Sign in

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

Excellent leadership is a trust iceberg

Credit: oneinchpunch on Shutterstock

58% of people trust strangers more than they trust their boss according to Harvard Business Review. On the flip side, a Good&Co survey shows only 34% of managers trust their employees.

This mutual trust deficit is sand in the gears of getting anything done in any leadership position.

So how do bosses ensure they aren’t adding to these stats?

By being a boss people can trust, of course. Building a trustworthy operational environment starts with the leader — and leadership starts with you.

The quality of leader people see is directly related to the qualities of that leader people can’t


You lead others to their potential only by approaching yours

lassedesignen on Shutterstock

All hell broke loose.

Someone had left a corner of their bed untucked. The Marine Corps drill instructors saw it as an accountability failure of all 73 of us recruits and proceeded to take every mattress, every footlocker, and every steel bedframe and pile it into a mountain in the center of the barracks. It was Boot Camp and we were being taught the basics of attention to detail.

Later, as we pulled the tornado pile of beds, blankets, and steel off the pile in an attempt to reorganize, I learned a valuable lesson —details matter. …


A masterpiece is painted with tiny brushstrokes

Photo Credit: OPOLJA on Shutterstock

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

Credit: HBRH on Shutterstock

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

Photo Credit: ASDF_Media on Shutterstock.com

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…


“That debris could have killed her. I was here today to make sure that didn’t happen.”

Credit: ImageFlow on Shutterstock

“Pull over, pull over now!” he demanded. My Sergeant and I were on our way back from a military exercise driving on a public highway. I pulled over. He hopped out, dragged the debris from the road, hopped back in, and we left.

As a new guy just learning leadership, I asked him why he didn’t just wait for the state DOT to handle it. He said “because leaders don’t wait for other people to do what needs to be done. As soon as I saw that debris it became my responsibility. If I can do it safely without putting…


“Thanks in advance”

By Krakenimages.com on Shutterstock

“Hey Max, I need this back ASAP!” the email dinged annoyingly.

That simple request may sound innocent, but it was the last straw. Everything with this guy was “ASAP” and his “ASAPs” kept becoming more stringent in what they meant. His poor planning always became my emergency and he made it so I had to delay other people’s requests to accommodate him. Finally, I had enough. I know typing while angry is forever so I restrained myself and just typed back the following.

“I won’t get this done until Friday.”

He called me right away complaining that Friday wasn’t “ASAP.”…


Berating people into voluntary injection by a government they don’t trust is counterproductive

Credit: RESTOCK images on Shutterstock

“If Democrats would have just shut up about it, I probably wouldn’t have thought twice about getting it.”

I just don’t trust the federal government. Why should I? They’ve only ever lied to me, confiscated a huge chunk of my paycheck, and given me nothing in return. At least the state taxes I pay cover the roads and police.”

“What ever happened to ‘my body, my choice?’ Oh, it’s not only my body we’re talking about with COVID, you say? Well, neither is abortion.”

“Democrats are all about science until it comes to 58 genders. Also, why is it called…


#2. “I actually agree with you”

By Mix and Match Studio on Shutterstock

“I already told you this!”

My old boss didn’t like that I lost track of one of his excessive new rules for conducting business.

Instead of just telling us again he had to throw in what we heard as “I told you this already! How can you not remember these things? What is wrong with your brains? Fine, I’ll repeat it again, idiots.”

Every mistake, difficulty, or issue in his eyes required a new policy to fix it. It wasn’t good enough to learn, discuss, adapt, improve, and move on. Instead, a new official rule had to be implemented and…


I may not read them but somebody will!

By Studio Romantic on Shutterstock

“Noooooo! Not another Elon Musk, morning routine, get rich, change your life, click-baity, 5 ways listicle! Come on, man!”

I see tons of writers complaining about other writers and what they write about. Many times it is understandable irritation triggered by repetitive content the same way we get tired of hearing the same talking points from our political rivals. Sometimes it’s familiarity breeding contempt.

Sometimes that morning routine hack makes us roll over and go back to sleep and we roll our eyes at the senseless beating of another dead horse.

I understand this tendency to get irritated. When you…

Max Klein

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store