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What are the 3 most important things a leader MUST do?

Don’t read any further. Take a few minutes and think about that question. I’ll wait!

What are the 3 most important things a leader must do?

Good––you’re back. I have mine––and I am absolutely confident they’re the right ones. Let’s see if we’re singing in harmony…

• Inspire

• Empower

• Guide

We’re choking on the research. Study after study confirms it. We don’t need another one to confirm it again.

Above anything else, a leader must Inspire, Empower and Guide. And these days, a leader you must be…

I don’t care what it says on you office door or your business card. A promotion makes you a manager, but leadership has nothing to do with your title, rank or position of authority.

As Admiral Grace Hopper once said:

"You manage things, you lead people. We went overboard on management and forgot about leadership.”

The days of the “manager” are over.

A leader is someone with the ability to attract willing followers––and you can only do that by earning their Respect, Trust and Loyalty. And you do that by leading with Courage, Compassion and Wisdom––and that’s what we’re going to talk about today.

These days, you won’t survive on just good enough. You’ve got to perform to your very best. And if your name is on the office door, your best is completely dependent on your ability to bring out the best in others.

I’ll say it again––the days of the “manager” are over. You’ve got to be the LEADER. And more specifically, the type of leader I’m talking about when I say THE SENSEI LEADER––the leader who inspires, empowers and guides people to their very best.

My job is to make sure you are the Sensei––or inspire you to become one.


Before we go too much further, I better give you my credentials. I’m a two-time college dropout and a former drug abuser. Now aren’t you glad you’re reading this?

I used to think that was a lousy resume for someone teaching leadership. It came to learn that this is the perfect resume.

All leadership is situational today. The best leadership is transformational.

Who better to talk about transformation than someone who had to do it to survive? Believe me, If I didn’t get a grip on transformation, I’d be dead or in jail right now.

I’ve never run a big company. I’ve never managed in a big corporation, but I did eventually earn my degree––my Black Belt. I did become a Sensei––and I’ve been one for more than 25 years.

I transformed myself from a drug addict to a Sensei––from loser to leader. Along the way I learned how Inspire, Empower and Guide people to overcome the most incredible obstacles and become their very best. I can show you how to do it too.

Let’s get started…

The “manager” motivates––the LEADER INSPIRES…

The “manager” is measured by meeting expectations. The leader is measured by exceeding them. That takes inspiration––motivation just won’t cut it. Here’s the difference…

Motivate simply means to provide someone with a cause or a reason to act. As I said, any “manager” can do that. You can do it with a carrot at the end of a stick. You can also do it through threats of punishment or denial or through fear, force and coercion.

To inspire means to fill someone with an animating, compelling feeling. You inspire by creating a deeply meaningful and emotional call to action. That’s a genuine leader does.

This takes a deeply personal commitment to your vision. You’ve got to be the most enthusiastic champion of that vision.

You must lead with Courage, Compassion and Wisdom. You can motivate with a carrot on a stick––or with a whip. But these are the qualities that Inspire.

And you must lead by example. People may follow orders––but they’re inspired by examples.

The “manager” delegates––the LEADER EMPOWERS…

Long ago Lao Tzu wrote:

“A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.”

Any “manager” can assign tasks. All you need to do that is authority.

The LEADER understands that his or her own success is completely dependent on the success of others. It’s all about power––if you understand the true meaning of power.

Power is your ability or capacity to act or perform effectively. If you want to be more powerful––more effective––empower others. Make sure they have the power, autonomy, authority, and resources to perform to their very best.

The “manager” drives––the LEADER GUIDES…

General Patton said:

"We herd sheep, we drive cattle––we lead people.”

I love old Westerns. Think of those cattle drives––those slow moving herds. They need constant vigilance to keep them moving in the right direction and keep strays from wandering off. And if you frighten them, you’ve got a stampede.

If you want people to act like cattle––drive ‘em. If you want people to perform to their best––Guide them.

Commit yourself to mentoring, teaching and coaching the people you serve. Embed this mindset of mentoring and guiding throughout your organization––leaders at all levels guiding others to their very best.

Leadership is sharing––a leader shares. From the front lines to the C-suite people sharing their knowledge and experience, helping others learn, grow and develop––that’s a dynamic culture!

“The superior man nourishes and educates the people making soldiers of the multitude.” ~Chuang Tzu

And that’s what the Sensei does…

"Your power as a leader expands in direct proportion to what you’re willing to share with others." ~from THE SENSEI LEADER

Inspire, Empower and Guide others to their very best. That’s how you become your very best as a leader––


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