John Maxwell is one of the world’s foremost authority on the subject of leadership. He has authored many books on leadership and is a New York Times best selling author, who has sold more than 26 million books in fifty languages. The American Management Association has recognized him as the number one leader in business, while Business Insider and Inc. Magazine recognize 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 tutelage and I have to admit, he is the “real deal.” He is inspiring, authentic and passionate about developing other leaders so they may carry on his legacy of adding value to others. Quite frankly! I am impressed! That being said, here are five lessons from leadership guru John Maxwell, that I have recently learned during the first hour of a three day conference I attended.

Leaders need to be authentic

People like 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. She¬†is a member of our “tribe,” we can trust her.

People follow leaders who care about them

The old 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 be addressed.

An effective leader is good at leading himself/herself

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 important for efficiency and effectiveness. This helps to create awareness of your blindspots, because you cannot see the picture when you are in the frame.

Visionary leadership comes with a price

Every great leader started out 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 a price for the realization of the dream. Every dream that has ever been accomplished, consisted of some hardship endured by the dreamer. A price had to be paid.

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?” It is the leaders responsibility to do all that she can, to ensure these questions are 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.