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Family Man. Leader. 3x Top Writer. MBA Strategy and Management. Marine Corps Veteran. Winemaker. emaxklein@icloud.com

Intangible skills that can make or break your career

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The best leader I ever met barely graduated high school.

He was a Sergeant of mine when I was a young Marine. The Marines under him loved him and would follow him anywhere. The Marines above him respected him greatly.

He wasn’t book smart. In fact, he could barely spell, but he was “people-smart” which is much more powerful. He knew how people felt. He felt what people wanted. He had the highest emotional intelligence of anyone I’ve ever met. He knew how to light a fire in our souls then get the very best from us. …


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…


Simple truths to make you a better boss

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You don’t do the right thing because others are looking, but because you are.

As a kid, I asked my dad why I couldn’t just eat spaghetti with my hands if no one was around. He told me that I don’t do that because I have self-respect.

His answer shifted my mindset from just following the rules of life to something bigger — something deeper. Following a moral code when no one was looking began to shape who I was.

His answer planted little seeds of character in my young mind that helped me lead later in life.

As someone…


Small but genuine tweaks can yield big leadership results

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“He’s just so volatile! I never know what to expect!” my frazzled friend told me after work one day. She was talking about her boss who could be a rabid animal one day and a fuzzy puppy the next. It was utterly exhausting to work for someone who had no control over their emotions.

People have emotions of course and you need to be authentic as a boss in sharing them, but there’s a limit. If he’d just set a high/low range on his emotional display, everyone would be more relaxed and confident in him.

Little tweaks like corralling emotion…


We could all use a boost of wisdom sometimes

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The nurse swaddled him in warm blankets and carried him over to us. He looked up at us and for a brief moment stopped crying. It was the first time I’d ever felt pure, unconditional love.

I knew my life would be different, and better, from that day forward. That was February, 2008 when my first child was born. And I was right, my life would never be the same.

Being a parent is the best but toughest role I’ve ever had. Being a Marine is a cakewalk compared to being a parent. It’s one of those things you never…


Creative writing

This may ruin my credibility as a writer but I don’t care

(No picture can capture it)

This is a story about my life and yours.

After minimal planning, I was finally hatched on the rock in the center of the pond as most of us ducks were nowadays. I met my sister that day and we looked nearly identical except for the fact that her down was completely gray while mine had some spots of yellow.

Our mother was near us for most of the first few weeks. She’d bring us worms she’d found and soggy bread the children would throw into the water from the bridge.

Our father was watching…


Just shut your pie hole if these questions come to mind

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There aren’t many things worse than a boss who asks you dumb questions. Yes, there are such things as dumb questions when you get paid more than I do. Those who have told you otherwise, unless it was your third-grade teacher, are just trying to make you feel better about how dumb you’re about to sound.

Though my approach here is tongue in cheek, the below questions are anything but.

If you’re a boss and you ask these things, your employees are secretly cursing the day you were born.

If you just don’t ask these questions you may have a…


#1. Delegate then get out of the way

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One of the greatest leaders I ever served under was former Secretary of Defense and Marine General James “Mad Dog” Mattis. Among hundreds of quotable quotes he’s quipped, he said this about leadership:

“When it’s all over and done with you’re not going to win any fights as a leader. Your troops are going to win those fights.”

Leadership isn’t as much about how good you are as it is about how good you make others want to be. This same mentality translates perfectly to modern business practices. Perhaps reworded as:

“When the doors close at the end of the…

Max Klein

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