John C. Maxwell

John C.

Author, Speaker, Founder and CEO of The John Maxwell Co. and EQUIP teaching Leadership

Author Quotes

Policies are many, Principles are few, Policies will change, Principles never do.

The 21 Indispensible Qualities of a Leader
CHARACTER: Be a Piece of the Rock
CHARISMA: The First Impression Can Seal the Deal.
COMMITMENT: It Separates Doers from Dreamers.
COMMUNICATION: Without It You Travel Alone.
COMPETENCE: If You Build It, They Will Come.
COURAGE: One Person with Courage Is a Majority.
DISCERNMENT: Put an End to Unsolved Mysteries.
FOCUS: The Sharper It Is, the Sharper You Are.
GENEROSITY: Your Candle Loses Nothing When It Lights Another.
INITIATIVE: You Won’t Leave Home Without It.
LISTENING: To Connect with Their Hearts, Use Your Ears.
PASSION: Take This Life and Love It.
POSITIVE ATTITUDE: If You Believe You Can, You Can.
PROBLEM SOLVING: You Can’t Let Your Problems Be a Problem.
RELATIONSHIPS: If You Get Along, They’ll Go Along.
RESPONSIBILITY: If You Won’t Carry the Ball, You Can’t Lead the Team.
SECURITY: Competence Never Compensates for Insecurity.
SELF-DISCIPLINE: The First Person You Lead Is You.
SERVANTHOOD: To Get Ahead, Put Others First.
TEACHABILITY: To Keep Leading, Keep Learning.
VISION: You Can Seize Only What You Can.

The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership
THE LAW OF THE LID — Leadership Ability Determines a Person’s Level of Effectiveness.
THE LAW OF INFLUENCE — The True Measure of Leadership is Influence — Nothing More, Nothing Less.
THE LAW OF PROCESS — Leadership Develops Daily, Not in a Day.
THE LAW OF NAVIGATION — Anyone Can Steer the Ship, But It Takes a Leader to Chart the Course..
THE LAW OF ADDITION — Leaders Add Value by Serving Others.
THE LAW OF SOLID GROUND — Truth is the Foundation of Leadership.
THE LAW OF RESPECT — People Naturally Follow Leaders Stronger Than Themselves.
THE LAW OF INTUITION — Leaders Evaluate Everything with a Leadership Bias.
THE LAW OF MAGNETISM – Who You Are is Who You Attract.
THE LAW OF CONNECTION. – Leaders Touch a Heart Before They Ask for a Hand.
THE LAW OF THE INNER CIRCLE – A Leader’s Potential is Determined by Those Closest to Him.
THE LAW OF EMPOWERMENT – Only Secure Leaders Give Power to Others.
THE LAW OF THE PICTURE – People Do What People See.
THE LAW OF BUY-IN – People Buy into the Leader, Then the Vision.
THE LAW OF VICTORY – Leaders Find a Way for the Team to Win.
THE LAW OF THE BIG MO – Momentum is a Leader’s Best Friend.
THE LAW OF PRIORITIES – Leaders Understand that Activity is Not Necessarily Accomplishment.
THE LAW OF SACRIFICE – A Leader Must Give Up to Go Up.
THE LAW OF TIMING – When to Lead is As Important as What to Do and Where to Go.
THE LAW OF EXPLOSIVE GROWTH – To Add Growth, Lead Followers – To Multiply, Lead Leaders.
THE LAW OF LEGACY – A Leader’s Lasting Value is Measured by Succession.

Affirmation from others is fickle and fleeting. If you want to make an impact during your lifetime, you have to trade the praise you could receive from others for the things of value that you can accomplish. You can’t be ‘one of the boys’ and follow your destiny at the same time.

The continual search for happiness is a primary reason that so many people are miserable. If you make happiness your goal, you are almost certainly destined to fail. You will be on a continual roller coaster, changing from successful to unsuccessful with every mood change. Life is uncertain, and emotions aren’t stable. Happiness simply cannot be relied upon as a measure of success.

Maxwell identifies the following trade-offs that serve as landmarks: 1) achievement over affirmation, 2) excellence over acceptability, 3) personal growth over immediate pleasure, 4) future potential over financial gain, 5) a narrow focus over scattered interests, and significant over security.

There are three qualities a leader must exemplify to build trust: competence, connection, and character.

Leadership isn’t a position, it’s a process.

True leadership cannot be awarded, appointed, or assigned. It comes only from influence, and that can’t be mandated. It must be earned. The only thing a title can buy is a little time – either to increase your level of influence with others or to erase it.

Where there is no hope in the future, there is no power in the present.

The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The leader adjusts the sails.

A big man is one who makes us feel bigger when we are with him.

The greatest day in your life and mine is when we take total responsibility for our attitudes. That's the day we truly grow up.

The timing of your decision is just as important as the decision you make.
To establish appropriate timing for a decision, first discern the connection between the needs around you and the calling within you. When assessing the ramifications for decisions, leaders must take into account the repercussions of failure. Plain common sense can be the best deterrent to far-fetched opportunities. All too often, would-be decision-makers take too much time collecting, analyzing and reanalyzing information, hoping for that one last convincing detail that will dictate the correct choice. Consider if the passage of time shrinks available options or creates new ones.

Although it's admirable to be ambitious and hard-working, it's more desirable to be smart-working. The key to becoming a more efficient leader isn't checking off all the items on your to-do list each day. It's in forming the habit of prioritizing your time so that you are accomplishing your most important goals in an efficient manner.

Teams make you better than you are, multiply your value, enable you to do what you do best, allow you to help others do their best, give you more time, provide you with companionship, help you fulfill the desires of your heart and compound your vision and effort. Transmit your vision emotionally by gaining credibility, demonstrating passion, establishing relationships and communicating a felt need. Transmit it logically by confronting reality, formulating strategy, accepting responsibility, celebrating victory and learning from defeat. Values hold the team together, provide stability for the team to grow upon, measure the team's performance, give direction and guidance and attract like-minded people.

Reaching the top is a monumental achievement, but remaining there may be the most spectacular feat of all. The biggest detriment to tomorrow's success is today's success. Passion creates energy and magnetically pulls co-workers and customers into a shared vision, and it is exceptionally strong when linked with a leader's values. Leaders don't rise to the pinnacle of success without developing the right set of attitudes and habits; they make every day a masterpiece. The best leaders are humble enough to realize their victories depend upon their people.

It doesn't matter how hard or long you work if you're not accomplishing what needs to be done. Plan and execute your first failure so that you no longer have to fear it. If the size of a task causes you to procrastinate or completely shy away, break it into smaller, more manageable tasks.
Often people fail to start or complete a task because they don't see any connection between what they're doing and what they really want to accomplish in life.

The more seriously you take your growth, the more seriously your people will take you. Leaders never outgrow the need to change. My leadership began to take flight when I allowed myself to press people to change—whether they thanked me or cursed me. Eventually, you must disengage from the relationships you’ve outgrown, or they will limit your growth as a leader.
Leadership involves the heavy burden of responsibility, and the fear of getting it wrong can paralyze a leader. Confront your inadequacies and push your personal boundaries: It’s the surest way to grow, improve and expand the scope of your influence.

Don't judge what your people want to tell you before they've told you. Listen to them. Part of your job as a leader is to help your people figure out what they're most passionate about, and then to help them pursue it.

When you delegate a task to your people, make a point to help them capture your vision for what the completed task will look like. Hold your people accountable to a measurable standard of excellence, and make rewards and consequences a part of enforcing the standard. Give your people full responsibility (ownership) for the completion of specific tasks and the prospect of sharing in the rewards that result.

The better you are at surrounding yourself with people of high potential, the greater your chance for success. Every relationship in your organization will affect you one way or another. Those who do not increase you will inevitably decrease you.

Consider who you are working with: Part of the art of leadership is discovering the unique relationship between the needs of the individual and the organization. People only know that you and the organization intend to meet their needs when you tell them so. Determine how to help the person, tell them how you will do it, and follow through – before asking the individual to do things in return for you. People working together ultimately succeed or fail based on their commitment to one another.
Never give up easily on one of your people; it does a disservice to that individual and to you.

When you are the leader in your field, it takes a greater level of innovation and commitment to stay there. Make a point to continually search for a better way of doing things, even when things are going well, to ensure that a better alternative has not been overlooked and to keep your creative talents in practice. Practice mental agility: Before you write off a far-fetched idea, back up and look at the big picture, because it might fit perfectly on another level. Have fun: When you are truly having fun in your work, creativity flows freely.

People are an organization's only appreciable asset, but creative people are an organization's most needed asset. Be willing to absorb some risk and failures to allow people freedom to express themselves. Creative leaders inherently know when rules need to be challenged, and they can see when a more flexible approach should be taken. Handle the ideas of your people carefully: If an idea is half-developed but has potential, pass it to the people in your organization who are proven process thinkers and implementers. Sometimes giving your people permission to be creative is not enough; inspire them by modeling creativity.
The word 'reactive' and the word 'creative' are made up of exactly the same letters; the only difference between the two is that you 'c' (see) differently.

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Author, Speaker, Founder and CEO of The John Maxwell Co. and EQUIP teaching Leadership