Tuesday, May 09, 2006

The 21 Laws of Leadership

Success is a contextual value, having different definitions according the person, the time, and the circumstances.

In perhaps 80-95% of cases, our success is dependent on other people or rather our ability to get other people to provide the resources like time, money, information, wisdom, assistance, prestige, to achieve our goals.

When it comes to other people, we then need to have influence. And influence is leadership.

Perhaps, when I grew up I didn't understand what leadership is. But after understanding first that we have an underlying purpose in our lives, a goal to achieve, then leadership comes into the picture. Leadership is not a measure of our success. A person who's idea of success is living like a hermit on top of a mountain would not need leadership skills. But when it comes to achieving a success that involves the effort and resources of more than one person then leadership is needed.

Maxwell's 21 laws provides insight to what leadership is, through stories he illustrates principles that affect leadership and who the true leader is.

Most leadership books assume that you are the positional leader. E.g. the newly promoted manager, the CEO, the CG leader. And it then teaches you how to use that position or how group dynamics work, etc. Maxwell says that these leadership books aren't leadership books at all. They're actually management books.

Leadership is influence.

Maxwell's 21 Laws of Leadership in my own words:
  1. The Law of the Lid. This means that your leadership affects how much you can achieve. Ability to lead determines the degree of success in your endeavours.

  2. The Law of Influence. This means that leadership is influence. No matter what your positional power is. If you cannot get people to follow you, you're just going for a walk.

  3. The Law of Process. This means that it must be learnt and practices. When people confer to you a title, you don't really become a leader. Leadership is practised daily. A title just means that someone finally recognises your leadership ability.

  4. The Law of Navigation. You must plan ahead to handle obstacles. Excellence in gathering your resources and mapping your way through treacherous obstacles, whether social, psychic, materially, spiritually, politically.

  5. The Law of E.F. Hutton. This means that it isn't just the content of what you say that matters, it's who you are that matters even more. (Who is E.F. Hutton? Forget about E.F. Hutton. It's just something that means more to an American who has seen an insurance ad.) People listen to you because of who you are. Or to be more precise, your character, your relationships, your prestige, your credibility, your links, your track record, your knowledge and abilities.

To be continued...

Note: Every word that we say matters in life. Especially off the cuff. I've been influenced just as much by off-the-cuff remarks as well as by formal speeches and talks. As the Bible says, we are accountable for every word that we say.

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