Overview: The book purports to be exactly what its title implies. It suggests that these laws of leadership (I’d be more comfortable if he called them principles.):
a) can be learned,
b) can stand alone, i.e. they aren’t built on one another,
c) carry consequences if not applied or followed, and
d) are the foundation of all leadership. (See introduction to the book, p. xxi)
The 21 Laws? 1) the lid, 2) influence, 3) process, 4) navigation, 5) addition, 6) solid ground, 7) respect, 8] intuition, 9) magnestism, 10) connection, 11) the inner circle, 12) empowerment, 13) reproduction, 14) buy-in, 15) victory, 16) Big Mo, 17) priorities, 18) sacrifice, 19) timing, 20) explosive growth, and 21) legacy.
Critique: Maxwell’s genius is in making complex things simple. He has done that admirably here. I am generally skeptical of him, viewing Maxwell largely as a Scripture-light, positive mental attitude guy. He is that. But that doesn’t negate the fact that he is a genius at simplification and this book on leadership is one of his best efforts.
A Suggested Application Plan:
- Reread the book over a 21 one week period.
- Write out all of the “Laws” from the Table of contents and put them on one sheet and carry around in your journal.
- Develop a practical practice drill each week and work the principle into your schedule and life.
- Take two young leaders through the principles each year.
- Make it your prayer and ambition not to fall victim of failing at law 21. Make sure you leave a legacy.
“Leadership develops daily; not in a day.” (p. 24)
“Sacrifice is a constant in leadership. It is an ongoing process not a one time payment.” (p. 219)
“Great leaders often leave great voids when they leave.” (p. 258)
“Trust is the foundation of leadership. … When it comes to leadership, you just can’t take shortcuts, no matter how long you have been leading your people.” (p. 62-63)
Afterward: The best book on leadership ever written, is J.Oswald Sanders, Spiritual Leadership. If you have never read it, treat yourself and the people you lead by buying it for yourself this Christmas. Read it.