Tag Archive: John Maxwell

Jul 10

11 – The Law of the Inner Circle

“A Leader’s Potential Is Determined by Those Closest to Him”

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 the inner circle.
InnerCircle

A leader does not achieve success alone – on his own merits. A leader depends on his core team to achieve great things together. Without a good team, the opportunity to perform at high-levels and produce consistently does not exist. The law of the inner circle dictates that a leader’s potential comes from those that are closest to him – the team.

Excelling in all 21 laws of leadership is nearly impossible. In the modern business world, the possibility of mastering all of the disciplines required for success is also nearly impossible. As a result, the importance of teamwork is more important today than ever before. Leaders find success in teams and assumes the responsibility to help every team member find success in that team. Effective leaders expend the effort to find suitable team members then nurture them to maturity. The effective leader mentors the team to enable accomplishing great things together.

John provides the following items for consideration to build a strong inner circle.

1. Do members of the inner circle possess the ability to influence other people?
The ability to influence people is a key trait of successful leadership. When your inner circle consists of people that influence others, your own influence multiplies exponentially.

2. Do members of the inner circle possess complementary talents and skills?
We tend to attract people like ourselves, see the law of magnetism. Attracting people that complement your personal weaknesses takes awareness and intention. The successful leader recognizes his own weaknesses and is not threatened by those that display strength in those weak areas.

3. Do members of the inner circle possess a strategic mindset?

I differ with John’s statement “Do they hold a strategic position in the organization?” While the leverage received from a position is beneficial, not all leaders possess an inner circle with people in position. I prefer a strategic mindset. Those that possess a strategic mindset look beyond today and consider today’s actions on the future state.

4. Do members of the inner circle add value to you, other team members, and the organization?
People either add or multiply value or divide or subtract value. People with negative attitudes detract from your ability to lead. I do not imply that people with differing thought and opinion fall into the negative attitude category. That is the trait of a weak and ineffective leader. However, negative people reduce the value of the team and organization just as a liability devalues the balance sheet.

5. Do members of the inner circle contribute positively?
Attaining synergy requires that every team member interact with others in a positive way and contribute to team success. As I eluded to in item #4, valuable team members often have disagreements but handle those disagreements in positive ways. Some people mistakenly believe that withholding knowledge somehow provides job security. Such is rarely the case. Sharing knowledge and expertise builds teams and provides the ability to pursue new challenges and opportunities. Unfortunately, I have witnessed those that clung so tightly to existing knowledge and skills only to find themselves with knowledge and skills no longer valuable in a changed environment.

Members of the inner circle need to exhibit excellence, maturity, and good character in all aspects of their lives. Leaders often focus much of their effort working to improve the lowest performing people. Under-performers tend to display poor attitudes and unwillingness to pursue new challenges or or an unwillingness embrace change. A leader that focuses on changing these traits expends an inordinate amount of time often producing little in the way of  positive results. Investing in your best performers returns a much higher return on your investment.

Building the inner circle takes time and effort. Many fail to make the investment and pay the price of mediocrity. Your leadership potential relies on your inner circle, so developing your team deserves your attention and effort.

Improving your capacity to accomplish more and increasing your leadership potential requires that you continually focus on your personal development, see the the law of process, then focus on building your inner circle.

I wish you well on your personal growth journey. I appreciate your additional insight, so feel free to comment to share your thoughts and experiences.

Links
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 | 6 – The Law of Solid Ground | 7 – The Law of Respect | 8 – The Law of Intuition | 9 – The Law of Magnetism | 10 – The Law of Connection

Reference
Maxwell, John. (2007). The 21 irrefutable laws of leadership: Follow them and people will follow you. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

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Permanent link to this article: http://darrylpendergrass.com/Blog/11-the-law-of-the-inner-circle/

Jul 01

10 – The Law of Connection

“Leaders Touch a Heart Before They Ask for a Hand”

In John C. Maxwell’s book The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: Follow Them and People Will Follow You (2007), John shares the importance of connection and leadership.
Connection
The stronger the relationship, the more effectively the leader can persuade people to help. Connect with people at an individual level. When speaking to groups or working with groups, always remember that the group is a collection of individuals. Each of those individuals have their own needs, wants, and desires. When you understand what individuals need and you strive to fulfill those needs, you improve the ability to reach your goals and the stronger your leadership becomes.

John provides the following tips to improve your ability to connect with people.

1. Connect with yourself – Understand yourself and develop confidence in your skills, knowledge, and ability to share those with other people. Don’t underestimate this tip. Over the years, I have had the opportunity to encourage people to overcome their public speaking fears and lack of self-confidence to speak before groups and to share their insight in a variety of topics. Some of those people unearthed their ability to share their knowledge in groups quite effectively and persuasively.
2. Communicate openly and sincerely – People sense quickly the level of your sincerity. Good leaders connect with others through openness, honesty, and sincerity.
3. Know your audience – You connect with people when you know their names, history, dreams, goals, want, needs, and desires. As a leader, you need to balance your needs with the needs of others.
4. Live your message – You build credibility when your actions match your words, refer to the law of solid ground.
5. Remove communication barriers – Communication barriers come in many forms. Physical barriers are the most obvious communication inhibitor, but you can improve your connection by adjusting your language (verbal and non-verbal) to the culture, background, and education of your audience. Adapt to others, do not expect them to adapt to you.
6. Focus on your audience not on yourself – John claims this is a major issue with inexperienced or ineffective leaders. When you focus on your audience rather than yourself your connections develop much faster. One of my managers summarized this tip simply, “It’s not about you, it’s about your people.”
7. Believe in your audience – Communicate with the understanding that your audience is valuable not with the motive that what you say is valuable.
8. Offer your audience direction and hope – People expect leaders to provide the guidance necessary to reach objectives. Good leaders provide that guidance but also provide a sense of hope for the future.

Positional leaders often struggle with the law of connection. Due to their position, they often mistakenly believe that their employees should initiate the connection. Successful leaders initiate the connection and expend the effort needed to build solid relationships. Remember that the greater the challenge, the greater the need for strong relationships.

A book worth exploring is Life Is a Series of Presentations: 8 Ways to Punch Up Your People Skills at Work, at Home, Anytime, Anywhere. Tony Jeary provides many insights into improving your presentation skills. The word presentation is used broadly to apply to all interactions that you have with people, not just formal presentations. I recommend reading the book to gain a deeper understanding of your presentations with everyone your interact with and improve the connection with other people.

I wish you well on your personal growth journey. I appreciate your additional insight, so feel free to comment to share your thoughts and experiences.

Links
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 | 6 – The Law of Solid Ground | 7 – The Law of Respect | 8 – The Law of Intuition | 9 – The Law of Magnetism

Reference
Maxwell, John. (2007). The 21 irrefutable laws of leadership: Follow them and people will follow you. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

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Permanent link to this article: http://darrylpendergrass.com/Blog/10-the-law-of-connection/

Jun 27

9 – The Law of Magnetism

“Who You are Is Who You Attract”

In John C. Maxwell’s book The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: Follow Them and People Will Follow You (2007), John discusses the law of magnetism. What you want in people and what you get are not always a match. You attract people by what you are not what you want. John shares several key areas where the characteristics of the people you attract tend to mirror the characteristics of you or your organization: age, attitude, background, values, energy, giftedness, and leadership ability.

John provides the following tips for using the law of magnetism to your benefit.

1. I am unsatisfied with the caliber of those I attract – use the law of process to improve your leadership skills.

2. I am satisfied with the caliber of those I attract – Recruit people to staff your weaknesses. Any organization that desires to reach its full potential recruits people with a variety of skills and talents. Recruiting people unlike yourself requires a dedicated intention and focus because attracting people unlike yourself does not come naturally. Develop a compelling vision, communicate that vision, and earn the trust of those you need to attract.

The law of magnetism dictates that you become the kind of person that you want to attract. I wish you well on your personal growth journey.

Links
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 | 6 – The Law of Solid Ground | 7 – The Law of Respect | 8 – The Law of Intuition

Reference
Maxwell, John. (2007). The 21 irrefutable laws of leadership: Follow them and people will follow you. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

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Permanent link to this article: http://darrylpendergrass.com/Blog/9-the-law-of-magnetism/

Jun 18

8 – The Law of Intuition

In John C. Maxwell’s book The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: Follow Them and People Will Follow You (2007), John emphasizes the law of intuition. The law of intuition is one of the more difficult leadership laws for many people to grasp and understand. The law of intuition recognizes that leaders evaluate situations with their leadership bias. Intuition molds the leader’s thinking and decision-making processes. Everyone possesses intuition within their area of strength or body of knowledge meaning they instinctively know how to react to a given situation by relying on their strength and knowledge developed through practice. Likewise, leaders exhibit the ability to use intuition and instinct by leveraging their leadership bias. Intuition relies more on feeling and sensing rather than data or facts and figures. Intuition relies on facts but couples that input with other intangible factors such as timing, momentum, and morale. Those intangibles contribute to one’s success when leading others toward an objective.

What do you see in the world around you? What you see in the world or a given situation is a reflection of who and what you are. Your biases determine what you see. As one with a technology bias, I immediately try to solve problems from the technology perspective. As my responsibilities shift to more of a business focus, I must work hard to evaluate situations not only from the technology perspective but also from other perspectives then balance those with my technology bias. In other words, just because I can solve a problem with technology does not mean that a given situation warrants the effort from a business perspective.

Your natural ability and learned skills combine to form your intuition. Therefore, improving leadership intuition is possible for those willing to invest the time in learning new skills.

So what do leaders understand that non-leaders do not?

Leaders understand the situation. Leaders evaluate situations quickly from a variety of perspectives. This enables the leader to gather details often overlooked by others. For instance, listening skills enable the leader to sense the emotional state, attitudes, and chemistry of their team. They sense the momentum of their team and sense upcoming or potential roadblocks. These intangibles combine with the fact-based details to provide a more comprehensive view of the situation.

Leaders understand trends. We often find ourselves so focused on assignments that we neglect to step back to see the context or big picture. In the early 1990s, I remember reading an article predicting the exodus of manufacturing from the United States. At the time, I supported a large manufacturing facility. In just a few short years, I observed the reality of the prediction. The event forever emphasized the necessity of observing trends and the need to make the necessary adjustments to remain viable in the evolving economic environment.

Leaders understand their resources. Leaders consider the resources available to solve problems and reach objectives. My personal tendency or bias is to think how I can solve a particular problem. A leader tends to think in terms of leveraging available resources to solve problems. The ability to delegate effectively is a key trait of a successful leader. Effective delegation enables extending one’s capacity to accomplish more than can be done alone. Delegation is such an important topic, I plan to post an article dedicated to that topic.

Leaders understand people. The better one understands people, the more effective that leader is in mobilizing people toward a goal. Leadership requires the ability to persuade people to follow. The better you understand people and the more you develop relationships with people, the easier the persuading becomes.

Leaders understand themselves. Leaders assess their strengths, weaknesses, skills, blind spots, and state of mind regularly. Failing to do so creates the possibility of hindering rather that assisting progress. This occurs when your existing bias does not match the reality of the current situation. In the ever changing and rapidly changing environment in which we find ourselves, the need for frequent assessment is even more critical to the leader’s success.

Intuition is a combination of natural ability and learned skills. The less natural ability you have, the more important the learned skills become. Exercising those learned skills enables an intuitive or instinctive response when a particular situation or need arises.

Links
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 | 6 – The Law of Solid Ground | 7 – The Law of Respect

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

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Permanent link to this article: http://darrylpendergrass.com/Blog/8-the-law-of-intuition/

Jun 03

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
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

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

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Permanent link to this article: http://darrylpendergrass.com/Blog/6-the-law-of-solid-ground/

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