The Law of the Lid

The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership 0 1478
Don't let your lack of leadership development limit you and your team

Test out where you are at with the Law of the Lid.  This is a test from the back of the 10th Anniversary Edition of the 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John Maxwell.  Use this as a tool to help you track against the Law of the Lid.

The Law of the Lid

Leadership Ability Determines a Person’s Level of Effectiveness

1. A) When Faced with a challenge my first thought is Who can I enlist to help? not What can I do?

2. B) When my team department or organization fails to achieve an objective my first assumption is that it’s some kind of leadership issue.

3. C) I believe that developing my leadership skills will increase my effectiveness dramatically.


And here’s the summary for Chapter 1 – The Law of the Lid – The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership – John Maxwell

This is the start of a series of posts on each of the chapters of the John Maxwell classic.  The format is starting with thoughts and a summary and ending with some bullet points with key take-aways.  You can see the full series as it grows here

Thoughts and Summary:

The first law states that your leadership ability will dictate your overall effectiveness.  Sure you can be extremely effective personally.  But can you be better than 2 people’s efforts combined?  3 people?  Maybe you are so talented that you are as productive as 10 people.  Unlikely, but maybe.

Leadership is an impact multiplier.  People who can’t learn to coach, delegate and empower will only be able to accomplish as much as they can personally accomplish, or as much as those they don’t drive crazy can accomplish with them, ha.  On the flip side, if on a leadership 1-10 scale, you are an 8 or 9 and you can coach, groom, delegate and empower through purpose, vision and team culture, then your accomplishments will be multiplied and only limited by the size of team that follow you.   Something like that is much easier to understand than to do, but that’s the ideal.

Maybe you are saying, thanks for obvious, but don’t overlook this.  There have been many times I’ve had to look myself in the mirror and ask, “Is my team not succeeding in a certain area because of weakness in my leadership ability?”  The answer pretty much every time is yes, whether we like to face it or not.  Invest in yourself, if not for you, then at least for them.

John Maxwell shares a lot of great stories that I’m not going to try to retell, but one of his last stories in this chapter is something to really chew on.  He talks about Don Stephenson from Global Hospitality Resources and how when they took over troubled hotels that he’d do two things, 1) teach people how to give better service and 2) fire the leader.  Seems drastic, but his response when asked if that was necessary was, “if he’d been good, then the organization wouldn’t’ be in this mess”.   At the end of the day, the buck stops with the leader and why we need to strive to introspectively ask ourselves how we can actively be less of a hindrance and more of a help to our teams every day.

Key concepts:

  • Your leadership ability or lack there of is the lid on your overall impact and influence in the world.  Hence the law of the lid.
  • On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being leadership rockstar, are you an 8?  Well, then your impact will at best be 7 or lower.   Are you a 4?  Then your impact ability will be only 3 or lower.
  • To increase impact, you can either work harder or increase your leadership ability.  Working harder vs increasing leadership ability is like addition vs multiplication.

Favorite quotes:

  • “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.”
  • “Leadership ability is always the lid on personal and organizational effectiveness.  If the leadership is strong, then the lid is high.  But if it’s not then the organization is limited”
  • “Wherever you look, you can find smart, talented, successful people who are able to go only so far because of the limitations of their leadership.”

Question to think about:  On a scale of 1-10 where do I think I rank as a leader?  How can I improve?  What am I doing this month to work on raising my leadership lid?  Books, videos, blogs, podcasts?  Would love to hear your answers!


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