In any employment situation where there are levels of command, there will necessarily be leaders at the very top. If that’s you, then this blog is the right place for you. However, the “Laws” that follow apply to those at any level of leadership. If you’re not a leader now, there’s only one way to become one – by learning how. Below I will go through the “21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership” as described by John C. Maxwell in his book of the same name. Maxwell is a significant voice in the realm of leadership, and an absolute authority over success in leadership roles. Take these laws into account, and you will flourish as a leader, not just as a boss.
Your ability to lead is the “lid” on your effectiveness, and that “lid” will directly affect the impact that you have on your organization, and the potential for it to succeed. The lower your ability to lead, the lower the “lid” on your effectiveness.
The ability to influence is directly related to whether you are able to get your team to participate. You are not a leader if no one is following you, and even if you “manage” well, it does not make you a leader.
This shows that what matters more than anything else is what you do over time, not at one given moment. It requires perseverance and dedication to become a leader, and that means following your own routine of self-improvement and positive change. We do not change without changing our habits.
An effective and cognizant leader looks at the potential outcome before making commitments for themselves and others. “Anyone can steer the ship, but it takes a leader to chart the course.”
When real leaders speak, others listen and pay attention. To see how a person became a leader, keep in mind the following:
A leader with good character builds trust with their followers. It’s the all-important foundation of leadership. To build trust, a leader must consistently show competence, connection, and character.
People will naturally follow someone in a leadership position who is stronger than themselves. If they do not trust you as a leader, they will not respect you or want to follow you.
Intuition separates great leaders from good leaders. They see everything with a “leadership bias” and instinctively know what to do. The good thing is that anyone is capable of developing and cultivating leadership intuition – everyone starts somewhere different.
As the saying goes “Birds of a feather flock together,” meaning that who you are is also who you will attract. You most likely share common ground with the people who follow you in several of these important areas:
True leaders touch a heart before they ask for a hand. The stronger the relationships and connection between individuals, the more likely the follower will actively want to help the leader. There are six keys to connection that Maxwell identifies:
A leader’s potential is determined by the people in their “inner circle,” that is, the people closest to them. In your group of employees, look for greatness and form bonds with strong individuals. There are five types of people that you should bring to your inner circle.
Secure leaders are able to give power to others, and that is how organizations will become more powerful. Only empowered people can reach their full potential. According to Maxwell, “I believe the greatest things happen only when you give others the credit. That’s the Law of Empowerment in action.”
It takes a leader to help other people become leaders. When a leader is able to help develop other leaders, they can:
The leader and their vision always go together – the two cannot be separated. By having a strong vision, the leader can encourage followers to believe in worthwhile causes. They must get followers to buy into them first in order for their vision to become a reality.
Leaders find ways for their team to win. There are three components to achieve victory:
Developing momentum creates forward progress. Concentrate on what you can do, not what you can’t, and celebrate victories of any size. “If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen.”
Emphasizes the importance of organization, and consistent activity as opposed to sudden accomplishment. The Pareto principle (also referred to as the 80/20 rule) states that roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. Keeping priorities in mind, also take into account the three Rs – required (what must be done), return (or ROI), reward (the potential reward/earning).
You have to give up to move up, and the true nature of leadership is sacrifice. “When you become a leader, you lose the right to think about yourself.”
Deciding when to lead is just as important as what to do and where to go. Only the right action at the right time will yield success.
There is a huge difference between leaders who develop leaders and leaders who develop followers. The ability to develop the right leaders is key.
A leader’s lasting value is measured by succession. A team of leaders is needed to succeed, so developing a successor is key, but you also must know when to walk away.
There you have it, folks! John C. Maxwell’s (condensed) 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership. His book goes into much more significant detail, but this provides a snapshot of the things to keep in mind when seeking to develop oneself as a leader in business, among peers, and in your life as a whole.
Leadership can be learned and taught, so remember that you have power over yourself and the choices that influence your actions. You only have this one life to live – why not make it significant, influential, and lead by example? Be more than a boss to your team. Be a leader.
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