The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John Maxwell has been in circulation since 1998, giving guidance for leaders everywhere. An expanded/updated version released in 2007 has more leadership stories, a personal leadership evaluation tool, and even more about life application. Who can’t benefit from such a well-tested, globally recognized leadership resource? In fact, in May 2014, Maxwell was named the #1 leadership and management expert in the world by Inc. Magazine. For these reasons alone it would be beneficial to discuss Maxwell’s book. However, our personal experience confirms the book’s relevance and reveals its influence in significant life and work decisions, providing even greater motivation to share these 21 principles.
Leadership Law of the Lid
The first three of the twenty-one laws are among WellSpirit’s favorites: first, The Law of the Lid—Leadership ability is the lid that determines a person’s level of effectiveness. In other words, how well I lead determines how much success I can facilitate in my business or organization. Businesses experience this principle when they succeed to a certain level of bottom line growth and then stagnate; what next? It takes a leader who knows how to navigate the myriad of issues, from money to people to processes. The good news is, it doesn’t always mean getting a different leader—if the current leader is willing and able to learn how to raise his or her effectiveness. Think about how leaders have had to grow and change (or get replaced) in order to help their businesses succeed in the “new normal” economic climate following the 2008 recession.
Leadership Law of Influence
The second law is The Law of Influence. Maxwell’s famous quote, “The true measure of leadership is influence—nothing more, nothing less” comes from this law. Although it seems so simple, it’s packed with all the meaning of “influence” itself. That influence is an earned leadership, resulting from how leaders interact with others. As Maxwell says, “True leadership cannot be awarded, appointed, or assigned. It comes only from influence, and that cannot be mandated. It must be earned.” Although one may find employees who exercise obligation in fulfilling duties every day on the job, they may not be following their leader at all. These “followers” aren’t personally invested in their jobs; they are simply doing what they have to, to get by. When the situation becomes difficult, the mantra is “It’s not personal, it’s business.” Can this type of organization grow and flourish? Not without a change in leadership, which is why so many businesses and organizations languish.
Leadership Law of Process
The Law of Process reveals the principle that “leadership develops daily, not in a day.” A leader must be engaged in ongoing investment in his or her personal growth. Successful leaders are actually learners. Learning implies not having known before. Imagine the potential in someone who is always willing to learn! Leadership growth happens in phases, ranging from “I don’t know what it is I don’t know” through “I know and grow and it starts to show” all the way to “I simply go because of what I know.” Leaders, via time and seasoning, grow through these phases into better leaders. Leadership need not be static. From wherever a leader is, he or she can grow better.
Do you agree that these are three universal laws of leadership? What benefits have you observed when these laws are obeyed? What consequences did you notice when these laws were broken?
Disclosure of Material Connection:
WellSpirit Consulting Group Inc. has not received any compensation for this post. We have no material connection to the brands, products, or services mentioned therein. We only recommend authors and books that we have personally read and that we believe will be good for our readers and clients. WellSpirit is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”