Lessons From Leadership Guru John Maxwell

leadership Jul 25, 2021
John Maxwell

John Maxwell is one of the world's foremost authorities on the subject of leadership. He has authored over 80 books on leadership and is a New York Times best-selling author, who has sold more than 26 million books in fifty languages. In addition, the American Management Association has recognized him as the number one leader in business, and Business Insider and Inc. Magazine recognized him as the most influential leadership expert in the world. To date, Maxwell has trained leaders from every country of the world, including Fortune 500 executives, presidents of nations, and many of the world's top business leaders. 

Recently, I sat under Maxwell's teaching, and I have to admit, he is the "real deal." He is inspiring, authentic, and passionate about developing other leaders to carry on his legacy of adding value to others. Quite frankly! I am impressed! That said, here are five lessons from leadership guru John Maxwell that I recently learned during the first hour of a leadership conference I attended.

Leaders need to be authentic

People like it when their leader is genuine, real, and authentic. According to Maxwell, "People don't want a perfect leader. They want an authentic leader." This authenticity creates trust. It says our leader is like us. He understands our infirmities.

People follow leaders who care about them

The adage, "no one cares how much you know until they know how much you care," is something every leader should bear in mind. People want a leader who adds value to them by showing them that they matter. Maxwell says, "An open ear policy is more important than an open door policy." In other words, it's ok to have an open-door policy as a leader, but it's more important to be available to those you lead when they have concerns that need to get addressed.

An effective leader is good at leading themselves

According to Maxwell, a lot of leaders come up short here. He believes, "the biggest challenge in leadership is leading yourself." Having a coach or a mentor to give you feedback on your leadership is essential for efficiency and effectiveness. This feedback helps create awareness of your blind spots because you cannot see the picture when you are in the frame.

Visionary leadership comes with a price

Every great leader started with a dream. Having a dream is one thing, though realizing the dream is another. Here is another Maxwell classic. "Your dream is free, but the journey is not." In other words, you have to be willing to pay the price to realize the dream. Every dream that has ever gotten accomplished consisted of some hardship endured by the dreamer. The dreamer had to pay the price.

Three questions followers ask their leaders

During the process of deciding on following a leader, people across cultures generally ask themselves three questions. According to Maxwell, they first ask, "do you care for me?" Secondly, they ask, "can you help me?" And thirdly, "can I trust you?" The leader's responsibility is to do all they can to ensure these questions get answered in the affirmative.

These are the five lessons I have learned from leadership guru John Maxwell. To be sure, these lessons will enhance your skills in leading your life and that of your team as you seek to influence the lives and decisions of those you lead.