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

Simple truths for effective leadership

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After being in leadership positions for 25 years in military, corporate, government, and volunteer settings, I’ve found one simple definition for good leadership to always be true:

Good Leadership is the actions you take that make people want to follow you.

It sounds simple because it is, and the word want is key. Want is a desire motivated by heart, not bank accounts or threats of punishment. Want is a purely inspired desire to walk in your direction because of who you are.

I’ve also found that it doesn’t matter what setting you lead in. …


The key to successful leadership is found within.

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“How will I ever be able to teach that?” I asked one of the instructors. In late 2001 just after 9/11, I was taking part in the first Martial Arts Instructor-Trainer course in Quantico, Virginia. We were learning to be black-belt instructors of instructors in this new mixed martial arts program the Marine Corps was rolling out.

The head of the program, a charismatic and tough-as-nails Force Recon Colonel named George Bristol had just given a talk to all of us on “the shadow,” that brief speck of time between thought and action. …


A masterpiece is painted with tiny brushstrokes

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I’ve found in life that the simplest advice is often the most powerful and that small habits you adopt paint the big picture of who you are. This observation holds true with leadership.

Admiral William McRaven, in his commencement speech to the graduates at The University of Texas, said:

“If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed. If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day. …


Small tweaks in leadership techniques to avoid huge headaches

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I pictured myself in military prison, my future ruined. Thoughts like this were racing through my head as I sprinted back to the barracks from the rifle range.

“Oh crap, Oh crap, Oh crap….where is it?” I thought as a cold sweat trickled down my brow.

There was an M16 rifle missing. Gone. We couldn’t find it. We were on the rifle range in Marine Boot Camp on Parris Island, South Carolina.

Somehow I’d finagled my way into being the ‘Platoon Guide’, which is basically the leader of the other 75 recruits in the platoon. …


Motivating with more than just money

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I remember once in the Marines I was speaking to a man named Joe Dowdy, a “full-bird” Colonel, who was about to lead over 7,000 men and women into battle. This is about as close to having God-like powers as any man can have but he was talking to me like a beloved teacher may speak to one of his favorite students.

I wasn’t his favorite Marine, of course — we all were. This extreme down-to-earth humility made him one of the most well-loved officers in the Marine Corps. A “Marine’s Marine.”

Think of the bosses, teachers, coaches, or leaders…


#3. They treat everyone the same

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“Did I ask for your opinion?”

It was clear from the question that my new boss wasn’t interested in my input, and never would be. I was disgusted and wanted to quit.

Over the course of a few days as the new boss, he squashed my enthusiasm and initiative. He made it clear I knew nothing simply because he’d been there longer — and that I needed to be quiet as he’d tell me what to do and when to do it.

In short, he was toxic. The opposite of a good boss.

If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably…


Humor/Writing/Medium

5 ways to stop listing 5 ways to do things and not use words like ‘gaslight’

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I know, I know. Not all Medium articles are listicles, but they have a happy home here simply because lists work. They’re quickly digestible bite-sized nuggets of wisdom. 70% of my articles are lists and I love writing them, but the other day I realized I had a problem.

I realized I couldn’t stop writing listicles or using trending words. I knew it was out of control when I looked at my latest draft title:

3 Ways To Take 7 Steps to Find 5 Types of Happiness

Without gaslighting yourself

I knew then that I needed help. I’d gone too far. I’d lost control.

I put down my pen and typed “how…


Many years passed before I took up writing. It changed my life.

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“Sergeant Klein!” the voice cracked through the canvas tent late one afternoon.

“The Major needs to see you.”

We were back in Kuwait after being in Iraq and were waiting for our orders back to the States. I walked out of the tent and across the hard sand, heading to where the senior staff was bunked.

“Sergeant Klein reporting as ordered, sir,” I said as soon as I got there.

“Sergeant Klein, we need to head down to the Red Cross tent,” he said. He sat down on the ammo box at the end of his rack to tie his…


Tiny pebbles cause painful blisters

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I went to Army Basic Training and Marine Boot Camp. Perhaps I’m a glutton for punishment because I enjoyed almost every minute of both. But there was one particular case in Army Basic Training that I didn’t enjoy. This event destroyed morale faster than I’ve ever seen morale destroyed.

The Drill Sergeant made us shave our heads three days before graduation because his girlfriend broke up with him.

Now you may say “who cares…don’t all soldiers have short hair anyway?” Yes, but the initial de-individualizing aspect of a full head shave happens right away at Boot Camp. …


Humor/Satire

A self-help article to read to your dog

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Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash

Come here (fill in dog name)!

Awwwww, good (boy/girl).

Awwwww, smoochie woochie, you’re so good.

You’ve been watching me read a lot on Medium haven’t ya?

Well, it’s not that I’m trying to ignore you, I’m just trying to improve my life with smart articles where good ideas find me. But I realize now I’ve been hogging all the advice for myself and not sharing any with you…boooogie woooogie awwww such a good boy.

So here’s one a great writer named Max Klein wrote just for you.

Sit. Sit. I said sit. Good boy.

It’s titled:

5 Ways To Be a Good Boy

How to get out…

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