Leading The Person

Leadership requires that we understand what motivates the people around us.

We have to know what they want, what they are striving towards, and whether what we want from them helps or prevents them from getting where they are ultimately going.

We need to know their internal motivations, their interests, and their goals.

We need to know why they are where they are, why they want or do not want to be there, and where they would rather be if they had the means and opportunity.

In order to motivate others to follow our lead, to assist us in our mission, and to help us to achieve our, ideally mutually beneficial, goals, we have to care about who they are, what they want, and why they want it.

And, we need them to know that we care about them and what they want.

We need them to know that we want them to be successful, that we want them to get where they are going, and that we want to help them achieve whatever goals they are striving for, even if, perhaps especially if, these things do not actually benefit us.

This is the difference between leading and managing or supervising.

Leadership requires empathy.

Without this vital component, we may be able to get others to do what we want for a while, but we will never be able to keep them on our team in the long run because their internal motivations, if they are at odds with our needs or demands, will eventually pull them away from us.


Holistic Budo: As it is in budo, so too it is in life. As it is in life, so too it is in budo.

Robert Van Valkenburgh is co-founder of Kogen Dojo Self Defense Academy where he teaches Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

All photos by Robert Van Valkenburgh unless otherwise noted.

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