Leadership Tips from Marine Veteran and Entrepreneur TShane Johnson

by Michael Satterfield 

TShane Johnson has worn a lot of hats, veteran, entrepreneur, best-selling author, world-record-holding athlete, and motivational speaker. He has gone from homeless to a serial entrepreneur and author, being featured in Forbes, Fox Business, and USA Today. In these tumultuous times, I thought it would be great to share an interview I did TShane about what it takes to be a leader today and how we can all become better leaders at work, home, and in our own communities.


The world seems chaotic today, what does leadership look like in today’s world?

You cannot place leadership into one bucket. I believe a leader is someone who you can entrust to make those bigger decisions, will execute by example and lead from the front. Others like the servant leadership style where they are nurtured and given ample opportunity to engage in the decision making process. Leadership isn’t a one size fits all platform.


Do you think most leaders are born or made?

Made! As iron sharpens iron, we as humans are constantly evolving into different forms of ourselves. Life has a way of handing us certain things that allow us the free will to make a decision on which direction we wish to go. The “choice” of being a leader is on you. Personally, I believe the second we become parents we “ALL” become leaders in some way or another.


Why do you think we are seeing so much tribalism today and why are leaders failing to bring people together?

Well, once we see OZ behind the curtain it is hard to go back to believing that someone, i.e. a LEADER, will be, and is actually a true leader. We can only speak as leaders on how much we are going to do something but at some point, we will have to SHOW. I think people have lost hope that the great and powerful OZ is real. In the Marine Corps, we would say, "Everyone wants to do Marine Corps shit until it's TIME to do Marine Corps shit." Leadership is not sexy or glamorous. It SUCKS! However, it is essential to make a world and life better for others out of self-sacrifice.


Is our education system designed to create leaders, or does it tend to push people towards compliance? If so how do we overcome that?

Again, I don't have that one size fits all answer. To some kids the system allows them to actually EAT a solid meal, to others, it is to escape a bad home life. For the sake of answering the questions I would say no, it does not create leaders. The first step of leadership starts with the parents. We should not blame a system for our lack of leadership at home. I always enjoy the little saying, “If we all wash our own dishes there won't be any dishes to wash.”


What are some daily things we can do to become better leaders?

Keep your WORD and follow through. People are let down by so many people telling them they are going to do something and then they do not do it. Some people would disagree with me, but I do not think it is a good idea to show weakness. I know, I know! It’s the COOL thing now to show how vulnerable you are. But, imagine if the President of the United States starting crying on TV, telling us how stressed he is and that he cannot make it through the day! People would eat him alive! I think it is important for leaders to stay strong, diligent and maintain bearing at all times. For example, if my daughter hurts herself and she sees me panic then she will panic more. I must maintain calm controlled emotions, let her know that everything will be okay and that daddy has it covered.


Does being a good leader mean understanding that at some points you shouldn’t be the one leading?

I think knowing your strengths is important. Finding people around you that can do a better job is the perfection of leadership. I mean making that decision is being a leader. I also think being good at a job or task doesn’t necessarily make you a good leader.


What are your top 3 leadership books that inspired you?

Well, first would be the Marine Corps Leadership Manual. Marine Corps leadership is by far the best I have ever seen. Second,  Leaders Eat Last, and third, Extreme Ownership.


Tell us about your work with Veterans charities.

Over the past five years, I have run over 7,000 miles across the U.S. setting world records, speaking in 40 plus cities, and raising tons of money for Veteran nonprofits and organizations to support the Veteran community. I did this all while running three companies that do 30 million a month in sales and writing four books. I say all of this because my work for Veteran charities is to show that we as LEADERS can make a massive shift in the world by leading from the front and executing at high levels, just like we did in the military. Money helps the organization sustain to keep the lights on but motivation, leadership, and execution give them the fuel to take over the world. This year I am breaking the world record for the most pushups in 12 hours for over 19,000, which has not been broken since 1989. I have not chosen the charity yet but I will be looking for partners to help support the efforts, hopefully, raise funds and inspire others to DO and BE more.

You can learn more at tshaneinspires.com.

PHOTO CREDIT: RAYMOND THARALDSON

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