cienpiesnf | adobe stock

I can teach you everything, but I can’t teach you to care. Does this resonate with you? Or, does it make you think of a person or persons on your team? “Caring" is an interesting verb. In business, the measurement of “caring" is simple, but not easy to change. If a consultant came into your business and performed a blind survey of your teams, what would they say? Does he or she “care" about me?

Notice I said “me," not "Does he or she care about their job?" We forget what people say, but almost never forget how they make us feel.

Leadership is the job of caring, which is the job of making people feel good. Now, let’s take this one step further. Frequently, we hear colleagues lament "How do I motivate my team? I can’t seem to get them to do anything.

Consider this a question of how to inspire, not motivate, the team. Recently, I heard a speaker state: "Passion, plus inspiration, equals obsession.” Are you obsessed with your goals? Would your team describe you that way?

Recent studies suggest the concept of leadership includes the following: consistently follows through; secure; fully engaged; humility; stable ; confident; driven by purpose; and driven by values

So, if we used this list – maybe added more leadership behaviors – and added it to our annual review/assessment process, asking the question, “On a 1-10 scale, rank your boss on each of these behaviors.” What answers would we get?

For me, the real passion to inspire comes from within. It’s a drive to help others and to serve, not “I’m here to be served." And to tell the truth, this doesn’t always go over so well. Just because I am all fired up about what we are doing at work doesn’t guarantee my team will react with equal vigor. See, the world is filled with broken people (myself included), and we all bring our imperfect selves to work each day. Some days we are fired up about our role and our life outside work and other times it’s just the opposite. So how do we rise above it all? How do we insure that if our direct reports or our clients were interviewed, we would score as close to ten on all the behaviors listed above as possible?

We need to define our purpose, our purpose in life, and the purpose our business exists. We need to really want to make it happen. We don’t have to be right all the time, but we need to be real. We need to care more about others more than we do ourselves and our behaviors must align with that belief. We need to alter some of our habits to change the results. And we need a heart for learning. See, empathy is wanting to get better so we can help others get better.

So, when you head into work tomorrow, try focusing on how you interact with your team and your clients. Hyper focus on their needs and how they react to your behavior. After a day of “inspiring,” go home and do it all over again. This time inspire your spouse, your kids, your neighbors, your friends, and if nothing else greet everyone with a smile and a heartfelt: “How was your day?"

Troy Clogg is the president of Troy Clogg Landscape Associates, a 2010 Leadership Award recipient, and a Snow Magazine contributing editor.