12 Great Leadership Quotes

This month’s posts have focused on Leading others (a series called “How to Become a Person of Influence). I thought it might be fun to end the month with a list of great leadership quotes from past leaders. Enjoy reading through these. When you’re done, please reply back to me and let me know which was your favorite and why.

  1. “You don’t lead by pointing and telling people some place to go. You lead by going to that place and making a case.” – Ken Kesey
  2. “The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things.” – Ronald Reagan
  3. “Don’t follow the crowd, let the crowd follow you.” – Margaret Thatcher
  4. “A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
  5. “Too many kings can ruin an army.” – Homer
  6. “Position doesn’t make anybody a leader. Being in charge doesn’t make the wrong person right.” – Tim Berry
  7. “The art of leadership is saying no, not yes. It is very easy to say yes.” – Tony Blair
  8. “Leaders aren’t born, they are made. And they are made just like anything else, through hard work. And that’s the price we’ll have to pay to achieve that goal, or any goal.” – Vince Lombardi
  9. “You can do what I cannot do. I can do what you cannot do. Together, we can do great things.” – Mother Teresa
  10. “Try not to become a man of success, but a man of value.” – Albert Einstein
  11. “No man is good enough to govern another man without that other’s consent.” – Abraham Lincoln
  12. “If It’s Lonely At The Top, You’re Not Doing Something Right.” – John C. Maxwell

So? Which of those quotes resonated with you most? Or, which did you like best? Please let me know which one and I’d love it if you’d take a second to say why. Thanks in advance!

How to Become a Person of Influence Part 3

Last week I continued a short series on becoming a person of influence. This is the final installment in that series. In the first post I wrote about Integrity, Nurture, and Faith in people as essential to increasing your influence. Last week we looked at Listening, Understanding and Enlarging people. This week we’re going to tackle the final four actions that will increase your influence.


I have a lighthouse on the home page of my website. I like the symbolism of the lighthouse because lighthouses help ships safely navigate along the coast. They provide a reference point and identify potential dangers. The metaphor is great for leaders.

John Maxwell calls this the “Law of Navigation” in his book, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership. The law states: “Anyone can steer a ship, but it takes a leader to chart the course.” Leaders (influencers) are people who help others find a way through troubled waters. There are some who see problems ahead and avoid them, some who experience problems and fix them, and some who neither see nor fix them but are overwhelmed by them. If you can help people see problems and safely navigate through them, you will increase your influence.


This is about more than friends on Facebook or connections on LinkedIn. This is about personal connection which is becoming more and more rare, unfortunately. We’ve all seen the scene at the restaurant where several people (sometimes even families!) are sitting at the table. No two of them are talking to each other because they’re all on their phones. Or the scene where the child is sitting with a parent, trying to get their attention, but they can’t because Mom or Dad is focused on their phone. This is the most “connected” period in history with the most isolated people ever. We can be isolated in a crowd because we are losing the art of interpersonal connection.

If you want to increase your influence, learn to connect with people. How do you do that? First, find their agenda. Go to “their world.” Connection involves pursuit more than invitation. What are they interested in and/or working on. You will connect if you get interested in that. Second, communicate from the heart. In the words of writer Susanna Clarke, “You’ve got to love like you’ll never get hurt. You’ve got to dance like there’s nobody watching. You’ve got to come from the heart if you want it to work.” Finally, find the key to their life. Everybody has one. Once you find it, ask permission to turn it on. That’s connection.


To empower is to make someone stronger and more confident. A sign at the Walmart headquarters says, “Through these doors pass ordinary people on their way to accomplishing extraordinary things.” That’s an empowering message. It encourages people to be strong and confident.

Empowerment means to see the potential in people. It means to say the words of encouragement and confidence in them that will inspire them to attempt what they thought they could not do. Empowerment means to share your knowledge and experience so they can grow faster and go further than you. It also means that you show others your faith in that person and the power you’ve given to them.


One of the most potent ways to be an influencer is to reproduce through others. It’s the principle of multiplication. John Craig said, “No matter how much work you can do, no matter how engaging your personality may be, you will not advance far in business if you cannot work through others.” One of the primary jobs of a leader is to produce more leaders. How do you do that?

  1. Model good leadership
  2. Provide leadership training
  3. Provide leadership resources
  4. Provide leadership experiences
  5. Create a growth environment

That wraps up our list of 10 essential qualities that will help you become a person of Influence. You may have noticed that the list is arranged into an acrostic. How do you become a person of influence? You

I ntegrity (have it with people)
N urture people
F aith (have it in people)
L isten to people
U nderstand people
E nlarge people
N avigate with people
C onnect with people
E mpower people
R eproduce through people

How to Become a Person of Influence Part 2

In last week’s post I started writing about how to become a person of influence. We are all already influencing up to 80,000 people over the course of an average lifetime. This is about being more than average. Not necessarily in the numbers (although that, too), but in the intent. I started a list of 10 things you can do to intentionally increase your influence. The first three areas of focus were to have Integrity, to Nurture people, and to have Faith in people. This week I have three more.


We’ve been endowed with two ears and on mouth. How often do you find people using those in reverse proportion? What might happen to relationships of all kinds, personal, professional, etc. if we listened twice as much as we talked? Christian Philosopher, Paul Tillich said, “The first duty of love is to listen.”

I have a series on listening in this blog called “The Superpower You Didn’t Know you Have.” Click here to see the first post and then you can scroll down. Or click here to view a list of posts under that category.

In his book Becoming a Person of Influence, Author and renown leadership trainer, John Maxwell, Writes about what he calls the “4 H questions to become a good listener.” I like these:

  1. What is their Heart?
  2. What is their Hope?
  3. What is their Hurt?
  4. How can I Help?

You have to ask questions and listen to discover a person’s heart, hope, hurt, and opportunity to be helped. When you do, I guarantee the person will feel heard. When we feel heard, we’re more open to the one who heard us. That’s influence.


This one can be tricky. But it’s a huge opportunity if we get it right. It takes time to understand people. The tricky thing about understanding is that we make snap judgments about someone when we first meet them. You’ve heard the saying, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” That’s true. Some research shows we form an almost indelible first impression within a tenth of a second of meeting a person.

It’s a good thing those first impressions are not always right. Over thirty years ago, our oldest son needed to have a tumor removed from his brain. It was serious enough that the hospital where he was diagnosed wouldn’t perform the surgery. We were referred to Children’s Memorial in Chicago. The night before the surgery, his Brain Surgeon came into the hospital room to meet us and discuss the surgery. Right when he walked into the room he set his notebook down on the over bed table and knocked Josh’s water onto the floor. Not a good look for the guy who will be tinkering inside your 20 month old’s brain the next morning! Fortunately, he was an incredibly skilled surgeon. The surgery was successful and our son is now in his early thirties.

To really understand someone, you need to know a lot about them. In addition to the 4 H questions above, take time to find out about what they’re great at, what they cry about, sing about and dream about, and who have been the key influencers in their life so far.

I once had a job where I joked that my job description was “Coffee, Cookies, and Conversation.” I did spend a great deal of time getting to know and understand as many of the people I worked with as possible. My job was to help them thrive in a cross-cultural work environment. Understanding people is critical to positively influencing people.


To Enlarge is to make bigger. Another word for that is to Grow. One of the key intrinsic motivators for most people is called “Mastery.” People generally want to get better at things. You can see that, for example, in the person who practices playing an instrument they will never use professionally. They enjoy playing and just want to get better. If you help people grow, learn things, develop skills, improve the skills they have, you’ll be helping them get what they want and that’s influence. Zig Zigler is famous for saying, “You’ll always have everything in life that you want IF you help enough people get what they want.” Helping people grow, then, is a classic win/win.

We’ve covered 6 of the 10 ways to increase your influence. Next week we’ll finish up the list. Leave a comment about how you’re increasing your influence.

How to Become a Person of Influence

A few years ago I worked with a large Hospital System in California. They teach their staff a tool called the “10 – 5 Rule.” It instructs all staff that if they see a member or guest coming toward them in the corridor of one of their facilities, they should acknowledge that person with eye contact and a smile once they come within 10 feet of them. When they reach the 5 foot line, staff are taught to verbally greet the person. This practice is intended to help people feel welcome and generally better about being in a medical facility where most people are not having their best day. I put that rule into practice while working there as well. It was amazing to see the results. When you smile at people, they most often smile back. Sometimes, it was a little scary. The person walking toward me didn’t make eye contact and looked very serious. But over 90% of the time, when I said, “Hello,” their entire face changed. They smiled (sometimes looked surprised) and said, “Hello” back.

That’s Influence

Influence is defined as “the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something,” It can be in the moment like when you make someone smile in the hallway. Or it can be over a lifetime with your family, friends, co-workers or an even larger set of people. It can be formal. It can be informal. It can be a part of your position or just a part of who you are. The fact is, we are all people of influence on some level.

We are constantly influencing people. In fact, one study shows the average person will influence 80,000 people during their lifetime. That’s a lot of people. But, when we talk about becoming a person of influence, we’re not talking about the influence of the average person. That happens regardless of your intention or even your knowledge sometimes. A “Person of Influence” is someone who intentionally uses their influence to add value to others, to make their lives better.

World renown Leadership Teacher and Author, John Maxwell, says, “Leadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less.” So, whether you are in a recognized leadership position of some kind or not, being a person of influence makes you a leader. Some of the most influential people I know are not “Leaders” in their job title. They’re Moms and Dads, Administrative Assistants, Teachers, Friends, etc. But, because of their influence, they are leaders.

How To Increase Your Influence

There are 10 things you can focus on to increase your intentional influence. Here are three of them.

Influence begins with Integrity. If you want to increase your influence, start there. Dwight D. Eisenhower once said,

“In order to be a leader a man must have followers. And to have followers, a man must have their confidence. Hence the supreme quality for a leader is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a sections gang, a football field, in an army, or in an office. If a man’s associates find him guilty of phoniness, if they find that he lacks forthright integrity, he will fail. His teachings and actions must square with each other. The first great need, therefore, is integrity and high purpose.”

The next focus of Influence is Nurture. As the old saying goes, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Authentically caring about others will increase your influence with them.

The third focus of Influence is Faith. One of the greatest gifts you can give a person is to express belief in them when they don’t believe in themselves. Can you imagine being on a team where the coach didn’t believe in you? Your influence with people will increase when you believe in them.

Let’s focus on these three for now and I’ll share a few more in the next post.

If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile, or this is your first time, please give me some feedback on whether or not this is helpful to you. Thanks!

The Power of Reflection

A few years ago I was working with the CEO of a contract facilities services company on a presentation for a major client in Pittsburgh. On our way to the presentation, the CEO asked each member of the team, “How long have you been doing this kind of work?” He wanted to (and did) tell the client the number of combined years of industry experience our team represented. The client seemed impressed which pleased the CEO. I remember wondering then, “What does that really tell anyone?” Just because someone’s been doing something for a long time doesn’t mean they’re necessarily good at it. We seem to have the idea that “Experience is the best teacher.” I agree, however, with my friend and mentor John Maxwell who says, “Experience is not the best teacher. Evaluated experience is.” There’s a big difference and it’s in the power of reflection.

Review the Video

During many sporting events, coaches can ask for a review of a particular call. They believe the call was wrong so officials review the video. When a crime has been committed, police will look for any video from cellphones or security systems to see if there might be evidence available there.

Our minds are like video cameras. They capture everything. The clips are readily available to review especially shortly after the event was recorded. I recommend a regular review of our mental video. As soon after an interaction or event as possible, take some time to review the video to evaluate how it went. Pay close attention to your own activity. What words and tone did you use during the interaction/event? What did your body language convey to others?

Also, pay close attention to the responses of the others in the video whether they were direct participants or bystanders. Were they receptive or closed off? Did they interact or retreat? What other observations can you make from the video?


Once you’ve made the above observations about your mental video, it’s time to evaluate the interaction/event, to reflect. If you look up “Reflection” you will find these definitions:

  1. Your response to experiences, opinions, events or new information.
  2. Your response to thoughts and feelings.
  3. A way of exploring your learning.
  4. An opportunity to gain self-knowledge.
  5. A way to achieve clarity and better understanding of what you are learning.

That list actually came under the definition of “Reflective Writing” which I strongly recommend as a way to clarify your thinking and memorialize your learning. I find it helpful to write out answers to the following three questions when I’m reflecting.

What went well? – What positive results came from that interaction? For example, Was a plan developed? Was movement forward toward a metric made? Did the interaction show positive teamwork?

What would I do differently? – Knowing what you’ve observed, how would you approach that same situation differently in the future. To prevent something called “Hindsight Bias” this is a good place to ask, “What could/should I have known prior to this event? What was/was not predictable, and how will I change my approach in the future?

What benefit did I (others) receive? – This goes beyond the benefits you may have listed under “What went well?” This is about what you learned and how you and others grew as a result of that interaction/event.

Expand the View

Beyond reflection on a single interaction or event, the real value in reflection comes from making it a habit. Spend some time either before bed or early in the morning to reflect on the past day. Part of your weekend could be well-spent evaluating the past week. John Maxwell spends the last two weeks of each year reflecting on the entire year.

We will only be better tomorrow if we learn and grow today. Experience is only the best teacher if we learn from it. Evaluated hindsight leads to clearer foresight. That’s the power of reflection.

A Faith Based Approach to Habit Formation

On Sunday I was able to share again with our friends at Grace Community Church. The title of this one was “How to Make Righteousness Your Habit.” We don’t hear that word, Righteousness, very often these days. But, it’s a good word and imagine how our society would be if it were more people’s habit.

There was no video this week, but they posted the audio which I’ve attached here.


2020 Vision Video

Yesterday I had the privilege of speaking to my friends at Grace Community Church in Lathrop on the topic of 2020 Vision.  It was an expansion of what I posted last week. The video has been posted here.  I hope this will be helpful to someone.

2020 Vision

Happy New Year! I have a dear friend who lives in the Atlanta area. Each New Year’s Eve I text him at 9:00 PM my time (I live on the west coast). It’s always the same text message, “How does the future look?” This year his answer was a little different. It always says, “The future looks bright!” this year he said, “The future is so bright I’m seeing 2020!” We’re having a lot of fun with 2020 already, aren’t we? Did you catch the Barbara Walters 20/20 montage on New Year’s Eve? “This is 20/20” and “Welcome to 20/20” over an over again. It was pretty clever.

The New Year is a good time to talk about vision. When we talk about Mission, we’re usually talking about what we do. Vision is about why? Vision is about our personal or team or corporate purpose. It’s been said that when you know your “Why,” your “What” becomes more powerful. There is an ancient Proverb that says, “When there is no vision, the people cast off restraint.” It’s saying that absent clear purpose, direction and boundaries, people (individuals, teams, even companies) do whatever they want and that leads to chaos.

What’s Your Why?

I touched on this in a post a couple months ago. But, I want to unpack it a little here. How do you know your purpose, your why? I really like this exercise I learned from John Maxwell’s book Intentional Living. He suggests you can discover your “why” by asking the following questions:

What do you Cry about?

Almost everyone cries about things like the loss of a loved one (human or pet) or a broken relationship. So, the question is not what do you cry about? It’s, what do you cry about? What are the things that uniquely move you to tears? I’m a sap crier, not a sad crier. Don’t get me wrong, I cry about the normal things. But I tend to cry more about things that are moving. My family calls me a sap. So, I had to reverse engineer this to discover that I cry about Ignorance (when people don’t know that things could be better or how to make them better). I also cry about Estrangement (when relationships that should be wonderful are broken). Finally, I cry about Devaluation (I’m not talking about currency here. I’m talking about when people are written off as of having or bringing no value)

What do you Sing about?

Again, the emphasis is on you. What are the specific things that light you up to the point of wanting to sing? I get jazzed about discovery, when I see or help people learn the things that will transform their lives. I also want to sing when there is reconciliation, when those relationships that should be wonderful become wonderful again. Finally, I love it when those who’ve been written off are proven to be worthy. Call it redemption or transformation. I don’t care what we call it, I love it.

What do you Dream about?

This is not the big house, boat, or fancy car conversation. This is about what one thing, if you could change it, would make all the difference for you? I dream about spending the rest of my life launching leaders to live their legend (more about that in another post).

What’s your sweet spot?

What are you great at? It may be natural talent or developed skill, but you’re good at it. Your sweet spot is where your passion (what you cry and sing about), your dream(s) (what you dream about) and your talent and skills intersect. This is where you find your why, your purpose. this is your 2020 vision of who you want to become.

A Final Question

This is the point where you ask “what?” What are you going to do about all this? Dreams are free, everyone has them. The difference between dreamers who just dream and those whose dreams come true is action. Now that you know your why, your what will be more clear and it will certainly have more impact.

What are two things (small or large) you could do in the next week to move you in the direction of your vision? Do those. Happy New Year!

Do the Hard Work Up Front

We got a new puppy the day after Thanksgiving and our lives haven’t been the same since! It’s like having a brand new baby only without the diapers. And this newborn is able to run around. Sleepless nights, constant monitoring to be sure she isn’t into something that can hurt her, teaching her to go potty outside, cleaning up accidents are all things we weren’t doing Thanksgiving Day. Now it is part of our daily routine. Speaking of which, all our routines have changed. My morning routine is disrupted. My wife now has to adjust her day because of the puppy. We all make sure we spend time playing with her. We make sure when she eats, we are nearby to pet her occasionally so she gets used to that and doesn’t become protective of her food.

This isn’t our first rodeo. We’ve had new puppies before. We knew what we were in for, and did it anyway. At first they are such a novelty and so cute, it’s all ooohs and aaahs and fun. Soon it becomes work. There are times when you reminisce about when you had more freedom. This is when many people give up. Suzi was reading to me the other day about a place that rescues Golden Retrievers. I said, “Golden Retrievers! Why would they need rescuing?” They seem like such wonderful pets that I was amazed. She read on that often when people get puppies (of any breed or mix), they enjoy the newness and fun of the puppy, but don’t do the hard work of bonding and training and give up on them because it’s too much.

We’ve learned that when you do the hard work up front, you get a wonderful return on your investment. Your cute little puppy/nuisance becomes a lifelong loving companion/member of the family.

We’ve also learned the same is true of children. We adopted five children and each of them (one set of twins) were an unbelievable amount of work (don’t get me wrong, there’s always fun mixed in with the work) on the front end. We (mostly my amazing mother/wife, Suzi) devoted most of our time and energy in the early years bonding with and training our children. Now, the youngest two are 19, we don’t think about the time and energy that went into their development. We’ve been too busy enjoying them.

The same is true at work. New employees are similar to babies and puppies in a sense. Although they are much easier in many ways, doing the hard work of connecting them to the company/team and training them well on the front end will set them up for success and pay huge dividends down the road.

Have a Happy New Year!

Listen to Christmas

This is the Monday before Christmas, 2019. What are you thinking about? If you’re like me, you’re thinking about a lot of things. One of the things on my mind is this post. What should I write about? I decided to see what I wrote about last year at this time, so I went back and discovered last year’s pre-Christmas post came out on Christmas eve. I didn’t write anything about the holiday. I wrote about “Barriers to Good Listening.” It was part of a series on “Listening: The Super-Power You Didn’t Know you Have.” You can find the posts listed on my “Posts By Category” page at engagerdynamics.com.

Listening seems like an appropriate topic for our thinking at this time of year. We “listen” to our family and friends, for example, when they tell us what they want for Christmas. Our son Justin’s Christmas list is a much anticipated piece of holiday literature each year. It’s a humorous proclamation of his “demands” with corresponding “consequences” should they not be met. If you knew Justin, you’d get how funny such an approach is.

My point is that we demonstrate how we’ve listened by the actions we take about those Christmas wishes. I call it Listening with Your Hands and Feet. What I’m thinking about now is, What does Christmas want from you? Strange question? Maybe. We hear a lot about “The Magic of Christmas” and “Christmas Miracles.” I believe the things we put into those categories are the result of someone’s answer to my question. This season asks something from us. As a person of faith, I think of it as “The Reason for the Season–Jesus” who is doing the asking. Whether you’re a person of faith or not, this season asks us to change our attitudes and actions.

As we wrap up the possibly frenetic activities leading into Wednesday, Christmas Day, let me challenge you to listen to the season. What does it want from you? I encourage you further to listen with your hands and feet.