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5 Keys to Leadership Greatness in Martial Arts

Lesson 51 Module 4

With the new year around the corner, now is the time for reflection and goal-setting. As martial arts instructors and school owners, we are leaders in our community, but there are always things we can do to improve. With that in mind, here are five keys to leadership greatness identified by retired Air Force Reserve Maj. Gen. William A. Cohen, now a professor of leadership at California State University:

1. Maintain Absolute Integrity.
When Leonard Roberts become CEO of Arby's, the fast food chain was struggling. He turned it around by promising more service, support and money to his franchisees. When Arby's owner disagreed and refused to pay bonuses, Roberts resigned in protest and was eventually fired. He survived that firing (and a subsequent firing as CEO of Shoney's for a similar stand) to take the reins of Tandy Corp., largely because of his renown in the franchise world. "You cannot maintain your integrity 90 percent and be a leader," Roberts says. "It has to be 100 percent."

2. Know Your Stuff.
Not yet 30 by the time he directed "Jaws," Steven Spielberg was already a self made man. Rejected twice by the University of Southern California's film school, Spielberg simply took over an abandoned trailer at Universal Studios and cranked out a short film. The studio present signed him to a seven year contract because Spielberg proved that he knew his stuff.

3. Declare Your Vision.
In fewer than 25 words, can you recite how your organization makes money and where you plan to be in five years? "Most companies fail in their growth because they don't have a vision," says former Southwest Airlines CEO Howard Putnam. "When you have a vision and someone comes to you with an idea, you can hold it up to the vision and ask, 'Does it fit? If not, don't bother me.'"

4. Take Care of Your People.
Mark Peters worked as director of operations at a Florida fire alarm company. Peters oversaw five managers, four of whom held college degrees. The one who didn't, Irv, became Peters' go-to man, but he earned far less than the other four because of the company's bias toward degreed employees. Peters wound up pleading Irv's case to the company president. He got Irv the raise which strengthened Irv's loyalty to him.

5. Expect Positive Results.
Start by turning disadvantages into advantages. In the early 1900's, steel magnate Andrew Carnegie commissioned a reporter named Napoleon Hill to research success. One of Hill's discoveries: hidden within every disadvantage or obstacle lies an equally powerful opportunity. Successful leaders look for those opportunities.

Can you find ways to apply these five laws to the way you run your school, manage your team and teach your students?

Pen