Some Laws of Leadership
Maxwell is a former pastor of Skyline Wesleyan Church and the founder of Injoy, which is dedicated
to helping people maximize their leadership potential.
He is the author of several popular leadership books.
This is perhaps his best book (Leadership Laws), full of excellent principles and good illustrations.
The Law of the Lid.
Leadership ability determines a person's level of effectiveness.
"Personal success without leadership ability brings only limited effectiveness."
"The higher you want to climb, the more you need leadership.
The greater the impact you want to make, the greater your influence needs to be."
"Leadership has a multiplying effect."
"Leadership ability is always the lid on personal and organizational effectiveness."
The Law of Influence.
The true measure of leadership is influence - nothing more, nothing less.
"The best way to test whether a person can lead rather than just manage is to ask him
to create positive change."
"To be a leader, a person has to not only be out front, but also have people intentionally coming behind him."
The church is the most leadership-intensive enterprise in society according to Bill Hybels.
"Positional leadership doesn't work in volunteer organizations."
"Leaders have only their influence to aid them."
"Followers in voluntary organizations cannot be forced to get on board."
To find out whether your people are capable of leading, send them out to volunteer their time in the community.
If they can get people to follow them.."
The Law of Process.
Leadership develops daily, not in a Day.
"What matters most is what you do day by day over the long haul.
If you continually invest in your leadership development, letting your 'assets' compound,
the inevitable result is growth over time."
"The ability to lead is really a collection of skills, nearly all of which can be learned and improved."
"Leaders are learners."
"It is the capacity to develop and improve their skills that distinguishes leaders from their followers."
The Law of Navigation.
Anyone can steer the ship, but it takes a leader to chart the course.
"Controlling your direction is better than being controlled by it." (Jack Welch)
"They see the whole trip in their minds before they leave the dock.
They have a vision for their destination, they understand what it will take to get there,
they know who they'll need on the team to be successful, and they recognize the obstacles
long before they appear on the horizon."
Gather information from many sources.
Count the cost before making commitments.
"You've got to have faith that you can take your people all they way.
If you can't confidently make the trip in your mind, you're not going to be able to take it in real life.
On the other hand, you also have to be able to see the facts realistically.
You can't minimize obstacles or rationalize your challenges.
If you don't go in with your eyes wide open, you're going to bet blindsided."
Predetermine a course of action.
Lay out your goals.
Adjust your priorities.
Notify key personnel
Allow Time for Acceptance.
Head into action.
Always point to the successes.
Daily review your plan.
The secret to the Law of Navigation is preparation.
The Law of E. F. Hutton. When the real leader speaks, people listen.
"The real leader holds the power, not just the position."
"When somebody asks a question, who do people watch?
Who do they wait to hear?
The person they look to is the real leader."
"So if you're starting in a new position and you're not the leader, don't let it bother you.
The real test of leadership isn't where you start out.. It's where you end up."
"The proof of leadership is found in the followers."
Seven key areas that reveal themselves in a leader:
Character -- who they are
Relationships - who they know
"You're a leader only if you have followers, and that always requires the development of relationships
-- the deeper the relationships, the stronger the potential for leadership."
"Build enough of the right kinds of relationships with the right people, and you can become
the real leader in an organization."
Knowledge -- what they know
Intuition -- what they feel
Experience -- where they've been
"The greater the challenges you've faced in the past, the more likely followers are to give you a chance."
Past Success - what they've done
Ability - what they can do
"When you speak, do people listen - I mean really listen?
Or do they wait to hear what someone else has to say before they act?"
The Law of Solid Ground.
Trust is the foundation of leadership.
"Your people know when you make mistakes.
The real question is whether you're going to 'fess up.
If you do, you can often quickly regain their trust."
"When it comes to leadership, you just can't take shortcuts, no matter how long you've been
leading your people."
"Each time you make a good leadership decision, it puts change into your pocket.
Each time you make a poor one, you have to pay out some of your change to the people."
"When it comes to leadership, you just can't take shortcuts, no matter how long you've been
leading your people."
"The role of character always has been the key factor in the rise and fall of nations."
"Character is the only effective bulwark against internal and external forces that lead to
a country's disintegration or collapse." (Anthony Harrigan, p. 58)
"Character makes trust possible."
"No man can climb out beyond the limitations of his own character."
(John Morley, p. 60)
"When you don't have strength within, you can't earn respect without.
And respect is absolutely essential for lasting leadership."
How do leaders earn respect?
"By making sound decision, admitting their mistakes, and putting what's best for their followers
and the organization ahead of their personal agendas."
"The only thing that walks back from the tomb with the mourners and refuses to be buried
is the character of a man."
(J. R. Miller, p. 62)
The Law of Respect.
People naturally follow leaders stronger than themselves.
"Usually the more leadership ability a person has, the more quickly he recognizes
leadership - or its lack - in others."
The Law of Intuition.
Leaders evaluate everything with a leadership bias.
Leaders are readers of their situation.
Leaders are readers of trends.
Leaders are readers of their resources.
Leaders are readers of people.
Leaders are readers of themselves.
"How you see the world around you is determined by who you are."
The Law of Magnetism.
Who you are is who you attract.
"In most situations, you draw people to you who possess the same qualities you do."
"I say that teams cannot be anything but an extension of the coach's personality."
"If you think your people are negative, then you better check your attitude."
People who follow leaders tend to match up in attitude, generation (roughly the same age),
background, values, life experiences, and leadership ability.
"Remember, their quality does not ultimately depend on a hiring process,
.. It depends on you."
The Law of Connection.
Leaders touch a heart before they ask for a hand.
"You can't move people to action unless you first move them with emotion.
The heart comes before the head."
"You develop credibility with people when you connect with them and show that you genuinely
want to help them."
Even in a group, you have to relate to people as individuals.
"The tougher the challenge, the greater the connection."
"When a leader has done the work to connect with his people, you can see it in the way
the organization functions.
Among employees there are incredible loyalty and a strong work ethic.
"The vision of the leader becomes the aspiration of the people.
The impact is incredible."
The Law of the Inner Circle.
A leader's potential is determined by those closest to him.
"There are no Lone Ranger leaders.
Think about it: If you're alone, you're not leading anybody, are you?"
"The leader finds greatness in the group, and he or she helps the members find it in themselves."
(Warren Bennis, p. 113)
You should try to bring five types of people into your inner circle:
· potential value -- those who raise up themselves,
· positive value -- those who raise morale in the organization,
· personal value -- those who raise up the leader,
· productive value -- those who raise up others,
· proven value -- those who raise up people who raise up others.
The Law of Empowerment.
Only secure leaders give power to others.
"The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done,
and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it."
(Theodore Roosevelt, p. 125)
Barriers to empowerment:
· Desire for security.
"If you are able to continually empower others and help them develop so that they become capable
of taking over your job, you become so valuable to the organization that you become indispensable."
· Resistance to change.
"Empowerment brings constant change because it encourages people to grow and innovate."
· Lack of self-worth
"Many people gain their personal value and esteem from their work or position.
Threaten to change either of them, and you threaten their self-worth."
"To those who have confidence in themselves, change is a stimulus because they believe
one person can make a difference and influence what goes on around them.
These people are the doers and motivators."
(Buck Rogers, p. 127)
"A key to empowering others is high belief in people."
The Law of Reproduction.
It takes a leader to raise up a leader.
"The problem with the old follow-the-leader games is that to win, you had to make the other guy lose.
That's opposite of the way you raise up leaders."
"If you want to continue developing as a leader, spend time with the best leaders you can find."
"The only way you will be able to develop other leaders is to become a better leader yourself."
"Every effective leadership mentor makes the development of leaders one of his highest priorities in life."
The Law of Buy-In.
People buy into the leader, then the vision.
"The most remarkable thing about Gandhi isn't that he became their leader, but that he was able
to change the people's vision for obtaining freedom."
"...because the people had come to buy into him as their leader, they embraced his vision."
"The leader finds the dream and then the people.
The people find the leader, and then the dream."
"People don't at first follow worthy causes..
They follow worthy leaders who promote worthwhile causes."
"But if he has not built his credibility with his people, it really doesn't matter how great a vision he has."
"You are the message.
Every message that people receive is filtered through the messenger who delivers it."
"People want to go along with people they get along with."
"When followers don't like the leader or the vision, they look for another leader.
When followers don't like the leader but they do like the vision, they still look for another leader.
When followers like the leader but not the vision, they change the vision..
When followers like the leader and the vision, they will get behind both."
The Law of Victory.
Leaders find a way for the team to win.
"Crisis seems to bring out the best - and the worst - in leaders."
By 1941, there were only a dozen or so democratic states left on earth, but to Roosevelt and Churchill,
victory was the only option.
Their leadership rallied the democratic cause.
Three components of victory:
Unity of vision, Diversity of skills, A leader dedicated to victory and raising players to their potential.
The Law of the Big MO.
Momentum is a leader's best friend.
To change direction, you first have to create forward progress.
The two keys are preparation and motivation.
"It takes a leader to create momentum.
Followers catch it.
And managers are able to continue it once it has begun."
The Law of Priorities.
Leaders understand that activity is not necessarily accomplishment.
To be effective, leaders must order their lives according to these three questions:
What is required?
What is required of you?
Anything not required of you personally should be delegated.
What gives the greatest return?
Spend most of your time working in your areas of greatest strength.
If someone else can do it 80% as well, delegate it.
What brings the greatest reward?
The things that bring the greatest personal reward are the fire lighters in a leader's life.
Nothing energizes a person the way passion does.
"The most remarkable thing about John Wooden is that he never scouted opposing teams.
Instead, he focused on getting his players to reach their potential."
The Law of Sacrifice.
A leader must give up to go up.
"Iacocca understood that successful leaders have to maintain an attitude of sacrifice in order to
turn around an organization.
They have to be willing to do what it takes to go to the next level."
"..the true nature of leadership is really sacrifice."
"Sacrifice is an ongoing process, not a one-time payment."
"When you become a leader, you lose the right to think about yourself."
(Gerald Brooks, p. 189)
"The higher you go, the more you give up."
The Law of Timing.
When to lead is as important as what to do and where to go.
Every time a leader makes a move, there are really only four outcomes that can result:
The wrong action at the wrong time leads to disaster.
The right action at the wrong time brings resistance.
The wrong action at the right time is a mistake.
The right action at the right time results in success.
The Law of Explosive Growth.
To add growth, lead followers.
To multiply, lead leaders.
"It's my job to build the people who are going to build the company."
(John Schnatter, p. 206)
The Law of Legacy.
A leader's lasting value is measured by succession..
Leaders who leave a legacy of succession:
· Lead the organization with a 'long view.'
· Create a leadership culture
· Pay the price today to assure success tomorrow
· Value team leadership above individual leadership
· Walk away from the organization with integrity
"Succession is one of the key responsibilities of leadership."
(MaxDupree, p. 221)
"A legacy is created only when a person puts his organization into the position to do great things without him."
"When all is said and done, your ability as a leader will be judged
by how well your people and your organization did after you were gone."