The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by Dr John Maxwell, is an insightful book on the subject of leadership and growing your influence.
Each of the 21 irrefutable laws, relates to some specific principle that not only helps you become a better leader, someone others enjoy following, but if you put them into practice in your daily life, you will find they also help you to simply become a better individual.
Here is a short overview of each of the 21 irrefutable laws of leadership using excerpts from the book.
1. The Law of the lid. Your leadership is like a lid or a ceiling on your organization. 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 Influence. 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 organization. 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.
3. The Law of Process. 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 Navigation. 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 E.F. Hutton. 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.
6. The Law of Solid Ground. 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 Respect. 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 Intuition. Leaders evaluate everything with a Leadership bias. Leaders see trends, resources and problems, and can read people.
9. The Law of Magnetism. Leaders attract people like themselves. Who you are is who you attract. Work to attract leaders rather than followers if you want to build a truly strong organization.
10. The Law of Connection. 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”.
12. The Law of Empowerment. Only secure leaders give power to others. Mark Twain said, Great things can happen when you don’t care who gets the credit. Another point to ponder – Great leaders gain authority by giving it away.
13. The Law of Reproduction. 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 organization depends on the growth of its leadership.
14. The Law of Buy-In. 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 vision but like the leader, they get a new vision.
15. The Law of Victory. Leaders find a way for the team to win. You can’t win WITHOUT good athletes, but you CAN lose with them. Unity of vision, diversity of skills plus a leader are needed for a win.
16. The Law of Momentum. You can’t steer a ship that isn’t moving forward. It takes a leader to create forward motion.
17. The Law of Priorities. 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!
18. The Law of Sacrifice. A leader must give up to go up. Successful leaders must maintain an attitude of sacrifice to turn around an organization. When you become a leader, you lose the right to think about yourself.
19. The Law of Timing. 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 Legacy. 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.