The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership
Today I start a 21 part series covering John Maxwell’s book, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership. Together we will look at each principle and better understand our roles as leaders and influencers. My desire is that you will learn to apply these laws and hence, help you grow your level of leadership. As well, to join one of our mastermind groups on the 21 Laws or another of these awesome books. If you’ve never done a mastermind group before, you’re in for the ride of your life—paradigm shift at every truth. Let’s get started…
LAW #1—The Law of the Lid
Leadership Ability Determines a Persons Level of Effectiveness.
Measuring your leadership ability can be difficult, although like Prime Minister Margret Thatcher once said,
“Being a leader is like being a lady—if you have to go around telling people you are one, you aren’t.”
Yet, from “the Five Levels of Leadership,” you can be a level one leader—a Positional Leader—given this position by someone else. You didn’t earn it, you were just given it. I might dare say that many, possibly most leaders are a level one leader—and many never grow from there.
If there are Five Levels of leadership, why on earth would anyone want to stay at level one? If you want to grow to be an effective leader and grow in your influence and ability, you must embrace good leadership principles and practice them daily—which is the secret—the key—to succeeding at anything—practice it daily.
To train a flea, you put him in a jar with a lid on it. At first, the flea will jump high, hitting his head on the lid. After a little while, he will stop hitting the lid and jump just below the top of the lid. You can now take the top off the jar and he will never jump out.
This is much like how we are. We have a lid on our leadership. Don’t know what put it there, but our past training, our previous experience, our current understanding of leadership has put a lid on our ability. The question is, how do we rewire ourselves to learn to jump out of the jar?
Low-Level One Leader
I worked for a company for a number of years where everyone was a doer and there where no real leaders. Granted, there were Positional leaders—managers put into place to manage others—but there were no real leaders on the team. The company was a fast growing company but soon the team outgrew the leadership ability of the founder, the entrepreneur. He was a charismatic “leader” but he lacked the skills to take the company beyond where it had grown.
The people being hired were not vetted well and no one to truly lead them. The product was excellent, but lack of leadership soon overtook the company. There was a last ditch effort to bring on someone who had more experience, but sadly, this person had no additional experience with leadership—they were a nicer and an older person, but their understanding of leadership was equally as weak.
The company floundered helplessly until it died. People abandoned ship because no one was at the helm steering the ship. It was really sad. I was a young manager without a good understanding of leadership. I worked my way up, but all I had to offer was the motivational skills learned from Zig Ziglar and my ability in marketing. That exacerbated the situation because I was constantly motivating and marketing the company well—so we were all dressed up with no place to go.
The management’s weak leadership—including myself—put a lid on the ability for the team, and ultimately the company, to succeed. We could manage people to a certain level, but we were not leaders. We didn’t have the ability to take the company to the next level. If you don’t grow, you die. Competition will overtake you and eventually bury you. We were experiencing the law of the lid.
The personal charisma of the founder only took us so far—and the lack of anyone rising from the team to be a better leader, lead to our ultimate failure.
Leaders are not born. They are made.
They are grown. They are built. They are trained by level 4 and 5 leaders—and that’s the good news. You can become a Level 5 leader if you study—gain the knowledge—and apply the knowledge.
The greater the impact and the greater the influence you want, the better your leadership ability needs to be. You may be doing well now, but soon the lack of knowing how to lead your company to the next level, will stifle you and kill your company. Like the Law of Intentionality says on growth gaps—we are no longer like children who “naturally” grow physically as a child. We have to be intentional to grow (Law #1 from John’s book The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth).
How to succeed 101
while you build your business, build your leadership ability. Start from day one. You need financial skills. You need marketing skills. You need people skills. You need leadership skills. All the knowledge you need is out there and attainable. Your impact is only a fraction of what it could be with good leadership—which means getting to where you want to go will take a lot longer, cost a lot more money, and maybe even elude you in the end.
Whatever you want to accomplish is restricted by your ability to lead others. Leadership ability is always the lid on personal and organizational effectiveness. You won’t get there by luck—besides—luck is not a strategy.
In our study on why business’s fail that led to my blog on The Top 10 ‘Real’ Reasons Businesses Fail and the course, “How to Make Your Business Thrive,” the overall reason for failure is Business Incompetence and the #1 reason from the 10 Real Reasons—is lack of leadership.
Okay. You now have the knowledge that the number one reason for business failure is lack of leadership ability. What are you going to do about it? How are you going to apply that knowledge? I study leadership 15-20 hours per week—how much do you study the #1 thing that causes business failure? I don’t say that to impress you, but to impress upon you that this is crucial to your success. If you want to know how good of a leader you are, you can take the John Maxwell Leadership Test to find out where you are in your leadership ability.
Stay with me. We’re going to learn all the laws of great leadership and raise your lid to the highest it can go—Level 5.
Reflection: Where are you as a leader? Why? What plan of action do you have in place to raise your lid along with growing your company in other ways?
Action: Ask others (boss, peers, spouse, family, and three people you lead) to rate your leadership ability from 1 to 10 on each of these areas (anonymously will give a truer picture)—
• People Skills
• Planning and Strategic Thinking
Average the scores and compare them to your own assessment of those questions. If there is a gap between your score and the others score, what do you think the cause is? How willing are you to grow in leadership?
You can also see my video of this blog here (coming soon). Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and please feel free to tweet anything you find valuable so others can grow, too.
Next Law—Law #2—The Law of Influence—Leadership Ability Determines a Person’s Level of Effectiveness—click here.
MAKE it a great day!