Jun 03

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6 – The Law of Solid Ground

In John C. Maxwell’s book The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: Follow Them and People Will Follow You (2007), John shares the law of solid ground. Trust is the foundation for leadership. When those that follow you lose trust in you, your ability to influence and lead ends.

Leaders maintain a trust account. The balance accrues when you display competence, make positive connections with people, make good decisions, exhibit character, and record successes. The balance declines when you break trust, display incompetence, misuse people, make poor decisions, and exhibit character flaws. Much like a bank account, overdrafts on the trust account creates debt and effects your ability to lead.

“Character makes trust possible. And trust makes leadership possible. That is the Law of Solid Ground.” (Maxwell, 2007, p.64)

Your character communicates consistency, potential, and respect. As a leader, your character and values are on constant display. When your character and values are lived inconsistently the balance on your trust account decreases.

Your character affects your potential as a leader. Weak character limits your potential. Many hope that skill, ability, and talent alone determine the level of leadership but those are not enough. Notice that during sports trading season, there always seems to be a player on a team with great potential but fails to deliver on that potential due to a bad attitude toward his current team. So despite the talent, that person’s potential is limited by a character flaw exhibited through a bad attitude.

Your character affects the level of respect you earn from those that follow. You earn respect through your good decisions, by readily admitting mistakes, and placing the needs of your team and your organization ahead of your personal agenda. In the previous post, 5 – The Law of Addition, I discussed the leadership role as one of service. The servant mentality enables placing the needs of others ahead of your own.

As a leader, when you break the law of solid ground, your leadership and influence are jeopardized. When your trust account empties, you give up your ability to influence others, which evaporates your leadership potential.

Links to other posts in this discussion on the laws of leadership.
Mind map of the 21 laws of leadership.
Introduction to the leadership laws
1 – The Law of the Lid
2 – The Law of Influence
3 – The Law of Process
4 – The Law of Navigation
5 – The Law of Addition

Maxwell, John. (2007). The 21 irrefutable laws of leadership. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

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