How to raise the lid off your leadership potential

John C. Maxwell is a noted leadership guru rated as the #1 leadership and management expert by Inc Magazine. John’s leadership work is well known around the world and is illustrated in his best-seller “21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership”.

As a Certified Leadership Coach and Speaker of the John Maxwell Team, I am happy to share with you insights from John’s 1st Law of Leadership : “The Law of the Lid” whichstates that:

Leadership ability determines a person’s level of effectiveness. ~ John C. Maxwell

This is a key principle for success as a leader. If you are looking to take your organization to new heights, it’s important to realize that the level of success you will achieve will be directly proportional to your abilities as a leader. John states that higher you want to climb, the more you need to grow as a leader and build your influence.

This brings up the classic question: Are great leaders born or made? John believes that all leaders have a “Lid” on their abilities to lead their teams to deliver great results. The good news is that John believes that this “Lid” can be raised and your natural leadership abilities significantly enhanced by studying leadership principles and other leaders. People tend to follow those who have a higher “Leadership Lid” than them.

A great example of the “Law of the lid”? We often decide that it’s time for a new president when we see our countries economy in doldrums. Similar examples are visible when private companies replace the CEO when the company is not performing per expectations.

How does one go about raising the “Lid” on your leadership ability? Here are 3 strategies based on John Maxwell’s leadership principles and my experience as a leader in the technology industry:

a) Re-Invent yourself: Every organization wants to maximize their effectiveness and all leaders understand that good people are what drive great results. However, a leader may be surrounded with people who they do not consider as the “ideal” team member to achieve the team’s goals. The common strategy is to either replace such team members or hire someone new to the team to compensate for the weak link in your chain. What most leaders miss is John’s “Law of Magnetism- Who you are is who you attract”. A key requirement for all leaders is “accountability” and “leaders should be held accountable for who they attract”. If who you attract is not who you desire, start with a self-awareness exercise to see what you are lacking as a leader. You may have to work on one or more areas such as character, attitude, process etc to see what you have been missing. You may also be missing a key ingredient of leadership “Empathy”– Not caring genuinely for your followers. Once you analyze your own weakness, and work on improving them, you will start to see the increase in influence on your current followers and attract new followers who are more like the ones you desire.

“Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care.” – Teddy Roosevelt

b) Be Authentic: John’s law of Solid Ground states – : “Trust is the foundation of leadership” and is in fact the most important thing. Trust helps develop strong relationships with your followers and with other leaders resulting in a significant increase in your influence. What’s the easiest way to lose your trust worthiness? In my experience, people will quickly lose trust in a leader who is not “Authentic”. An authentic leader leads by example and considers integrity and empathy to be non-negotiable in all circumstances. Trust has to be earned and if lost, it’s the leaders responsibility to earn this back.

People may hear your words, but they feel your attitude ~ John C. Maxwell

c) Volunteer: John states that “The true measure of leadership is Influence, nothing more, nothing more, nothing less”. In a previous post “Are you a transformational leader” we discussed Maxwell’s 5 Levels of leadership. Many leaders are “Leaders by position” and are Level 1 leaders. The true test of leadership ability is visible in a volunteer organization where you have virtually no positional authority. Your ability to deliver results in such a volunteer/community organization will be based on your influence which is a factor of your character, relationship skills, knowledge and experience. Adopt the self-awareness and leadership lessons you gain from your volunteer experience to your business teams and you will see outstanding results.

“Everything rises and falls on leadership.” ~ John C. Maxwell

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