a highly effective leader motivates their team, it is highly likely that they will also be inspired. A highly effective leader can influence their team both when they are present within the team, and also when they’re not present with the team. Hence, they are both motivational and inspirational.

1. My Story

I was working as a consultant project manager for London Tube Company in early 2019. My role was to manage the overhaul of the fleet of trains that ran on the District Line. The team I had consisted of 9 consultant engineers who had never worked together before, or even met each other before.

The role of the engineers was to validate all of the overhaul instructions, vehicle maintenance instructions, and bill of materials, tooling, and facilities. It was a huge project that was planned to last a year.

The validations that our team were required to complete was massive, so I had to bring the team together and motivate them. Otherwise the project wouldn’t last a year, and our consultancy wouldn’t be offered further projects. There was a lot at stake for us to pull off.


It took about a month to bring all of the 9 engineers onto the project, and then a couple of weeks to delegate the first phase tasks to each team member. 4 of the engineers were contractors, and the other 5 worked for the same consultancy I did.

So, at first there was a little bit of us and them between the contractors and the consultants. This made my position even harder, because not only did we not know each other, there were also people who didn’t like each other right from the start.

2. The Goal

The goal I set for the team was to complete our tasks on time to the best of our ability. But, the real goal I set was for us to get a long and enjoy working together.

Not everyone bought into that goal right from the beginning, so I arranged a social get together to try and get to know each other first before we really got stuck into the work.

We went paint balling together, and then we went for dinner and drinks later in the evening. It was a really good day and we all got a long great. We talked about our previous jobs, our families, friends, told stories, but most of all we were happy to work with each other from then on. It was a huge success.

We went back to work on the Monday morning with a new attitude following our successful social encounter. We were ready to work as a team, and help each other.

The first week of starting the project for real, I did a lot of observing. I wanted to see if the team were relying on me, or relying on each other. I advised the team that I would not be a micro-manager, and be on their back each day looking for updates.

They had the autonomy to make their own decisions and work with the client as they saw fit. I tried to ask a lot of open questions that would enable them to think for themselves and come to their own answers.

3. Growing The Team

By asking questions, I was not telling them what to do, they were telling themselves what to do. I found it interesting because they didn’t realise that’s what they were actually doing.

At the end of the first week, the team worked well together, and without any of my input or direction they had already drew up a plan for the second week. Mark and Dean were two members who worked for the same consultancy as me, and they took me through the plan.

I could tell by their voices that the plan excited them, and I could tell by how they came across that they were both leaders. I saw them as being the leaders when I wasn’t there.

I didn’t tell Mark and Dean that I wanted them to be the leaders, I wanted to see them lead naturally. So in week 2, I did a lot of observing again. This time I wasn’t observing if the team got a long, because they obviously were.

I wanted to see who the leaders were. At first Mark and Dean took charge, and because of their leadership they inspired the rest of the team to lead too. It was amazing to witness a team building themselves into a team of leaders.

Even though I was responsible for this team, it was beginning to feel like I didn’t even need to be there anymore. Which is a great feeling.

I had set the foundations and the goal that we should be a team who got a long and worked well together. Now this was happening, I just needed to assist the team whenever they needed me.

Mark and Dean were learning every day, and every day they were inspired from within because they were making things happen on the project without needing me to motivate them. The rest of the team were inspired too because they were also making things happen.

All I had to do was check on progress with them every Friday, and that is when they took me through the following week’s plan.

Every week when I checked on the team’s progress, it was great to see that everything was on track, and they were even ahead of schedule on some tasks. During my one to ones with the team, you could tell in their voices that they were enjoying what they were doing.

You could really feel that this was a team, and the team was getting stronger every day. Everyone was praising each other and helping whenever they were needed.

I remember one day I walked into the train depot, and three members of the team were witnessing the strip and rebuild of a train gearbox. I observed them from a distance and I could see that they were working in harmony together, and they also had two members from the client team in harmony too.

When they finished, Mark came over to me and told me about all the achievements for the week so far. I was so happy for them, and I couldn’t stop smiling for the rest of the day.

4. A Team of Leaders

I felt that I was part of the team, but really I was in the background. But, that was absolutely fine with me because I wanted the team to be the leaders. I wanted them to be on the journey to becoming highly effective leaders too.

All I did was set the tone and the vision for the team, they then took that vision and made it their own. They were inspired and had learned how to become inspirational and inspire others.

Over the whole year throughout the project, the team kept impressing me every day. Especially Mark and Dean, as they continued to motivate the team and inspire them to be the same as them. They led from the front, and led by example. They stayed late when they needed to.

They got in early when they needed to. They even worked weekends for no extra pay. That is how motivated and inspired Mark and Dean were, and I couldn’t have thanked them enough.


Mark and Dean were leaders, as were the rest of the team. But, Mark and Dean kept inspiring, they kept the team together without me needing to be there. The team loved working with them and would go the extra mile for them. It was amazing to witness.

I remember waking up every day when I was part of this project excited to go to work to see what the team were going to achieve. It was like going to a theatre every day. I would go to work and just observe the team at work.

I would grab a coffee with them at break times, and then when they went back to work I would watch them. It was one of the most pleasurable jobs I had ever had.

When you know how to motivate a person, you eventually learn how to inspire a person. When you know how to inspire a person, your influence will increase that much that you don’t even have to be present or in the same room. That is what inspiring a person is.

 “What are you going to do differently?” This is an overused phrase in the world of work. Most of the time nobody does anything differently. To do something differently, you have to do something differently.

What are you going to do differently?

I welcome hearing how this post has influenced the way you think, the way you lead, or the results you have achieved because of what you’ve learned in it. Please feel free to share your thoughts with me by commenting below.

Check out my other articles by Clicking HERE

All the best,

Tom (LeadGrowInfluence)

14 thoughts on “Inspire Your People

  1. Wow!! Thank you for all of this information. I am a new team leader and normally follow John Maxwell and what he teaches.
    This is awesome because your approach makes the team more independent and thus, able to handle situations without the leader of necessary.

    1. Hey G. Mack,

      I appreciate your comment, means a lot.

      John Maxwell is one of the most inspirational leaders in the world and I follow him too.

      You have a good eye on who to follow and I hope your people feel the same about following you.

      All the best,


  2. A fascinating story of goal setting and team building. I like what you did with the asking of questions that led the team to instruct themselves without even realizing it. You helped them to do something differently by inspiring them to think differently about themselves and the project.

    Thanks for sharing this, Tom.

    1. Hi Joseph,

      Thank you for sharing your comment, means the world.

      I am so pleased you found this article fascinating and that it resonated with you.

      It is my pleasure to share, and keep leading and inspiring your people too.

      All the best,


  3. Anyone can lead, but not everyone can lead successfully. By concentrating on the end goal, rather than the title you held, you got the job done.

    I’ve learned through the years that when you lift people up like what you did in this example, they become proud of the work that they do and they will want to do it well. This is another great example of an effective leader. If only more leaders would take notice of this.

    1. Hi Willow,

      You are right, everybody in the world has the ability to influence another person. So, everybody has the ability to lead.

      Whether they do it successfully is another story, you are right again.

      Thank you for sharing your insights and your experiences too, I hope people can relate to you and learn from you.

      Keep leading and inspiring your people.

      All the best,


  4. To achieve the best out of your team, it begins with you… Your team will follow your lead. If you do not inspire them with how you are with them and always looking to get the best out of them, you will never get the best or most out of them…

    There is a huge difference between being someone’s manager on paper and being an effective and inspiring lead…

    Great post…

    1. Hi John,

      I appreciate your kind words and your thoughts on my article.

      You are absolutely right, being a manager on paper and being a highly effective leader are worlds apart, and we must manage thr right things at the right time, and we must lead our people well.

      Keep leading and influencing your people through inspiration.

      All the best,


  5. Hi Tom

    This is a very encouraging article, thank you so much for sharing your experience and insight.

    I may soon be tasked with leading a team very steeped in culture. Now, I don’t want to knock culture, there is a place for it in our lives.

    Unfortunately, in this particular instance, culture dictates that the person who has been with the company for the longest is the leader, and this particular leader does not have leadership skills, it is more of a dictatorship. This leader has also not displayed a teachable spirit. Life sure is about to get interesting. I would really appreciate any wisdom you’d like to share on this.

    Many thanks

    1. Hi Louise,

      Thank you for your comment.

      Unfortunatley in most industries the person in the company who is the most experienced (been there the longest) or is the best at the job is promoted to leader. Even though leadership has nothing to do with any of those things.

      Leadership is about creating the environment for your people to perform at their best. Culture is a feeling we have when we’re at work. How do your people feel? If they feel awful because of you, then you need to change yourself. If they feel awful because of others on the team, then you need to address the problem with those others.

      The person with the best leadership skills and experience in leadership should be promoted to leader.

      All the best,


      1. Thank you so much, Tom.

        This is unfortunately not a case of the person being promoted, this individual has claimed leadership but, interestingly enough, declined the title when it was offered.

        It’s hard to understand without some knowledge of African culture.

        I shall do my level best to upskill her. Here’s hoping she rises to the challenge and earns the right she has claimed with her colleagues and superiors.

        1. Good luck Louise,

          Let me know how it goes with upskilling and if you need any further help or advice then do get in touch.

          All the best,


  6. This was an insightful read, particularly with the emphasis on organic leadership and the importance of team dynamics in project success. The transformation of your team from a group of strangers to a cohesive unit of leaders is both fascinating and inspiring. I’m curious to know if you ever faced moments of significant conflict or setbacks within the team during this project. How did you or the team leaders, Mark and Dean, handle those situations, and what lessons did those experiences offer? Your story emphasizes the power of trust, autonomy, and genuine connection, and it’d be interesting to understand how these values held up in challenging times.

    1. Hi John,

      Thank you for reading my article and for providing such a thorough comment, and great question.

      There were not too many setbacks from within the team, but with the company we were contracted to there were quite a few conflicts that I and others had to deal with. For one, with myself, if something went wrong then I was getting blamed for it.

      So, I would confront the people who were blaming me and showed them that when blaming others, you are looking outward instead of within. Blaming others is an excuse to deflect your own responsibility.

      I am so pleased that you found my story relateable and I hope many people can read my article and your comment and learn a great deal.

      I appreciate your contribution to my post.

      All the best,


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