I have heard it said that if you think you are leading but nobody is following you – then you’re really just out on a long walk. Have you encountered a moment when you realize that nobody (or very few) are following you? Or that you don’t quite have the leadership ability or authority that you need to influence others? John Maxwell’s book – The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership – starts off with the concept of the “Law of the Lid,” where he explains that each of us have a ceiling on our leadership ability. Recognizing your lid is the first step to raising your leadership ability and becoming a stronger influence in others.
The Law of the Lid
Leadership Ability is the lid that Determines a Person’s Level of EffectivenessJohn Maxwell
Maxwell introduces the concept by telling the story of Dick and Maurice McDonald – who founded McDonald’s. They had the foresight, ingenuity and drive to open the first restaurant in 1937 and expand to a bigger one in 1948 and develop their “fast food” model. However, when they started trying to open new restaurants or sell franchises – they floundered or failed due to the limitations in their leadership ability. They hired a businessman named Ray Kroc who had a much higher “lid” and was able to make McDonald’s the massive chain restaurant it has become.
“I believe that success is within the reach of just about everyone. But I also believe that personal success without leadership ability brings only limited effectiveness. Without leadership ability, a person’s impact is only a fraction of what it could be with good leadership. The higher you want to climb, the more you need leadership. The greater the impact you want to make, the greater your influence needs to be. Whatever you will accomplish is restricted by your ability to lead others.”John Maxwell – The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership
The Logic of the Law:
If you have a low leadership ability (say a 2 out of 10), then you could work really hard and increase your effectiveness some. Or you could raise your Lid by learning to increase your leadership ability – and then exponentially increase your effectiveness in your work and leadership positions.
He concludes the chapter discussing how sometimes the leadership must change – or improve – in order to propel the organization toward expansion or growth. “When talented teams don’t win, examine the leadership.”
Short Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vmXbrxcnAhM
Applying the Law of the Lid to your life:
1) List some of your major goals – and identify which ones will require the participation or cooperation of other people. For these activities, your leadership ability will greatly impact your effectiveness.
2) Assess your leadership ability – and ask others to rate your leadership.
>> there are tools available in the book for this exercise.
Read this!! – Strong Leaders Stand for Progress
Reference: Maxwell, John C., The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: Follow Them and People Will Follow You, (HarperCollins Leadership; Revised & Updated edition, 2007).