Leadership stories that define leaders and leadership...

Here is just one of my personal leadership stories about the birth of my son...

"The doctor kneeled down beside me and my two boys and told me that my son that was just born was not going to live! ---I told him he would!

Here are Some Stories From My Life...

Below I have shared some of my life's stories that will make you laugh - motivate - and hopefully give you an understanding that leadership is not just found in a board room full of black suites and ties.

Over the years that I have spent in the Marine Corps - upper management of international companies - small businesses that my wife and I have owned - and most of all life - I continue to hear that you can be taught leadership.

I disagree - I believe that leadership is something that you are born with - and that is defined by the choices and actions you take in your life.

employee policy manual

The Modern Day Story of Job

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Here's an introduction to my ebook about Faith and Integrity

My name is Jonas Zechariah and my friends (those that I had at any rate) used to call me JZ. I first met professor David Peters at the UND (University of North Dakota) campus cafeteria. I was an improvised freshman who had managed to secure an admission courtesy a favor the dean had owed my family decades back and left to my own devices I had no interest in anything other than my next joint and hard drink.

As I was gloomily contemplating the fact that I was well and thoroughly broke and could not afford even a simple meal let alone imbibe some quality intoxicants, his rich baritone voice intruded into my thoughts.

The good professor was holding court (for want of a better term) and was surrounded by adoring students and faculty members alike. He did not really need to teach to earn a living. After all he was one of the most famous and successful businessmen in the North Dakota region. He taught quite simply because he was a self made man who wanted all others to learn from his example and be as rich and successful as he was.

It was not just his voice that attracted people to him but a subtle aura of genteel elegance that was part and parcel of his very existence. If I were to describe it I don’t think I would be able to do justice. It was not just the way he wore his clothes (though they were undoubtedly custom made by tailors who were absolute artists in their work) or his soft yet firm style of speaking. (No one at the varsity had ever heard the professor yell even when he was taking classes of up to a hundred rowdy students. He quite simply did not need to.) Nor was it the silver crucifix that he wore around his neck as a reminder who he trusted in when he was trying to teach a particularly hard concept. Nor was it his winsome smile.

Rather his aura was a combination of all those things and something else, too elusive to be defined in mere words. Whatever it was, it made him the most charismatic person I have ever known.

Though I had always been the cynical type and had been completely indifferent to his existence, yet the sound of his voice as he placated a girl who was crying inconsolably for some reason, made me sit up and take notice of him.

Our eyes met for the briefest of seconds and then he was lost in the crowd of students who had surrounded his table. I noticed that his meal was untouched as he patiently listened to their problems one by one.

Meanwhile I went back to my melancholy contemplation of an essentially lackluster life. A life devoid of both meaning and purpose! While it is true my family had engineered my acceptance at the prestigious UND, I had no interest in studies of any kind whatsoever. I was still too overwhelmed by the tragedy of my own life.

My wife…. the one person I had fought so hard for years to marry against the wishes of both our respective families. My wife… the one person, who I had trusted and loved more than my own life itself, had betrayed and abandoned me only a fortnight before we were to start a new life together in Canada. There had been no warning, no fights, just simply…. Nothing! One day we talked on the phone on affectionate terms, and the next day there was a notice of divorce proceedings against me. I could not believe my eyes or my senses. I tried calling her but my number had been blocked. Facebook, Twitter, emails everything blocked.

It had been four years since that fateful day. From Russian roulette to Vodka, from self mutilation to drugs, my life has been one long endless nightmare. A vicious downward spiral as I attempted to make sense of the incomprehensible. Why had the Lord allowed this to happen?

With no faith left and no job, my stint as a student at UND was my family’s last ditch effort at trying to stave off my (by now) almost inevitable self destruction.

‘Almost’ inevitable, yes – until I met the soft-spoken David Peters, Professor of mechanical engineering at the University of North Dakota. A man like no other, who though his courage and simplicity inspired me to become all that I am today.

This is his story.


Don't Let Them Kill Your Spirit!

My Daughter's Dreams of Playing College Softball!

Don't Let Anyone Rob You Of Your Dream!

Mark: A Personal Story

Selecting the Right Person for Training!

Setting the Example!

Making An Impression!

Pretending To Be Someone That Your Not!


The Joys Of Leadership

Enough Is Enough

You see real leaders - make the right decisions without any regard for self - only that of others.

Choices as simple as - identifying that the cashier gave you too much change back - and you drive back across town to return it to them.

Or Choices as difficult and dramatic as - stopping at a tragic accident and getting the victims out of the smashed up car before another car comes over the hill in the middle of the night on a busy freeway and smashes into them again. There are many more details to this story.

We all know who real leader are...

Leadership skills can be taught and are also very important to your success - leadership skills such as - fact finding - understanding disciplinary action and how to apply it - delegation - managing change - conducting a fact finding investigation - and running a successful small business.

But leadership - like I said before - is something that you are born with. It can be refined - but you can't make a leader out of just anyone - just like you can't make a professional major league baseball pitcher out of just anyone - you must have the basics to start with.

A real leader will take responsibility for mistakes - will not run from a challenge - will make sacrifices for the benefit of others. We know who we're all talking about - people like school teachers that will make sure the poor kid in their class has food to eat - or school supplies - and they will take it out of their own back pocket. These are the real leaders.

Leadership Stories

I hope you enjoy...

Here are some stories that I will start with and I will be continually adding to these all the time...

Story #1

I was certain he was there to rob me...

Story #2

One of the five men told me if I didn't sell them the beer he was going to kick my...

Story #3

When I walked into the copy room the young Marine that reported to me had copies everywhere...

Story #4

He threw me up against the wall and the Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant put his forearm on my neck and began to apply pressure...

Story #5

It is easy to quit but it is a habit that is hard to break...

Story #6

I became Assistant Manager at the age of 16...

Story #7

My Dad raised his voice as he said - join the Marine Corps - Hell you won't even make it through boot camp...

Story #8

The General made everyone remove their boots and socks prior to the 10 mile forced march home...

Story #9

The Crucifixion of Christ

Leadership Stories #10

Risk Based Decision Making - What's in it for ME!

Leadership Stories #11

Using Ethics in Decision Making

Story #12

Control the Outcome! - An Experience I had in Okinawa.

Story #13

Why Running?

Story #14

Meeting the Budget!

Story #15

My Marine Corps Experience.

Story #16

Marine Corps Guard Duty.

Story #17

The Unreasonable Request

Story #18

The Perfect Employee or Wife

Story #19

The Employee Sunk Her Own Ship

Story #20

Integrity Under the True Test – Daniel in the Lions Den

Story #21

Could you have crossed the line in the dirt at The Alamo?

Story #22

He was under the influence of alcohol but he was a good employee!

Story #23

Tornado! The day I had to help look for a missing young boy named Tommy!

Marine Corps

Story #24

I lived for Meal Time in Marine Corps Boot Camp

Story #25

Dads Must Be Leaders

Story #26

Improving your Ability To Lead - A never ending process!

Story #27

Executive Leadership Training - Do you need it?

Story #28

Coaching and Mentoring - Can it really help?

Story #29

Negotiation Training - Why do I need that?

Story #30

The Day to Day Life of Having an Adult Son With Schizophrenia Disorder!

Story #31

When Jesus Said Follow Me – They Left Everything!

Story #32

Dennying Jesus!

Story #33

Man Does Not Live By Bread Alone!

Story #34

Are You a Doubting Thomas?

Story #35

God Couldn’t Join the Church Either

Story #36

Noah Faced 100 Plus Years of Ridicule!

Determination Is the Key To Success

This leadership story reinforces that determination is a huge factor in success. It also stresses that at times determination takes courage. The type of courage you don’t know you have until you are forced to discover it. I hope that you enjoy the story.

Part of the training I received in Marine Corps boot camp involved fighting another Marine with a pugil stick. Understand that the Marine you were matched up against wasn’t necessarily the same weight or height as you. In my case the Marine I was put up against looked like he carried around cars prior enlisting in the Marine Corps. He was big and strong and I was tall and skinny!

For those of you that do not know what pugil sticks are they are basically a completely padded club with two places in the middle to grasp your hands onto. When I went to boot camp back in 1975 the padded portion was not all that padded. We were also allowed to wear a football helmet with a face guard. Again, the football helmet we wore looked nothing like the football helmets you see today.

I began by telling you that this leadership story was about determination. Determination can be motivated by many things such as pride, shame, love, and in my case all out fear of getting my head taken off by the giant that was coming at me with the full intent of doing so. Never underestimate the power of fear if used correctly.

Prior to being sent into the circle of what I was sure would be certain defeat and a whole lot of pain the Drill Instructor was providing me with well meaning guidance. His carefully chosen words pierced through me like a knife. I believe they were something like this, “If you don’t win I will make you pay!” I’m sure he must have given me much more instruction but that is all that stuck in my mind. The bad news was that I knew the giant Marine on the other side was receiving the same exact guidance from the Drill Instructor sending him in.

As the time was rapidly approaching that I would be sent into battle against what must have been the biggest Marine I had ever seen I was trying to recall the combat training we had just received. Was it stabbing thrusts then cross cuts or cross cuts then stabbing thrusts? Was I supposed to charge him or wait for him to charge me? Yes, I was in big trouble.

As leadership stories go this one has a moral to it and that is that one should never under estimate their desire to survive when pushed to their limits. I have no problem telling anyone that I was afraid. I know that Marines are not supposed to be afraid, but I was afraid. Knowing that I would be taking hits to my head and body that would surely cause me great pain, and maybe worse knock me completely unconscious had me very afraid.

The time had come. The Drill Instructor put his hand on my back and pushed me very hard toward the center of the circle. I believe he sent me off with those same words of comfort he barked out earlier, “If you don’t kick his butt I will kick yours!”

As I charged into the center of the circle I forgot everything I was taught and instinct took over. I let out an earth shattering battle cry from the deepest most inner parts of my gut. I ran toward him as fast as I possibly could, trying to surprise him since everyone else entered cautiously. Instead of swinging or thrusting my pugil stick I just held it diagonal across my chest and slammed into him causing him to fall backward onto the ground. As he hit the ground I just began swinging my pugil stick and striking him in the head as many times as I possibly could.

After several strikes to the head a Drill Instructor grabbed me and pulled me off of him. I had done it! I had beaten the giant of a Marine and I wasn’t even sure how I did it. I know it wasn’t the combat training since I had broken all the rules. I know it wasn’t because I was stronger, because I wasn’t even close to as strong as he was. It must have been the overwhelming fear of pain and losing that drove me to win. Fear is a huge motivator.

Leadership stories are a great way of teaching lessons that would be hard to do in any other way. Every leadership story has a point to be made and in this leadership story it was determination. Not necessarily the determination to win, but just to survive.

Guest Post

The Importance Of Good Leadership Stories

I've always been told that education is the key to success; and that's right, I suppose. Yet, if that really is the case then why is it that the least intelligent of my leadership group is always the most successful? I know that statement seems rather arrogant. Thing is, I know I'm smarter than Mr. X-Annoy Me because I have at least two more degrees - that's smarter!

So, why is Mr. X always far more successful? Why does he get the new Mercedes and me land up with the broken-down Mini Cooper? The answer lays in our leadership stories, or rather my lack of leadership stories. Truth is, climbing the corporate ladder doesn't always lie in IQ but rather in people skills.

I am an introvert, a person who stands in the back with the pointer and shy smile. Mr. X is a persuasive extrovert. He stands up front with a suave smile and big grin. He has leadership stories that will only boost his next conquest. I, unfortunately, have follower stories that only drown my chance of promotion.

It's ironic really. The only way to gain more leadership stories is by having those initial persuasive stories. The stories that tell of you making important decisions that influence the movement of the project. It doesn't matter if you are the brains behind the machine, that isn't stylish enough.

Here I am, hitting middle-age and still standing in the back with stories that pale in comparison to anyone else's. I know I should step forward and take some initiative, but my smile isn't as dazzling as the others. My numbers may be better crunched, but who wants a story that involves accounts? Leadership stories should involve drinks after work instead of erasers flipping out of a jacket pocket.

Again - I will be adding additional short leadership stories from time to time - that I hope you enjoy.

Thank you and May God Bless You!

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