Have you ever wondered what it takes to be a CEO, manager, or other leader in the workplace?
I’m practically obsessed with how it works. From the outside, it seems like leadership is a strange mental game of being interesting, successful, and magnetic, without trying too hard to be any of those things.
Enter: The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John C Maxwell. It was a quick read once you set down to it, choc full of interesting stories, examples, and principles. And the most intriguing part was the slogan of the book: Follow [these rules] and people will follow you.
Ready to get to the bottom of leadership basics? Here’s the most important things I learned:
When the real leader speaks, people listen
Leadership is not always about title. I can think of a number of situations in which the Official Boss is in charge, but in reality it’s another person who everyone listens to, gives attention to, or goes to for advice. Be on the lookout for this person (or for the sense that you”re this person) and read the room to see whose opinion counts the most.
Trust is the foundation of leadership
The best way to prove that this is true is to be lied to by someone you work with. When you don’t trust someone, you simply can’t give your all to a project or a workplace. It’s always better to take a hit and tell the truth, even if it may cost you workplace cred.
People naturally follow leaders stronger than themselves
I would not have understood this idea if it were not for my current position. If you had asked me last year if I was a leader, I would have said probably not, but I’d like to be. I think that is because I was on a team of similarly experienced teammates with the same level of leadership skills.
Now, I work with a team of younger (talented), but more inexperienced people. When I move from a meeting with the management team to a meeting of the smaller team, I can palpably feel the difference. It makes me more carefully assess my attitude and my reaction when I speak with the smaller team.
Only secure leaders give power to others
Unfortunately, this principle is most clear in examples of bad leaders. When you see a leader clutching at power in any way they can. Sometimes by way of deceit, or of manipulation, or of plain old force and rudeness.
It’s a sad sight, especially considering the infinite potential of generous, honest leaders who take the high road and give as much as they get. After all, “No man will make a great leader who wants to do it all himself or get all the credit for doing it.”
To add growth, lead followers — to multiply, lead leaders
Finally, the awesomest concept ever. When you are looking to grow your company, it’s one thing to bring on staff to work for you. It’s an entirely different thing to bring on leaders to share your vision. When you hire on a staff member, your mission grows by a number of one. When share leadership and bring on meaningful contributions, your mission grows by a multiple of that person, extending your vision with far less effort.
The final thought of awesomeness I will leave you with is the following meditation on how to prioritize your business model. Just awesome:
Personnel determines the potential of the organization.
Relationships determine the morale of the organization.
Structure determines the size of the organization.
Vision determines the direction of the organization.
Leadership determines the success of the organization.
Ready to read the book? Pick it up here.