Lessons I’ve Learned from a Lifetime of Leading
Want to learn to be a better leader? There’s probably no one better in the world to teach you that than John C. Maxwell. And here he is, once again, with another one of his classics, “Leadership Gold”!
About John C. Maxwell
John C. Maxwell is possibly the world’s leading authority on leadership and related matters. Founder of EQUIP and the John Maxwell Company, he has so far sold over 20 million books. Almost each of them is rated highly. And we have the summaries of few of them: “Put Your Dream to the Test,” “The Five Levels of Leadership,” and “The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership.”
“Leadership Gold Summary”
In the world of leadership thinkers, John Calvin Maxwell is a perennial favorite. So much so, in fact, that he was chosen by “Inc Magazine” as the No. 1 leadership and management expert on the planet!
Consequently, he enjoys very much the same reputation on our site as well. Unsurprisingly, we included his most famous book, “The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership” among our top 15 leadership books of all time.
And you can consider “Leadership Gold” a companion piece: although, written in a much more relaxed manner, from the depth and the breadth of his enormous experience. (Though, be warned: one of the gold nuggets in his book is: “experience is not the best teacher.”)
Once again – this time in 26 chapters – Maxwell uncovers what it means to be a leader. And how you can become a great one.
The first and main idea of the book: “if it’s lonely at the top, you’re not doing something right!” Because, becoming a leader is not only about winning; in fact, as we have learned before, one of leaders’ greatest strengths is the ability to nurture strong relationships.
So, be a “climber” up the corporate leader, but be a “connector” as well. Because, as you will find out later on, it’s the connectors who really move the world around!
However, be aware that your character is built in the process and that there will always be some crucial moments when your decisions will either make or break you. Churchill said it well: ““In every age there comes a time when a leader must come forward to meet the needs of the hour.”
But, John Wooden said it even better: “There is a choice you have to make in everything you do. So, keep in mind that in the end, the choice you make, makes you.”
And there are three critical choices you must make as a great leader.
First, you must choose to expect more from yourself than anyone else. Then, you have to make helping people your priority: pleasing them leads nowhere. Finally, you must find a way to forget the past, concentrate on the present, and plan the future.
And concentration is a trait of the good listeners. They know what’s happening because they are attentive. And they can learn better than the others because they learn from everywhere.
In addition, they are able to see other people’s strengths and weaknesses better; and this is a prerequisite to make them better employees.
Key Lessons from “Leadership Gold”
1. Defining Moments Define You as a Leader
2. Make Three Critical Choices Before You Make Anything Else
3. People Quit People – Not Companies
Defining Moments Define You as a Leader
It’s easy to be a leader when everything’s nice and funny. It’s difficult to be one when the going gets tough. And you know what they – only the tough get going then.
Well, not exactly. Depends on the moment, says Maxwell. Sometimes it’s the tough, but sometimes it’s the vulnerable. For example, George Bush touched the hearts of the Americans after the September 11 attacks on the WTC, but failed to be a powerful leader after the Hurricane Katrina.
So, assess the crucial situation. And act accordingly!
Make Three Critical Choices Before You Make Anything Else
No matter what you do in life, you have to make some choice. And there are so many you can do nowadays, that it’s getting quite difficult to make the right ones.
So, focus on the more important ones. If you want to be a good leader, Maxwell says that you should make three critical choices.
First of all, you need to expect from yourself more than what others expect from you. Secondly, you need to learn how to help – not please – people. And finally, you must always concentrate on the present.
People Quit People – Not Companies
Being a good leader means being a behavioral paragon for your employees. In fact, studies have shown that when someone quits, more often than not, he/she quits because of the leader or the manager. Not because of the company.
Remember that: if someone doesn’t like your company, quite probably it’s you he doesn’t like.
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