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1-Page Summary of The 21 Irrefutable Laws Of Leadership


There are 21 laws of leadership in John Maxwell’s book, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership (2007). He learned these lessons from his years as a pastor and leadership mentor. This is the 10th anniversary edition.

There are 21 laws of leadership. Although some people may not be able to apply all the laws, a good leader should strive to improve upon them. If one law is difficult for a person to uphold, he or she should share leadership with someone who makes up for that weakness.

The laws of leadership are based on the properties and characteristics of a leader. For example, a leader’s accomplishments are limited by his or her skill as a leader. Further, leaders who empower others will attract followers with similar qualities to themselves.

In his book, Maxwell shares lessons from leading a church and starting EQUIP. He learned how to gain the approval of influencers by involving them in the construction project at Skyline Church, as well as gaining their support for the project. He also gained more members’ buy-in by making sure they were comfortable with the investment and felt involved with planning it out. Furthermore, he developed leaders among those already in the church so that there would be many who could take over when he left.

Key Takeaways

Leadership skills are a cap on the potential success of leaders. Leaders can only influence followers who know they care about them and that they’re motivated to help them succeed. Improving leadership skills is an ongoing process that must be done every day. A good leader has intuition, which helps him or her make decisions at the right time in order to achieve victory without compromising their values. It’s important for a leader to guide followers’ energy and resources towards achieving goals together with no compromise for defeat. People will only follow someone they trust, so it’s up to the leader to demonstrate his or her strengths and weaknesses as well as he or she leads others toward victory

Leaders should build a team around them that can help compensate for their weaknesses. They should empower those people to become leaders as well, because it will result in faster growth of the organization. The leader’s responsibility is to lead by example and embody what followers should do. Followers will commit once they are loyal to the leader.

Leaders are able to keep things going in the right direction. They face the challenge of overcoming obstacles and keeping momentum positive. Leaders focus on what will get them the best results, not just getting things done for its own sake. The more responsibility a leader has, the more they must sacrifice their time and energy to get it done, but that’s okay because they’re remembered for who they empowered.

Key Takeaway 1: A leader’s potential for success is capped by his or her leadership skills. Leadership ability is also a cap on the leadership skills of the leader’s followers.

There’s a leadership law that says leaders can only achieve so much. The level of their ability to lead is dependent on their own talent and skill as well as the respect they have from their followers. A talented leader will be able to take his or her team farther than someone who isn’t as skilled. When people are grouped together without a formal structure, like in your company, there will naturally be a hierarchy based on respect levels.

In foreign policy, the emigration of highly educated citizens out of a country because of low quality or few opportunities is sometimes called brain drain. Iran is an example of a country still struggling from the impact of brain drain, which increased after Mahmoud Ahmadinejad became president. Businesspeople, scientists and doctors fled the country because they feared increasing difficulties under international sanctions and economic turmoil. Some aspects are tied to policies set by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. Individuals who saw few leadership qualities in Ahmadinejad and Khamenei would be motivated to emigrate according to laws governing respect for leaders and motivation through personal goals.

The 21 Irrefutable Laws Of Leadership Book Summary, by John C. Maxwell