My Top Ten Leadership Influences

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I was reviewing the changes in my life over the last ten years and started to reflect back on the leaders that have influenced me. Recently I shared the great leaders I have worked for in the member section of Leadership, Life and Style  and I have honoured them there, but it’s time to honour and recognise the leaders from around the world who have influenced my leadership and the values I coach.

1. John C Maxwell

John is the author of the legendry book “21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership” and about 75 others I joined the John Maxwell team in 2012 after reading and studying John’s works since the 1990’s.  John’s values have resonated with me and his ease and simplicity of his message works. I have read much and at times the message gets diluted by complexity or text book-like language, but John’s messages are simple enough for me to understand and his actions and exercises in his books add value. John has written over 75 books and is acknowledged as the number one leadership expert, and he sits atop my list for what he has brought into my life and my leadership.

2. Stephen M.R. Covey

The author of “Speed of Trust” and “Smart Trust”.  This choice may surprise some, but trust is one of those commodities that is severely lacking in the world today. We are gradually becoming nations of cynics and mistrusting of many. “Speed of Trust” demonstrates the reasons why companies should embrace trust as examples abound of quicker and more efficient companies built on it. Smart Trust details how to make it work in the real world, moving away from blind trust and mistrust and working with smart trust.

3. Stephen R Covey

The author of “7 Habits of Highly Successful People”, “The 8th Habit” and “The 3rd Alternative” amongst others. While passed on, Stephen Covey will live on and build leaders around the world. 7 Habits is a “must get in your hands” book and the more people who read that book, and apply the principles, the better the world must get. I frequently masterminded this book with a mate, Court Taylor and those sessions and the learnings from them live on. My advice is to get a copy and share your learnings and actions with a friend.

4. Steve Maraboli

This one may surprise many as Steve is known for his empowering words and books. But his leadership influence is driven from his authentic self and he is a trusted confidant of many companies.  His words and purpose is to provide people with the tools of becoming their greatest self, and it stands to some reason that the same attributes can be utilised firmly to help you become the greatest leader. A deep caring humanitarian, inspiring author of best selling books the latest being “Unapologetically You“, take his words and wisdom and apply the philosophy to your leadership and you will be surprised how far you can go. He is also the founder of an advanced coaching tool, “Psycho-Neuro-Actualisation” which is rapidly gaining traction around the world.

5. Dan Rockwell

From a true leadership influence perspective, it doesn’t get better than Dan. He runs the Leadership Freak blog and aims to empower leaders 300 words at a time. Daily. Leaders can be busy, but even the busiest leader can aim to bring 300 words of empowerment into their day. He writes in bullet points and common sense, references often but provides his own slant and opinion. Leadership Freak is a daily must read for many leaders around the world, and is firmly ensconced in my daily agenda.

6    6.  MaryJo Asmus

      Another one of my favourites that come into my email. Mary is a writer, blogger, coach and consultant and her writings have warmed me considerably in the area of people and culture.  A leader is responsible for culture and Mary deals with concerns present today in a mater of fact and easily actionable way. A must read email once received and great clarity often in issues I face.

7. Simon Sinek

Start with Why” and “Leaders Eat Last”. I almost feel like I don’t have to say anything else. We all have something to learn from Simon, whether it is about finding and working through our purpose or whether it is the real servitude behind leadership. Simon has opened the eyes of many new and upcoming leaders and breathed life into our next generation of leaders. For that we should all be thankful. Take the time to read and apply the Simon Sinek formula.

8 Dan McCarthy

Accessibility is a key if you wish to be an influencer and thought leader. Dan accomplishes this with his Great Leadership site. He blogs and writes and collaborates and is the Director of Executive Development Programs at Paul College of Business and Economics at the University of New Hampshire. His blog is ranked in the best leadership blog lists annually. An influencer outside of his sphere and one that uses common sense and common language to convey strong points.

9. Kevin Eikenberry

Again, another who’s emails I get regularly. Known prominently for ‘From Bud to Boss” Kevin assesses and reviews leadership with a slant of improvement both of life and your work outcomes. Common sense approach and simple language ensures that the lessons are readily applied. He runs programs through his company and effectively deal with culture, communication and learnings to grow as a leader.

10. Scott Fay /Ed Decosta / Paul Martinelli / Melissa West / Roddy Gailbraith / Christian Simpson

I cannot complete my top ten influencers without recognising the impacts the teachers from the John Maxwell team have provided me and the entire team of over 3400 coaches worldwide with the team. My summaries will never do them justice, but I will try anyway.

Scott Fay is the author of “Discover Your Sweet Spot” one of the best books I have read with some simple, yet detailed strategies to driving the best version of you. “Ascend” is Ed Decosta’s recent book and it is a classic as Ed takes us on a journey to ascend to our greatest heights. Fantastic analogies and one that will keep you on your toes at times working through the reason behind them. Either way, you will love them.

Melissa has released her book “Your Daily Wow.Words of Wisdom that will Inspire, Energise and Empower you Every Day”, Paul is a renowned leader in the personal development while Christian is acknowledged as one of the leading teachers of coaching in the world. Roddy is renowned internationally in the public speaking and empowerment mentoring networks.

My access to this amazing team as a member of the John Maxwell team has brought this influence out, and I would recommend each if you were looking for inspiration mentoring or coaching.


We all have much to learn. And we all learn and grow in our own unique way. This ten have been major influences in my leadership journey and recognise them as such.

I am a firm believer in the saying, that it doesn’t matter what is “right or wrong” but what works. I have many influences as a Leadership Coach but the five listed above are my go to, people. The thoughts, opinions and values that resonate within me to take my leadership and coaching to the next level.

Leaders make things simple. The more we complicate, the more chance we have for error. Keeping it simple is one of the main influences I have. If you can keep it simple and easily understood, your people, your team and your business will flourish.
Take my challenge, take the time to honour the great leaders you have worked with and then detail your greatest influences in the leadership world. Share if you wish.

Tony Curl
Leadership, Life and Style

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Tony Curl

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