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Leadership Article
Leadership Skills for Anyone: How Kermit Shared Five Leadership Secrets with the World
By Ed Sykes

Recently, I had the pleasure of attending the funeral of my friend Kermit. A pleasure, you ask? Yes, a pleasure and a honor, because it was a great celebration of Kermit's life and the passion and spirit he brought to living it.

Usually, when I go to funerals, the spiritual leader (pastor, minister, rabbi, cleric, etc.) goes on and on about the deceased, a person he barely knows; and maybe one or two friends or associates might say something about the deceased. Well, Kermit's funeral was special. The pastor spoke briefly, a singer sang a hymn, and then the pastor asked for comments from the audience. That’s when the funeral became really special. After one and a half hours later, over forty people had gotten up and shared their positive experiences and what Kermit meant to them. People from their 20's to well over 60-year-old people from different spiritual, ethnic, social, and economic backgrounds stood up to make comments. People who served with him in the Navy (Kermit retired as a Commander) stood up and spoke about how Kermit changed their lives.

There was story after story about how Kermit made the speakers overcome obstacles and made them believe they could do better, and did this with passion. Some of them were as follows:

  1. Past ballplayers talked about Kermit’s cowbell as a rallying cry at their ballgames.
  1. A woman told of having a flat tire on a busy roadway and Kermit, whom she didn’t know at the time, stopped and helped her fix the tire; and then they became friends.
  1. A businessperson talked about how Kermit volunteered his time to help him launch a business that is still going strong after ten years.
  1. A previous player described how he was motivated by Kermit to make something of himself. He went to college and is a very successful basketball coach teaching the same principles that Kermit taught him.
  1. A man explained that he was going through a divorce and bankruptcy and was thinking of committing suicide. Kermit heard about his troubles, called him, and helped him through these dark times. Now this person helps others through their challenging moments in life.

Wow! It moved me. Here are five leadership skills and success secrets Kermit shared with us. How can you apply them to become more successful and outstanding leaders?

  1. Leadership Skill:  What is Your Cowbell? Create Passion!
    Kermit truly enjoyed working with people to make them better. It was not just the cowbell, but the emotion and excitement he experienced when seeing other people succeed. The cowbell was just the tool that Kermit used to show his passion so that others became passionate. Let your passion show. Let people know that you are excited about their accomplishments, and the passion will multiple.
  1. Leadership Skill:  Expect the Best. Excellence Will Take Care of the Rest.
    It was said about Kermit that when meeting people, he never met a stranger. In his mind they were already someone he knew. Kermit always expected the best when interacting with people, and they eventually rose to his expectations.

    Expect the best out of people, and they will rise to your standards.

  1. Leadership Skill:  Understand So That You Are Understood
    Kermit’s conversations were always centered on understanding the other person. For all the years I knew him, I never knew he was a commander in the Navy. He didn’t make his title the focus of the conversation. You see, it wasn’t about him; it was always about the other person’s interests, needs, etc. Because of this, people naturally wanted to become involved in Kermit’s projects and help Kermit make other people successful.

    So my question is: As a leader, how well do you understand your employees?

    As a leader, take the time to understand their goals, wants, needs, hobbies, etc. The more you take time to understand them, the more your employees will want to help you succeed.

  1. Leadership Skill:  Give of Yourself
    Kermit always gave his time, energy, and passion without “keeping score.” In return, the people he helped not only helped him, but went on to make a difference in other people’s lives.

    Take the time to go the extra mile to see how you can help your employees, your team, and/or your organization without “keeping score.” Your employees will feel that you care, and then they will go to a new level of caring.

  2. Leadership Skill:  Share the Knowledge
    Kermit took the time to share his knowledge with others so that they become more successful. Whether it was coaching a sports team, helping a friend start a business, or sharing his experiences to get a person through a difficult time, Kermit took the time to share his knowledge with others. Because Kermit shared his knowledge, other people became more successful and they shared their knowledge with others so that they could be more successful.

    What special knowledge do you have that can help others succeed? Don’t hoard your knowledge, share it. By sharing your knowledge, you multiply yourself and become known as a developer of people. Your knowledge, once you share it, will live on after you are gone.

Apply these five leadership skills and create success in your business, with your team, in your community, and your life. Just like a leader like Kermit, you will also see instant results and develop your own leadership style.

Thanks for sharing, Kermit, and making the world a better place.

Suggested leadership reading:


Eight Leadership Techniques for Outstanding Teams

Seven Secrets to Being the Leader Everyone Wants to Follow

Five Secrets to Becoming the Perfect Employee That Everyone Wants – Part One

 Have You Appreciated Someone Today?

Nine Ways Johnny Carson Can Help You Run Outstanding Meetings

You Mean I Need to Promote Myself to Get a Promotion? 5 Promotion Secrets to Get the Job You Want!

Five Secrets to Gaining Credibility with Your Team for Outstanding Results

How Appetizing Is Your Feedback? (5 Steps to Giving Effective Feedback)

Ten Techniques for Motivating Others Through Chaos

10 Action Steps to Motivate Yourself to Great Accomplishments

Eight Ways to Motivate Part-Time Employees

Delegate to Accelerate Success (How to Prepare Yourself and Others for Success)

Appreciate to Motivate (The Key to Successful Team Building)

The Greatest Gift of All - The Gift of Empowerment

Leadership Secrets for Challenging Times

Words to Live By – Six Ways to Breathe Life into Your Day

Verbal Faux Pas – The Words You Use Can Empower or Confuse

Bite Your Tongue! 10 Ways to Be an Effective Listener

Five Secrets to “Thinking on Your Feet”

Ten Quick Tips for Outstanding Presentations

Dr. Seuss's "The Cat in the Hat" Will Help You Get Your Point Across! (Yes you can, here's the plan!)

How to Set Boundaries and Say No 



Want to learn the leadership skills to be an outstanding leader? Our Team Building, Life After Downsizing, How to Develop the Leader Within You, Time Management Skills to Achieve More, and How to Handle Workplace Stress and Master Your Life leadership management training programs can help you lead others to the next level.  Also learn more about leadership techniques on our Articles page.  Call us at 757-427-7032 or e-mail us at

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