The saying leaders are readers is very true. With so many books written by leaders, dreamers, and explorers of the human psyche, there is an endless supply of wisdom, advice, and mind-shifting views on any topic you can think of.
As leaders then, we can always find a gem to apply in our pursuit of improved influence on those we seek to impact. All hidden in the pages of a book.
One particular book that has been invaluable to me in trying to constantly make sure I am on the right track, and also happens to be the first leadership book I ever read from cover to cover, is John C. Maxell's 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership.
What makes this such a handy book, is that each of the 21-Laws can be used, developed, and applied independently of all the others. That does not mean that you need to apply only one of the laws to be a leader. Far from it. The more you can apply, the more rounded a leader you will become.
Two laws that I constantly work on or remind myself to develop are The Law of The Lid and The Law of Respect.
The reason I favour these particular two is that one looks inward and the other outward.
The Law of the Lid simply states that your ability to lead depends on the level of the Lid on your ability. If your leadership lid is at a two, you will never be able to lead past that level. In order to lead past your current lid-determined level, you need to lift your lid. How do you do that? Self-development. Learning. Reading.
This is how John illustrates the Law of The Lid
Whenever I reach a point where I feel I am not effective in my leadership, I look at what is limiting me. What I need to change, or perhaps a new area I need to develop.
The Law of the Lid, when we truly understand it, helps us to see and understand our own limitations, and work on developing the skills we need to in order to improve the impact we have on the world around us.
The Law of Respect - that I see as the outward-facing - is one I always remind myself must be at the forefront of all we do.
I have a simple credo in life when it comes to respecting people. No matter who you are, how much money you have, or what title you have, I will always treat everyone with the same level of respect. I will shake the hand of a president, the same way I would shake the hand of a beggar on the street.
Your station and your wealth do not define who you are. It may get you recognition from society and those who like name dropping, but remove all of the wealth, the brass nameplate on the door, and the fancy cars, and we are all the same. Who you are as a person, deep inside, determines the respect that you earn. Respect is birthed from a place of love. If we have God's love inside us, through the Holy Spirit, how can we not respect anyone and everyone? Jesus treated tax collectors, prostitutes, and lepers all with the same love and respect as He did His disciples.
Just imagine how different this world would be today if we all treated each other with respect regardless of our faith, skin color, or political affiliations.
I can recommend this book as a must-read to anyone wanting to grow, not only in leadership but in life.
Find two or three laws that you can take with you on your leadership journey.