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Mick Ukleja, Founder And President Of LeadershipTraq
November 6, 2012 - Leadership is a critical management skill marked by social influence through support of others in getting things done. Leadership consultant Mick Ukleja understands well the power of this skill.
The author, consultant, philanthropist and leadership expert has been inspired by leaders his whole life. It led Ukleja to pursue a bachelor's degree in philosophy, a master's in Semitic languages and a doctorate in theology. He established a church in Orange County, where he served as a pastor for 20 years, before founding LeadershipTraq, a consulting firm based in Long Beach. He hosted a branch of the firm called LeadershipTraq Televised, a cable talk show structured in an interview format profiling outstanding leaders in Southern California.
Ukleja is the co-founder of the Ukleja Center for Ethical Leadership, housed in the college of business administration at California State University, Long Beach.
Established in 2005, the center offers training to students to integrate ethics in all fields of study, and research stipends to professors who come up with ways to add ethical teachings to curriculum. Ukleja was the first governing chair of the nonprofit and remains a member of the center's governing board.
He is also the chairman of the board of trustees for The Astronauts Memorial Foundation, an organization that sponsors the national Space Mirror Memorial and provides technology training to educators. The foundation is housed at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
In 2008, Ukleja published his first book, "Who Are You? What Do You Want? Four Questions That Will Change Your Life." Ukleja has since co-authored two other books, "The Ethics Challenge: Strengthening Your Integrity in a Greedy World," published in 2009, and "Managing the Millennials: Discover the Core Competencies for Managing Today's Workforce," published in 2010. He also served as a featured speaker at the 2012 TEDx SoCal event in Long Beach.
In the following interview with the Business Journal, Ukleja discusses his role as a leadership consultant, addresses the challenges of generational diversity in the workplace and offers advice to current and future leaders on how to unleash success and discover happiness.
LBBJ: When did you realize that you wanted to be a leadership consultant?
Ukleja: I've been involved in leadership my whole life. When I was a pastor of a church, I noticed that one of the great ways to build bridges into the community was in the area of leadership. Everybody needs leadership. They are interested in leadership. So we started LeadershipTraq. It actually turned into a cable TV show, which I did for a number of years. I interviewed top leaders in every industry. I interviewed people like Ken Blanchard, Patrick Lencioni and John Wooden. In fact, I interviewed John Wooden on his 96th birthday, which was quite a thrill. He still had his fastball, which was great. I've interviewed Jim Kiltz, who was the CEO of Gillette. Those are the kinds of people I interviewed, so I got leadership perspectives from all different sectors. Leadership is important. Basically, leadership is influencing other people. Everybody is a leader because everybody influences others in some way, shape or form. The thing that really pushes my button is self-leadership, because if you can't lead yourself, you can't lead other people. That's what excited me about getting involved in leadership. You become a better person.
LBBJ: In your role with LeadershipTraq, what generational group tends to hire you most often to speak on individual empowerment and leadership, and why?
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