Author: John Maxwell
Publisher: Thomas Nelson Publishers
Reviewer: Goke Ilesanmi
In the corporate environment today, great leaders are required to achieve success. Leadership is the ability to lead others by influence. Great leaders never desire to lead but to serve, and there are some minutes that are very critical to leaders’ success daily. The desire to educate (prospective) leaders on these critical minutes informs my choice of this book entitled “The 21 Most Powerful Minutes in a Leader’s Day” with the subtitle “Revitalise Your Spiritual and Empower Your Leadership”, for review.
John Maxwell, author of this book is the founder of INJOY, a leadership development institute dedicated to helping leaders reach and maximise their potential both in the Christian and secular worlds. Maxwell speaks nationally and internationally on a variety of subjects bordering on leadership, church administration, growth, attitude, etc.
He illuminates that one great question he asks himself every day of his life is how he can become a better leader. It is not surprising then that he has written extensively on leadership. According to the author, it takes time to become a leader. Maxwell stresses that while a few people appear to be born leaders, the ability to lead is actually a collection of skills, nearly all of which can be learnt and sharpened.
This leadership expert presents a daily plan to help you grow as a leader in your personal, professional as well as spiritual life. Leadership is very taxing and has multiplicity of facets such as respect, experience, emotional strength, vision, timing, people skills, etc., says the author. He submits that the good news is that your leadership ability is not static. Maxwell adds that no matter where you are right now, you can reach new, higher levels of effectiveness, and this text can be a vital tool in that process.
He discloses that he is constantly searching for new things to learn and ways to grow, but sometimes the best way to learn is to return to the fundamentals. This explains why he had to go back to the Source, to the greatest leadership book ever written: the Bible. Maxwell stresses that every leadership lesson he has ever taught has been based on scriptural principles. He brings the varieties of leadership contained in the Bible to the forefront. By examining the lives of the great leaders in the Bible, we can learn more about leadership and apply the principles we learn to our daily lives, asserts Maxwell.
Structurally, this text is divided into twenty-one chapters spread over twenty-one weeks. Each week is further segmented into five days. Chapter one is based on the subject matter of the law of the lid. Extracting from the law of the lid in “The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership”, Maxwell says success is within the reach of just about everyone. He adds that personal success without leadership ability brings only limited effectiveness. In Maxwell’s words, “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….”
He expatiates that leadership ability is the lid that determines a person’s level of effectiveness and the lower an individual’s ability to lead, the lower the lid on his potential. Your leadership ability – for better or for worse – always determines your effectiveness and the potential impact of your organisation, Maxwell educates.
Chapter two is based on the thematic focus of the law of influence. Here, this expert says leadership is influence. He adds that when you become a student of leaders, you begin to recognise people’s level of influence in everyday situations all around you. Maxwell says one of the people he admires and respects most as a leader is his good friend Bill Hybels, the senior pastor of Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Illinois, North America. In his words, “Bill says he believes that the church is the most leadership-intensive enterprise in society…Leaders have only their influence to aid them…Followers in voluntary organisations cannot be forced to get on board. If the leader has no influence with them, then they won’t follow.”
Maxwell says leaders do not possess influence in every area as our influence is either positive or negative. He stresses that faithful leaders use their influence to add value and with influence comes responsibility.
In chapters three to six, the author analytically X-rays concepts such as the laws of process, navigation, E.F. Hutton and solid ground. Maxwell educates that becoming a leader is a lot like investing successfully in the stock market. That is, if your hope is to make a fortune in just one day, you are not going to be successful. He asserts that leaders who navigate do even more than control the direction in which they and their people travel as they see the whole trip in their minds before they leave the dock. Maxwell says when it comes to identifying the real leader, the proof of leadership is found in the followers. He explains that a leader’s history of successes and failures makes a big difference in his credibility.
Chapter seven is based on the law of respect. Here, Maxwell submits that people do not follow others by accident; rather, they follow individuals whose leadership they respect. He expatiates that the less-skilled follow the more-highly-skilled and gifted. The author adds that occasionally, a stronger leader may choose to follow somebody who is weaker than he is. “But when that happens, it’s for a reason… The stronger leader may do it out of respect for the person’s office or past accomplishments. Or he may be following the chain of command,” illuminates Maxwell.
In chapters eight to 12, the author examines the concepts of the laws of intuition, magnetism, connection, the inner circle and empowerment. He says only empowered people can reach their potential and when a leader cannot empower others, such a leader creates barriers within the organisation that people cannot overcome.
Chapter thirteen focuses on the law of reproduction. Here, Maxwell submits that it takes a leader to raise a leader. He says it is true that a few people step into leadership because their organisation experiences a crisis, and they are compelled to do something about it. The leadership expert adds that another small group is comprised of people with such great natural gifts and instincts that they are able to navigate their way into leadership on their own. Maxwell educates that more than four out of five of all the leaders that you ever meet will have emerged as leaders because of the impact made on them by established leaders who mentored them.
In chapters fourteen to eighteen, Maxwell beams his analytical searchlight on the laws of buy-in, victory, the Big Mo, priorities and sacrifice respectively. He says it takes a leader to create momentum, reflecting that leaders never grow to a point where they no longer prioritise. Maxwell asserts that sacrifice is a constant thing in leadership, not a one-time payment.
In chapter nineteen, he examines the law of timing. Maxwell stresses that when to lead is as important as what to do and where to go. He adds that when leaders do the right things at the right time, success is almost inevitable. The author says people, principles and processes converge to make an incredible impact. And the results touch not only the leaders but also the followers and the whole organisation, submits Maxwell.
In chapters twenty and twenty-one, the laws of explosive growth and legacy are discussed. He says leaders who develop followers grow their organisations only one person at a time, while leaders that develop leaders multiply their growth “because for every leader they develop, they also receive all of that leader’s followers”. Maxwell adds that a leader’s lasting value is measured by succession.
As regards style, the language of the text is simple and the presentation very fantastic. For instance, Maxwell generously employs biblical and literary/classical allusions as well as illuminating illustrations to achieve conceptual amplification and ensure concrete conviction on readers’ part. This author displays temporal stylistic creativity by segmenting the text into twenty-one chapters spread over twenty-one weeks. Each week is further sub-divided into five days, while every day focuses on one predominant leadership thought, lesson, etc, for easy and memorable study.
However, on page 206, an error is noticed. Here, Maxwell says “If a company has poor leaders, what little leadership it has will only get worse…” instead of “If a company has poor leaders, whatever little leadership it has will only get worse…” Also on page 99, the expression “…a stronger leader may choose to follow somebody who is weaker than himself” is used instead of “…a stronger leader may choose to follow somebody who is weaker than he (is).” This is a grammatical error of inaccurate use of the comparative with an isolated pronoun, especially that “himself”, the reflexive form of the personal pronoun is used instead of the subject case “he”, grammatically used with the primary auxiliary verb “is” in full.
Generally, this text is conceptually fascinating. This compendium of insightful leadership tips is highly recommended to anybody that wants to become a great leader in life. It is especially recommended to politicians, civil servants, entrepreneurs, managing directors, religious leaders, etc. in my country, Nigeria.
GOKE ILESANMI, Editor-in-Chief/CEO of https://www.gokeilesanmi.com.ng and Managing Consultant/CEO of Gokmar Communication Consulting, is a Certified Public Speaker/Emcee, (Business) Communication Specialist, Motivational Speaker, Career Management Coach, Renowned Book Reviewer, Corporate Leadership Expert and Editorial Consultant.
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