Four leadership laws for every leader to follow
“Everything rises and falls on leadership.” – John Maxwell
There is a leadership vacuum in our country. With huge developments like Baha Mar and others on the way, the demand for strong leaders in organizations across the country is at an all-time high. This provides a wonderful opportunity for professionals, or anyone looking to advance in their careers, to become sought-after leaders.
Many years ago, I remember listening to the “21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership” by John Maxwell in an audio book as I was just beginning to develop my own leadership skills. Over the years I have referred to these laws as a constant reminder.
The 21 laws are considered a must-know for any current, new or emerging leader in our country. Here are the first four:
Law # 1: the law of the lid. The ability to lead is the “lid” that determines a person’s effectiveness. The lower the ability to lead, the lower the lid on his or her potential and vice versa. Your business or organization will not rise beyond the level your leadership allows. If the leader’s ability was rated on a scale of one to 10, and their ability to lead rated seven, then the leader’s effectiveness can never reach beyond six. However, if a leader’s ability is strong, the organization’s “lid” is heightened. One way to apply the law of the lid to your life is to seek feedback from others on your leadership ability. Ask your boss, coworkers, a spouse and three others to rate you on a scale of one (low) to 10 (high) in the following areas: people skills; planning and strategic thinking; vision; results. Average the ratings and reflect on the outcomes. Is your ability as a leader weaker or stronger than you believed? Whatever the outcome, decide to actively pursue growth in the area of leadership.
Law # 2: the law of influence. The true measure of leadership is influence — nothing more, nothing less. If a person does not possess the ability to influence, they will never have the ability to lead. True leadership is earned. This means that being a leader is not about being first, or being an entrepreneur, or being the most knowledgeable, or being a manager. It is also not about just holding a leadership position. It takes influence. The essence of influence lies in getting the other person to participate because they want to and not because they have to. A great way to build influence is to volunteer at an organization whose purpose you believe in. This is a great platform for practicing leadership skills. As you volunteer or lead in your circle or organization, consider the following seven factors: character (who you are), relationships (who you know), knowledge (what you know), intuition (what you feel), experience (where you have been), past success (what have you done) and ability (what you can do). Rate yourself on a scale of one to 10 (one means it is not a factor, 10 means you rely heavily on it) then ask yourself, “What can I do to improve on the areas with low scores?” and, “How can I enhance my use of the areas with high scores?”
Law # 3: the law of process. Leadership develops daily, not in a day. Becoming a leader is like investing in the stock market. If you try to make a fortune in a day, there is a very strong chance you won’t succeed. There are many aspects to leadership. These include people skills, emotional strength, vision, momentum and timing; and all can be learned over time with focus and patience. If you continually invest in your leadership development, growth is inevitable. How can you apply this law to your life? By writing out a plan for your personal growth. Determine to read one book or listen to one message a month on leadership, attend one conference per year or turn your car into a leadership university on wheels. Focus on one element at a time perhaps and measure your progress as you grow.
Law # 4: the law of navigation: Anyone can steer the ship, but it takes a leader to chart the course. Vision is defined as the ability to see the whole voyage before leaving the dock. Good leaders function as navigators who plan the course to achieve success. However, this is only the half of it. As a leader, one must also see obstacles before others do. To do this, he or she must learn to see more, see farther, and see before others. The navigator must listen to the people he leads and balance optimism with realism. Preparation is the key to good navigation. Time must be invested in this trait to become an excellent navigator.
The laws needed to be a sought-after leader may not come naturally to all of us, but they can be learned and practiced over time. Simon Sinek, author of the insightful book “It Starts With Why” says this, “Followers want to be taken care of. Leaders want to take care of others. We can all be leaders.” With that said, my challenge to you is to simply be a leader.
In the next few weeks, I will be hosting a new Leadership Lab and I am excited about the growth that will happen as a result. If you are interested in learning more, email me.
• Listed in The Nassau Guardian’s Top 40 under 40”, Keshelle Davis is a skills development expert and authority on corporate, business and personal success training in the Bahamas. She is the CEO of The Training Authority, an entrepreneur, and internationally recognized speaker and author. Formerly she served as executive director of the Chamber Institute – the education arm of the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers’ Confederation (BCCEC) – and has impacted thousands through her mission to educate, empower and inspire. Contact Keshelle at firstname.lastname@example.org.