Leadership 101 – What Every Leader Needs to Know (Maxwell)

leadership101 Leadership 101: What Every Leader Needs to Know by John C Maxwell

Maxwell believes in what he calls the “Law of the Lid”. Leadership ability is the lid that determines a person’s effectiveness. The lower an individual’s ability to lead, the lower the lid is on his/her potential. The higher the leadership ability, the greater is the individual’s effectiveness. For example, on a scale of 1-10 if your leadership ability is 8 then your effectiveness potential can never be greater than 7.

Your leadership ability, for better or worse, always determines your effectiveness and the potential impact on your organization. Leadership is a collection of skills, nearly all of which can be learned and improved. This learning process takes time. However, some people are born with greater natural gifts than others and these gifts can make the learning process easier and less time consuming.

Maxwell suggests that there are four (4) phrases of leadership growth:

#1 I don’t know what I don’t like:

These people do not know the value of leadership or the opportunities they will miss by not educating themselves in leadership.

#2 I know what I don’t know:

These people know they need to learn how to lead

#3 I grow and I know and it starts to show:

These people are hungry to learn and should continue to learn all their lives. They learn to be great leaders but it will take time.

#4 I simply lead because of what I know:

By the time a person gets to phase 4 your ability to lead is almost automatic

Leadership is developed daily not in a day. No matter where you start, you can get better. This is true even for people who are considered good leaders. To become a good leader you must develop self-discipline and no one obtains success without it.


Follow the 80/20 rule – 20% of your priorities will give you 80% of your production. Devote your energy and resources to those 20%. This rule also holds true for your staff. 20% of them will be responsible for 80% of your company’s success.

Three (3) common problems that are found in many organizations include:

Abuse – too few employees are doing too much

Disuse – too many employees are doing too little

Misuse – too many employees are doing the wrong things


1.  Leadership and Management are the same: Leadership is more about influencing people. Management focuses on maintaining systems and procedure

2. The Entrepreneur Myth: All good salesmen and good entrepreneurs make good leaders. People may buy what these folks sell but they are not following them.

3. The Knowledge Myth: People who possess knowledge are usually good leaders. Not always. IQ doesn’t necessarily equate to good leadership

4. The Pioneer Myth: People who are the first to do or create something are good leaders. Not so. They must also have others intentionally following their lead.


(Book Summary by Dr. Ralph Klicker, CCF Certified Coach Practitioner & Founder/President of the Thanos Institute)


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