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7 Questions on Leadership with Mike Manazir

Name: Mike Manazir

Title: Rear Admiral (Retired), U.S. Navy

Organisation: Hidden Point Solutions, LLC

Mike Manazir served 36 years in the U.S. Navy and retired in 2017 as a Rear Admiral (Upper Half). As a naval aviator, Mike was qualified in the F-14 and the F-18 aircraft, flying 3750 fighter hours and conducting 1240 arrested landings during fifteen overseas deployments aboard aircraft carriers. A graduate of TOPGUN, Mike commanded a fighter squadron, two ships including the aircraft carrier USS NIMITZ, and a carrier strike group. Mike also completed five tours in the Pentagon.

Following retirement from the Navy, Mike accepted a position with The Boeing Company where he conducts liaison between the U.S. Navy and Boeing.

Mike has been married to Kelly for 41 years. They have two grown children.

Mike has published Learn How to Lead to Win; 33 Powerful Stories and Leadership Lessons in which he describes his own leadership journey through his Navy experience. His stories are applicable in civilian organizations and pursuits as much as in the military. Mike’s book is available on Amazon in all versions as well as an audio version, which Mike narrates himself. Further leadership content can be found on Mike’s website,

Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!

I hope Mike's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!


Jonno White

1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?

Remembering that it is not about you; not about your title. The secret to leading effectively is to lead from your heart. To become the human being people want to follow. The most challenging facet of that is to lead from your heart no matter what the circumstance, how stressful the environment is.

2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?

Through thirty-six years of service in the Unites Navy. First, I learned how to follow at the U.S. Naval Academy and then, through my career in the Navy, when given the opportunity to lead at increasing levels, to apply what I learned.

3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?

I wake up at 6:00 - 6:30 am and have coffee with my wife, relaxing with our dogs, then I'll either travel to work with The Boeing Company or sit down at my desk and start to work on leadership topics for my LLC. Two days a week, I play ultimate frisbee with a group from my company early in the morning. If not on a frisbee day, I'll take an hour at lunch and work out either at home or at work. At the end of the day, I'll check social media feeds. I try to go to bed at 9:00pm and before turning off the light, I read my current book (always paper, not a phone or device, and always non-fiction).

4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?

To remember what my emotional drivers are that trigger me in the workplace. I need to always be aware of myself and think actively about how to react in each work situation.

5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?

How to Win Friends and Influence People, Carnegie.

6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?

Do not lead with your title or position. Be the best human you can be so you can influence from your heart.

7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?

Well, I must say that I wrote a book called Learn How to Lead to Win (Amazon) that has 33 impactful and powerful stories from my naval career that answer your question. I don't have just one. I've been leading for more than 40 years.

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