Do you believe you were born to lead? For good reason, not many people do. Even if you have always been the leader of every group you’ve been a part of since kindergarten, this just indicates that you are more dominating than others. There is no such thing as a born leader.
It is entirely up to you to hone your leadership skills. It’s all about inspiring others to follow you, and John C. Maxwell’s book, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, explains how to do so. Even if you concentrate on only a few of the 21 rules of leadership, it lays out the most crucial ones so you can learn the characteristics and abilities that will strengthen your capacity to lead.
Nowadays, there seems to be a McDonald’s on every corner. But do you know how this titan began? It all started in 1937 when brothers Dick and Maurice McDonald in Pasadena, California, launched a modest drive-in restaurant that focused more on hot dogs than hamburgers. A few years later, they moved to San Bernardino, California, where they turned their kitchen into a quick manufacturing line and started serving hamburgers.
The brothers decided to franchise their fast-food business in 1952, but they encountered difficulties right away. One of the 21 unquestionable principles of leadership, the Law of the Lid, was responsible for this. It claims that one particular quality—your capacity for leadership—limits the potential success of both you and your business.
The brothers’ difficulties in franchising their company were due to this. Despite having brilliant ideas and excellent customer service skills, they were utterly ineffective as leaders, which made very few franchisees willing to place their trust in the notion.
After they reached an agreement with Ray Kroc to grow the company, this became even more clear. Being a superb leader in his own right, Kroc immediately set to work resolving the issues by selecting other leaders for all of the crucial roles. In order to get things going smoothly, he took out personal bank loans, paid out his life insurance policy, and sacrificed his own paycheck for years even though he actually couldn’t afford to pay them.
The outcomes are self-evident. Ray Kroc closed 100 franchise deals in his first four years with the business and over 400 more in the next four years, but the McDonald brothers alone only secured 15 franchise deals.
Due to the leader’s enormous importance, it is also common for the leader to bear the brunt of an organization’s problems. For instance, one of the first recommendations made by the consultants from the consulting firm Global Hospitality Resources when they are hired to help a struggling hotel is to dismiss the manager. To them, it stands to reason that the hotel wouldn’t need assistance in the first place if it had a strong leader.
If leaders don’t perform properly, the Law of the Lid demonstrates that they are in a vulnerable position. How do you prevent this from happening to you, then? The Law of Influence is the law that follows.
You need to seek for indications of the most crucial quality, the capacity to persuade others, if you want to hire someone who has demonstrated leadership aptitude in the past. Search for followers rather than just looking for the right job titles on a résumé. A true leader should be able to point to a long list of those they have influenced.
Consider Mother Teresa: Although she may have given the impression of being little and feeble, she was an incredible leader who amassed a personal army of supporters to help her cause of providing food and aid to the underprivileged. People would pause and pay attention whenever she talked because they admired her excellent leadership skills.
She founded the Missionaries of Charity, an international organization, with the help of thousands of volunteers and supporters. Even at a period when the majority of Catholic churches were having trouble keeping their members, she kept gaining adherents.
How then can you become more influential? You must exercise intuition and be aware of the elusive elements that might influence your followers. You should be able to tell when someone is feeling unfairly treated, for instance. With intuition, you can anticipate conflict and find solutions before they seriously harm your company.
A further effective strategy for improving morale and persuading others to follow your lead is to emphasize prior accomplishments. If people can point to past accomplishments rather than a trail of failures, it will be simpler to inspire them and give them confidence that they’re moving in the right path.
Let’s quickly review the Watergate scandal to see what transpires when leadership fails. Members of President Nixon’s administration were convicted of criminal offenses, including breaking into the Democratic National Committee offices, in the early 1970s.
As a result, Nixon was compelled to resign after losing the confidence of the American people. This brings us to the Law of Solid Ground, according to which leaders must build their strategies on a strong foundation of mutual trust.
People won’t just follow anyone, after all; they need a leader they can rely on, someone who is trustworthy and who treats his followers with honesty, fairness, and good judgment. Taking shortcuts rather than adhering to the correct processes is one common approach to lose people’s confidence. Whether it’s giving someone a promotion or terminating an employee, the majority of firms have policies governing how things should be done. A leader risks coming out as contemptuous if he disregards these guidelines.
If you suddenly decide to take shortcuts, you risk losing the trust of your whole business by creating the idea that you are above the rules. Leaders are supposed to be the ones who enforce the rules and hold people accountable for obeying them.
Nixon’s collapse was a result of his approval of an illegal act that gave the appearance that he was exempt from the law. The author also provides a personal illustration. He was a senior pastor for the Skyline Church in San Diego at the time, and during a particularly busy holiday season, he came to the conclusion that he had to fire a staff member right away. Even though the author had excellent intentions, his hasty decision upset the church congregation, and he had to work hard to regain their trust. He made this decision on his own without consulting the community first.
Any leader needs to have both influence and trust, but it’s also critical that they have their followers’ respect. The Law of Respect comes into play when followers come across a strong leader who is more capable, dedicated, and brave than they are. These are precisely the traits that followers seek in a leader.
A fantastic illustration of a well-respected leader is Harriet Tubman. She was born a slave in 1820, eventually made her way to a state that was free, Pennsylvania, and started assisting other slaves in securely making their way out by rising to the position of leader in the Underground Railroad. Everyone Tubman worked with respected her for her amazingly strong will, especially the fugitive slaves she helped free by escorting them on perilous treks to the North.
People’s admiration for Tubman was greatly influenced by the dangers she was prepared to take. She showed courage and tenacity every time she set out for the South to begin another assignment. At every point, failure and death were threats. Southerners raised the price on her head every time she freed a new group of slaves. Despite these dangers, Tubman persisted in going on at least 19 expeditions, and admiration for her daring only rose.
Tubman’s obvious loyalty to her cause is another strong motivator for respect. You can demonstrate your loyalty as a leader by being committed to the objectives and well-being of your followers. Given how difficult it may be to find loyal people these days, this is a desirable attribute. Executives, professional athletes, and coaches frequently follow the money. However, their supporters may stop respecting them as a result of their erratic allegiance.
On the other hand, leaders gain respect by persevering while the company is having a hard time. That’s why great athletes and coaches continue with their teams despite a losing streak, and true business leaders battle to keep their employees employed when the organization experiences a difficult period.
Check out my related post: Do you live in a dog eat dog world?
I absolutely led with many Maxwell books during my days. I was fortunate to hear him speak! Great wisdom!