John C. Maxwell, Laws of Leadership
John C. Maxwell is arguably the foremost writer and public speaker on leadership in the world today. These are brief excerpts from his writings and presentations. His most widely-read work is “The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership” available at local or on-line bookstores.
Five Myths About Leadership:
1.The Management Myth. Management can maintain direction. Influential leadership is what changes the direction of an organization toward positive change.
2. The Entrepreneur Myth. People may be buying what somebody is selling, but they are not necessarily buying into his leadership or vision.
3. The Knowledge Myth. Mental superiority does not necessarily equate to leadership.
4. The Pioneer Myth. The one in front is not necessarily the leader. The leader is the one with the vision that people want to follow.
5. The Position Myth. Maxwell quotes Stanley Huffty, “It’s not the position that makes the leader; it’s the leader that makes the position.”
21 Laws of Leadership
1. The Law of
Your leadership is like a lid or a ceiling on your organisation. Your church or business will not rise beyond the level your leadership allows. That’s why when a corporation or team needs to be fixed, they fire the leader.
2. The Law of
Leadership is simply about influencing people. Nothing more, nothing less. The true test of a leader is to ask him to create positive change in an organisation. If you cannot create change, you cannot lead. Being a leader is not about being first, or being an entrepreneur, or being the most knowledgeable, or being a manager. Being a leader is not just holding a leadership position. (“It’s not the position that makes a leader, but the leader who makes a position.”) Positional leadership especially does not work in volunteer organisations. The very essence of all power to influence lies in getting the other person to participate. “He who thinks he leads , but has no followers, is only taking a walk.”
3. The Law of
Leadership is learned over time. And it can be learned. People skills, emotional strength, vision, momentum, and timing are all areas that can and should be learned. Leaders are always learners.
4. The Law of
Anyone can steer the ship, but it takes a leader to chart the course. Vision is defined as the ability to see the whole trip before leaving the dock. A leader will also see obstacles before others do. A leader sees more, sees farther, and sees before others. A navigator (leader) listens – he finds out about grassroots level reactions. Navigators balance optimism with realism. Preparation is the key to good navigation. “It’s not the size of the project, it’s the size of the leader that counts.”
5. The Law of
Hutton was America’s most influential stock market analyst. When he spoke, everyone listened. When real leaders speak, people automatically listen. Conversely, in any group or church, you can identify the real leaders by looking for those who people listen to. According to Margaret Thatcher, “being in power is like being a lady – if you have to tell people you are, you aren’t.” (p45) Tips for a Positional leader – like a newly appointed minister – who wants to become a REAL leader… look for the existing real leaders and work to have influence there. Factors involved in being accepted as a new real leader include character, building key relationships, information, intuition, experience, past success. and ability.
6. The Law of
Trust is the foundation for all effective leadership. When it comes to leadership, there are no shortcuts. Building trust requires competence, connection and character.
7. The Law of
People naturally follow people stronger than themselves. Even natural leaders tend to fall in behind those who they sense have a higher “leadership quotient” than themselves.
8. The Law of
Leaders evaluate everything with a Leadership bias. Leaders see trends, resources and problems, and can read people.
9. The Law of
Leaders attract people like themselves. Who you are is who you attract. (Mmmm… I thought like poles were meant to repel!) Handy hint: “Staff” your weaknesses. If you only attract followers, your organisation will be weak. Work to attract leaders rather than followers if you want to build a truly strong organisation.
10. The Law
You must touch the heart before you ask people to follow. Communicate on the level of emotion first to make a personal connection.
11. The Law
of the Inner Circle.
A leader’s potential is determined by those closest to him. “The leader finds greatness in the group, and helps the members find it in themselves.” (p113)
12. The Law
Only secure leaders give power to others. Mark Twain said, “Great things can happen when you don’t care who gets the credit.” (p127). Another point to ponder… “Great leaders gain authority by giving it away.”
13. The Law
It takes a leader to raise up a leader. Followers can’t do it, and neither can institutional programs “It takes one to know one, to show one, to grow one.” The potential of an organisation depends on the growth of its leadership.
14. The Law
People buy in to the leader first, then the vision. If they don’t like the leader but like the vision, they get a new leader. If they don’t like the leader or the vision, they get a new leader. If they don’t like the vison but like the leader, they get a new vision.
15. The Law
Leaders find a way for the team to win. “You can’t win WITHOUT good athletes, but you CAN lose with them.” p162). Unity of vision, diversity of skills plus a leader are needed for a win.
16. The Law
You can’t steer a ship that isn’t moving forward. It takes a leader to create forward motion.
17. The Law
Activity is not necessarily accomplishment. We need to learn the difference. “A leader is the one who climbs the tallest tree, surveys the entire situation, and yells “Wrong Jungle!”” (p176) If you are a leader, you must learn the three “Rs”... a) what’s Required b) what gives the greatest Return c) what brings the greatest Reward.
18. The Law
A leader must give up to go up. Successful leaders must maintain an attitude of sacrifice to turn around an organisation. One sacrifice seldom brings success. As he worked to turn around the Chrysler Corporation, Lee Iacocca slashed his own salary to $1 per year.”When you beome a leader, you lose the right to think about yourself.”
19. The Law
When to lead is as important as what to do and where to go. Only the right action at the right time will bring success.
20. The Law
of Explosive Growth.
To add growth, lead followers. To multiply growth, lead leaders. “It is my job to build the people who are going to build the company.”
21. The Law of
A leader’s lasting value is measured by succession. “Leadership is the one thing you can’t delegate. You either exercise it – or abdicate it.”