The greatest leader I have ever known is a man named Brian Klemmer. I met Brian years ago through a mutual friend, and his story has always been an inspiration to me. He is a perfect example of a true leader. Brian achieved this capability completely by accident. Originally Brian worked for an empowerment company, giving speeches and lecturing about personal growth and breaking through our emotional barriers. What Brian didn’t know was that people were moved by what he said, and it seemed anyway, that he had a “gift.
” This “gift” is the same thing that natural leaders are born with. It is the difference between talking to a group and talking with a group. The difference between people listening and people hearing. This ability is what separates leaders from the pack. Brian has the ability to get people’s attention. He is not the best speaker, the most exciting person to watch or even the most knowledgeable, but there is something about him. Something that moves people, many people, to make the world a better place.
In Brian’s empowerment job he was part of a program with the state of Hawaii that helped inmates get to the root of their issues and help them deal with their anger. The murder rate among prisoners that one prison dropped from roughly one per month to one per three year span. (I have not been able to verify this information exactly but it was quoted to me and as astonishing as it is, is close to 100% accurate if not 100%. ) At this time Brian realized that people were listening, even those who had nothing to prove and no one to prove it to.
He questioned his mentor as to why people weren’t holding these sessions across the United States to help more inmates and he was told that leaders and managers are different. Anyone can train to be a manager, but leaders cannot be made, they are born. With that in mind, Brian opened his own company, Klemmer and Associates and began helping a few people find their inner strength, overcome hurdles and make the world a better place. He did run a motivational seminar however. What Brian did was find those leaders, those diamonds in the rough, and build a company and spread his message to everyone.
He did not focus on making millions, but instead he focused on people. He knew a secret. He knew that if he helped enough people get what they wanted, they would help him get what he wanted, and ultimately the world would be a better place. He took the “lecture” out of the lectures and let people talk freely, and openly and about anything. He created a safe place for people to think, to write and to speak. His seminars began to change the world. You see, he did something different. Because he was a leader, not a manager, he created groups of leaders.
These people entered his camps as “diamonds in the rough”, but left setting up charities, companies and overcoming obstacles they didn’t even know existed. The result was overwhelming. Brian’s style, and the style of everyone he coaches is similar, although certainly slightly different from person to person. He forges strong, confident, compassionate people where once unsure people stood. The main difference between leaders and managers is that managers can go through the motions, read the books and take the classes. They can do all that and still never earn the respect of their peers. Simply put, a leader is that motion.