A little charisma goes a long way.

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75% of employees consider their direct manager to be the “worst part of their job” according to a survey of almost 5,000 employees conducted by Hogan Assessments.

This is a troubling statistic for both managers and employees.

A hard-working technical genius of an employee doesn’t necessarily translate to a good leader.

Many crash and burn as a leader simply because they don’t understand what makes people want to follow them. They don’t understand how people see them. They don’t understand what makes people like and respect them.

Because leadership is all about people, it’s all about how your people feel about you. …

How one passion can grow another

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I love making wine. I’ve been doing so for about 10 years, both as a home winemaker and a professional.

I started making wine at home after tasting a wonderful homemade wild grape wine my father-in-law made. He found a vine by a mountain stream and planted it in his garden. A few years later, I helped him pick and crush the first crop. From there he created a wildfire-hued elixer we ended up calling “happy wine” — because it didn’t take much of it to make everyone smile.

After helping make that first batch, I caught the winemaking bug. I read as many books as I could about it. I watched countless YouTube videos and lurked in all the winemaking Facebook Groups. Then practiced. A lot. I made many of the rookie mistakes, but read enough to avoid most of them. …

Mindsets to inspire others and accomplish goals.

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A Gallup survey found that only 18% of leaders in the workplace have a high level of talent for leading others. This means a staggering 82% of leaders range from barely acceptable to just plain bad.

But what’s keeping the stats at this low standard is that most leaders think they’re the good ones.

In a McKinsey & Company study of 52,000+ leaders and employees, most leaders rated themselves as far better than their employees did. 77–86% of them believed they were solid examples of who they wanted their employees to be and that they “inspired action.”

This self-enhancement bias means the majority of leaders simply don’t see much need for improvement, while their employees beg to differ. …

How happiness can not quickly start to fade the moment we attain it.

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A study of lottery winners showed that within six months of winning the lottery, the winners returned to their pre-lottery level of happiness. A similar study also included paralyzed accident victims. Both parties eventually returned to the same baseline of happiness they had before their respective wonderful or terrible event. This phenomenon is called hedonic adaptation.

According to researchers Frederick and Lowenstein, hedonic adaptation is:

“The psychological process by which people become accustomed to a positive or negative stimulus, such that the emotional effects of that stimulus are attenuated over time.”

Research by Sonja Lyubomirsky suggests that hedonic adaptation developed in human biology so our emotional systems can function efficiently throughout our lives to be able to maintain our sensitivity to the value of events or stimuli. For example, to recognize the opportunity in a new mating partner or the danger of a snake underfoot. …

Use the built-in benefits of shyness you already have

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One fateful day, in my 21st year of life, I realized I couldn’t just be a follower anymore. It was a hot, sweaty, miserable day in October 1998 in Parris Island, South Carolina. I couldn’t stand it anymore. My squad leader in Marine Boot Camp was acting… incompetent.

The Drill Instructor saw this inadequacy and “fired” him. Then he asked who wanted the squad leader’s job. After a minute, I reluctantly raised my hand.

I didn’t want his job, but no one else did either, and someone needed to step up. Something told me I should. The Drill Instructor gave me a chance I didn’t really want. …

Constant mental stimulation from screens is dulling their creativity and self-discovery

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I was getting more and more irritated. The kid was sitting at the edge of a beautiful stream with perfect skipping rocks scattered around him. A few ducks were waddling into the water from the opposite bank. I saw a frog jump into the water. I smiled and remembered how my brother and I would catch frogs and devise ingenious traps for fish when we were younger. Then I looked at the kid again. Sitting on a rock…still playing Candy Crush. I frowned.

It wasn’t my kid so I told myself to just ignore it and I did, but I couldn’t figure out why I was so irritated. Then I realized it was more of sadness for that kid than anger. The screen was robbing him of opportunities to be with nature and be with himself. To learn how to skip a rock. To watch how a baby duck stays close to its mother. To catch a frog and look at him closely and see his tiny heartbeat before you let him go. …

People aren’t born charismatic leaders. They become them.

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You’ve probably been lucky enough to meet one. One of those leaders who brings out the best in people just by being who they are. The ones who easily spark enthusiasm and even admiration among those they lead. The ones who could inspire others to follow them pretty much anywhere.

What makes them so charismatic? Were they born that way?

Certainly not. They learned it. They have developed both an ability to lead with a set of leadership skills but also an astute understanding of what motivates people to truly want to follow them.

People aren’t born charismatic leaders. They become one. Which means anyone can learn how to do the same. …

Get all of your senses involved

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The warm, sweet air of Tinian Island filled its lush jungles and open emerald fields, providing a fragrant backdrop to the surrounding ocean’s alternating deep and light hues. The sky above was a bright indigo.

I was a U.S. Marine on a training excercise with some time off. I took that time to explore the jungle.

Tinian — a volcanic speck of an island in the southwest Pacific Ocean — had been once been used as a base for U.S. bombers who’d then flown on to drop the atomic bombs that had ended World War II.

During the war, an airfield had been built by the Seabees (or Navy combat engineers) for the impending attacks on mainland Japan. Just across where the Philippine Sea and the Pacific Ocean meet was the island of Saipan; it was only a few miles away and was visible from Tinian’s shores. The more well-known island of Guam was a little bit farther than that. …

Your EQ is often more important than your IQ.

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According to a study by Johnson and Johnson, there is a strong correlation between high emotional intelligence and high-performing leaders. A similar conclusion was made when a study by Talent Smart showed that “90% of high performers in the workplace possess high EQ, while 80% of low performers have low EQ.” Finally, A study in the SAM Advanced Management Journal showed that EQ is more critical than IQ in determining a leader’s success or failure.

As you can see, study after study proves that emotional intelligence (EQ) is a critical factor in a leader’s success. …

That have worked like a charm in my professional life

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A study by the Ken Blanchard Companies showed that the average organization is forfeiting over $1 million per year in untapped potential thanks to substandard leadership in their ranks.

This is a troubling statistic for all of us — not just for those of us who lead others, but for those who have to operate under this weak leadership.

During my time in the Marine Corps, I learned 11 simple, yet powerful leadership principles that have easily translated to effective leadership in business.

They have enabled me to lead employees in my own business successfully as well as lead numerous youth programs and government committees. …


Max Klein

Family Man. Top Writer in Leadership. MBA Strategy and Management. Marine Corps Veteran. Winemaker. emaxklein@icloud.com

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