business success

Influencer? Leader? Pretender? I bet you think you are …

Influencer? Leader? Pretender? As part of my leadership training I ask, which of these are you? I have found that most people are pretenders yet they consider themselves Leaders.

What’s the difference?

An influencer is someone who has ideas, can move things around on occasion, help leaders lead by becoming part of the leaders’ movement. An influencer follows the lead of the leader and in so doing becomes a noticed part of the leadership team and therefore carries influence in the decision making by the group and considered by the leader to be an important part of the leadership team.

An influence may lead on occasion but is typically valued by the leader for the way they accomplish tasks, how they help the group accomplish tasks and how they are visible and supportive of the leader.

But influencers come and go simply because so many leaders do not understand the dynamics of their own group. Many times the strongest influencers will be the core of a leaders success. If that leader does not recognize the true influencer of a group and selects their own influencer, the leader may find themselves at odds with their team or they may find their team fluctuating in how quickly they accomplish a task because a selected influencer typically does not have the following of the true influencer. In this instance the team will struggle, talk and debate, areas that the leader wants to accomplish simply because the influencer is not a strong enough personality to convey the leaders’ message.

The true influencer foes not have to apply any pressure or convey any power but typically simply leads under the guise of accomplishment. Leading by example.

On the other hand is the pretender. The pretender is that person who wants to be a leader. Probably just wants to be the influencer and takes on the pseudo-guise of the influencer. Thinks that by being on the leader’s elbow or their go-to person for requests that they will be seen as a leader themselves.

The pretender is the one standing and talking with people while the influencer and the team do all of the work around them. The pretender doesn’t even recognize the team or the accomplishment because they value their own input, their own placement in any environment and place themselves to be seen.

The pretender seldom is involved in the actual accomplishment but almost always tries to take credit for the job well done and never notices the snide remarks or rolling eyes as they often get rewarded by poor leaders who only see the pretender as the pretender wants to be seen.

The problem with a leader recognizing the pretender as the influencer of their group or organization is that it undermines both the influencer and the team in a negative way. It creates demotivation within the group and eventually a result is lack of motivation by the team because the influencer will finally step back from their support role of the leader and in doing so, open the pretender to need to take over the role which is completely unsupported by their team.

When the true influencer steps back a leader will notice the change, not only in the group dynamics but also in the accomplishment style, speed or quality of the group work. The pretender does not have the support or vision of the influencer.

It is crucial, as a leader, that you become aware of these differences.

Examples of the influencer versus the pretender are that when a job needs to be done, the influencer leads the team in its accomplishment while the pretender will talk to other weaker and less accomplishing members of the team while the actual work is taking place all around them. Then, in the final stage of the work or development, the pretender will try to take responsibility for the accomplishment by going to the leader to announce how the project is or has been completed before the influencer is even done doing the job.

Here then, is the difference between a leader and a great leader. The great leader recognizes the real accomplishment and who accomplished it, while a weaker leader may not only reward the pretender but accommodate them through some manner of recognition and promoting the wrong members of their team.

Now the problem with this article is that the pretender does not even have enough leadership in them to recognize that this article has been about them, while the leader and the influencer are both nodding and smiling at the thought that the pretender missed it altogether.

I am Steve Sapato, Leadership and self-improvement expert.

Hoping you have an extraordinary day.



How to get GREAT employees

Why is it that some managers seem to always find good employees? Why are those few managers so blessed and why do so many others struggle to find those good employees.

That answer is in the answer to this question: when do you start hiring your next employee?

What was your immediate response? Was it, as soon as I know someone is leaving? Was it as soon as we get the permission from the boss or HR ?

The real answer is, you start hiring your next employee as soon as you hire this one.

Yes, most of you agree. But how does this process work for you?

Each member of your team is dependent upon each other member of your team as well as upon the supervisors and managers of those teams. Each member is given value and responsibility based upon how their team culture is developed. And based upon how you encourage and reward your team is how your team grows and how you will find your next great employee.

Many managers think they will find good employees and great employees from the talent pool that is either offered via their company or through agencies they utilize.

But the really great employees come from the recommendations of your current employees. It is their constant accolades and banter that tell others how good a place your department or organization is to work for. Great employees are always looking to work for great managers and companies that will promote and encourage their success.

It is how you treat all of your current employees that will bring you additional great employees. It is the words your current employees use to describe their organization and manager that have others waiting for an opening. The new employees coming to your department are because of the people that you make feel valued.

There are numerous methods and tactics that will help you become a great manager, because great managers are made not born, are gleaned from other Great Manager articles, additional books and further training.

Where you will find your next great employee will be from your own staff and the recommendations they make to other top quality potential employees.

Steve Sapato- the most famous unfamous speaker in America and trainer of Great Managers.

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What can you learn from the GM Firings? The culture of mediocrity~

Have you been keeping up on the “firings” of certain ‘key” personel by GM over design flaws and the deaths that happened because of this ‘negligence’?

If you read the materials coming out and all of the peripheral documentation it appears that GM and loads of employees knew about the flaws and potential outcomes for as long as eleven years. Yes, I said, eleven years. That makes the fifteen people fired merely pawns in the game of profit vs safety. It makes those fifteen the sacrificial lambs that are supposed to appease the government investigation and the quench the publics desire for results.

But what has really happened at GM? Why, if it takes eleven years to come to light, are we supposed to believe in anything GM again? Is GM really concerned with our safety? Should I risk my family on anything GM?

But let’s get past the issues of safety and products. Let’s get beyond brand loyalty and history.

What I really want to know is, will next years cars be any safer? Will I listen to the rhetoric of Cogressional hearings and ‘finding’ the culprits who are responsible for these aggregious errors that were ignored for almost eleven years? Will I eever really feel like GM has understood not only what happened but why it happened?

If you listen to GM leadership, they have instituted new committes, appointed new heads of new departments meant to address the issues that led to these errors and printed new posters to post all over the place to show the employees that there is a new atmosphere for addressing issues without repercussions.

And now I ask, will this fix their problem? Will this really address the issues that have kept people silent, babbling in frustration but secretive about the failure and potential catastrophic results these issues had on the familes who were killed?

And the answer is probably not. For what is troubling GM troubles a lot of companies both big and small and that is the culture we create in our companies. The culture we have created in our society. The  culture of look the other way, don’t get involved, don’t make waves, because all it will bring you is trouble and grief.

Look at your own organization and ask yourself, can people come to me with major issues about attitudes? Yes, peoples attitudes. For it is within your employees that your company exists. It is within the minds of your employees where your company culture resides. It is within the hearts and spirits of your employees where we find whether we can communicate with safety or fear. Can we bring up new ideas? Can we show criticism of existing things without fear or repercussions? Can your employees openly affect areas that are important?

And the important question is…  how do you know what they are feeling? When was the last time you openly solicited input from all employees and truly addressed these issues with the employees? Discussed them openly and responded to them.

I recently was involved with an organization where the CEO had an open blog where anyone could post a question. Everyone saw the question and everyone saw the response ny the CEO to each and every question. It was a great concept and it worked amazingly well. He sometimes even responded to the stupidly absurd questions that some people asked. And the results were amazing. Because everyone felt safe because it was so public.

Now I ask again, what can you learn from the GM firings?


Steve Sapato is a management trainer and coach and travels the country training up and coming managers and staff on how to be more effective in their dealings with people and employees. You can reach Steve at where the Q stands for Question and the L stands for Listen. Question everyone and everything and listen to the answers. If the answers make a lot of sense with no serious flaws maybe you should consider changing your opinion instead of trying to change theirs.

What are you teaching your people… great managers teach.

When you think of the great managers that you have ever worked for I will bet one of the things that made them great was how much you learned from them. Don’t misunderstand, learning what not to do because they were so terrible as a manager is not the same as really learning from a great manager.

But think back. what made each manager great?

I think one of the saddest things I have learned over the years of training people is that when I ask this question more than half of my students will say they have never had someone they considered a great manager. I look at them incredulously and ask again but they will insist that they have never had someone they considered a great manager with many saying they haven’t even had someone they considered good.

What a sad state of affairs when so many companies have not sufficiently trained their management staff to give their employees a great managerial experience, enhance productivity, increase profits and make peoples lives better.

Remember that Mental Prosperity is your key to success and how you teach your people in the methods of Mental Prosperity will determine how you are thought of and how you will be remembered.

When I train managers I invite them to exceed their own expectations. I invite them to read fifteen minutes each day on a book on managing. I invite them to listen to some great masters on how to treat people. I invite them to sign up for Quotes Of the Day so they can gain additional insights into many different areas of their lives. I invite them to share the best of the best with their staff, to use quotes at meetings and in memos. I invite them to be specifically open to what their staff says from the feedback about these quotes. I invite them to place a suggestion box and encourage their staff to anonymously submit their thoughts about how the quotes they use affect their staff and how the staff thinks they as the managers stand up to the scrutiny of those quotes they are proponents of.

I invite the managers to offer incentives to their people for reading books about managing people, treating people, communicating with people.

You as a great manager can have a huge affect upon your staff, how they treat their coworkers, their staff and even their families! You are set up to be their teacher and everyone knows how one great teacher can change a students life. And you have that power!

Will you step up to use it is the only question. I hope you will.

Blessings in your greatness.

Were you trained to become a manager? Most managers are not… what you need to know…

Were you trained to become a manager?

Did you go to management classes taught by an outside vendor? because 90% of all in-house management training is taught by someone who has limited management training themselves and merely inherited the Training Position.

This in itself is not a bad thing but because of the nature of most companies we are all limited in our knowledge and our abilities to perform or excel outside of the scope of our experience. That means they can only teach you as much as they know. But we all know that each generation teaches less than they know so you aren’t even being trained via what they know but only what they can pass on to you.

What most companies desire is to achieve excellence in their organizations. Most understand that this excellence is achieved by utilizing their greatest resource – people. And most companies understand that the greatest loss of productivity is through the mismanagement of people and the under utilization of their abilities and skills.

Now I ask again, who trained you and what additional training are you achieving on your own?

I write this management blog for the mere pleasure of helping struggling managers learn more about how to get the most out of themselves and out of their people. I hope you enjoy reading it and forward it on to your peers.

But let’s talk about what is really happening. If you are relying on a simple afternoon training class or some video training you were required to take then you are missing the most important part of management training. The interaction. The ability to ask questions in and of a person who has suffered through many of the things you are trying to figure out. Who has gained knowledge and background after years of managing as well as taking courses from others who we can learn from. The Great Management Trainers are never boring because we have been forced to set through hours and hours of terrible management meetings, hours and hours of boring meetings because the managers didn’t know how or understand the purpose of those meetings. And we have put ourselves out there to learn from other trainers and learned that boring is not only bad but ridiculous!

Now you need to step up your game. You want the bosses to notice you? Then you need to be noticeable! You need to start showing them the results that only a great manager can achieve. And you can start that process by self training. Don’t wait for your company or your bosses to train you. Don’t wait! Take on the leadership you want by learning to be the leader they need.

Read some of my past blogs and then follow the new ones and encourage your bosses and other managers to hire a GREAT management trainer (hint hint nudge nudge) to come in and start the process to make your company into the successful and powerful organization they want it and you need it to be.

I am Steve Sapato with and I have been training corporate managers for over twenty years.


Do you believe you are a great manager? 3 questions to find out…

A study shows that 50% of all staff rate their manager as average while 20% rate their manager as good, 2% rate their managers as great and 25% rate their manager as fair or poor.

Do you know which category you are in?

Most managers when polled believe they are in the great manager category. Isn’t that interesting? Where did you think you were in that poll?

Here are eight questions to help you discover where you might be rated.

1) Write down the business related method that your people most readily use to connect within the office.

What that means is do your people connect with other employees by how volunteer to help out? Do they connect with a physical connection like putting their hand on the other persons shoulder when they talk? Do they use small gifts and bring candies or food into the office to share? Do they just spend time chatting at another’ desk or cubicle? Do they compliment their coworkers and how they might do their jobs?

You as a great manager should know the method your people utilize  to connect and if you don’t you probably need to pay closer attention before you claim to be a Great Manager.

2) When your employees have a situation and you need to discuss something with them what is your method of doing that?

It is a proven fact that when employees are called to the the managers office they immediately think it’s a negative situation and they suffer increased anxiety especially if they are notified to come in at a specific time. Then they internalize those emotions the entire time they are waiting and their productivity as well as their attitude suffers the entire time they are waiting. So if you want to talk to your employees it is the recommended method to approach them at their work station and if a more private setting is required to take them aside without the march to the ‘principals office’.

To be a Great Manager you need to understand how your employees feel and make them feel comfortable even in uncomfortable situation.

3) When there is a conflict between employees how do you handle this conflict?

So many times the managers try to get involved by telling them not to have this conflict. To get over it. To put it aside and just get along. But the real answer lies in the true approach to handling conflict. Find out the real reason it is happening. Take them both into a room, sit them down and say, no matter what you say it all stays in this room. Now, let’s find out what’s really bothering you both. Hash it all out. If you think you need an HR person in there with you, bring them! But it should be simple… finding out their differences, ironing out those things and seeing if you can help the deal with their situation.

That then is the true test of a Great Manager.

More things about what makes managers great will be coming next week. Just subscribe and get my next issue in your inbox and stop by http://www.mentalprosperityblog.comand see what else is happening.

Steve Sapato

Great Managers – Restaurant Addtn- How you can help your staff make more money

Have you been blessed by working for a great manager? Me too. I have learned many great styles and techniques as well as ‘catch phrases’ that endure time. I would love to hear yours so please comment and let me know. And pass this on to help others! One of the phrases that have stuck in my head for 50 years now is ‘if you have time to lean, you have time to clean.’ I love that. I hated it at the time because it meant my boss wanted me to keep working! Now get ready to share yours, please.

I have the great pleasure recently of having someone I managed over thirty years ago come back into my life. She is now a great manager and as we talk she reminds me of things she has learned and recently she told me I was the inspiration for her helping her staff make more money.

Now don’t get me wrong, I have lots of techniques I use and train that I tell restaurants will increase their business by ten percent and sometimes double the tips their servers receive. It is why I travel and train. I know things! Surprise surprise.

But this one phrase I had long forgotten and my friend reminded me. She told me that her staff said that working her shift made them a lot more money than working for any other manager. By using one phrase she helped her people make more money. Would you like your staff to make more money?

Because that is what great restaurant managers do isn’t it? It is one of the reasons that Great Managers seldom have to look for a great staff because the staff tells their friends how great it is to work with you and they come and apply giving you a never ending supply of great staff while at other restaurants you hear, “I can’t find good help these days.”

If you have heard that, maybe this one phrase will help you solve that huge problem of getting good help!

Are you ready?

When your guests check out all you need to do is ask them – Did your server take good care of you today?

Wait, not done because it’s the next phrase that makes all the difference!

And of course they better be saying yes to that question or you had better be doing a lot more to make your guests happy.

When you ask, – Did your server take good care of you today – and they answer yes! Then the money maker reply is… – Did you take good care of your server?-

It’s innocuous, it doesn’t raise their hackles, it’s not pandering, it’s not offensive in any way AND it makes your guests realize that you not only value them but you value your staff. And my great friend Toni Finch said her servers love working with her for many reasons (it’s why she is a great manager)but one reason they tell her is because she uses those two phrases together and they make her staff a lot more money!

What makes you a great manager? Lots and lots of things. This is just one small idea that will create a loyalty from your staff and also make them more money. And that is what drives many people today, show me the money~

I hope this tidbit makes you and your people a better place to work and a happier place to spend your time.

Would you like to learn more ways to increase your bottom line profits? Learn how to increase customer loyalty? Have great people standing in line to work for you?

I am Steve Sapato and I would love to train you and your staff so that all of those things can happen. Great Managers are made not born. – Now please leave your catch phrases here so we can all learn and grow.! Have an amazing year!