Books: Grow As a LeaderBy
Twenty-five years ago, John C. Maxwell brought us his influential work Developing the Leader Within You. With the continued belief that leadership can be developed within each of us, he extensively rewrote the original with a more singular focus on the internal needs of leaders in his recently released, updated version of that timeless volume
The revised 2.0 edition contains two new integral chapters: “The Heart of Leadership: Serving People” and “The Expansion of Leadership: Personal Growth.” Each chapter ends with a personal application segment containing specific ideas for implementation of that leadership quality. As Maxwell points out in a discussion on character, the reality is that leading by example is often the most difficult task we face every day.
According to Maxwell, the core of true leadership is influence. Regardless of position or title, everyone can realize their potential as a leader and develop an ability to make a positive impact on their peers and employees. Developing influence occurs within five levels of leadership that build upon one another: position, permission, production, people development, and pinnacle. At the pinnacle of leadership, the leader holds all levels simultaneously.
One of the keys to growing in influence is managing priorities. When everything is a priority, nothing is a priority, or, as philosopher and psychologist William James said, “The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook.” Maxwell believes that our lifelong journeys of developing and expanding ourselves as leaders depends on our commitment to personal growth and development. Having a growth mind-set increases hope and teaches us that tomorrow can be better than today. An attitude of learning, coupled with a decision to serve others, can help to catapult the teams we lead to greater success.
The time to start developing the leadership potential within each of us is now, as there often isn’t time for last-minute preparation when opportunity arises unexpectedly. Maxwell encourages us to ask questions, keep the bar measuring performance high, be people-centric, remain conscious of multiple stakeholders’ perspectives, and stay focused on the current moment. The development and expansion of our leadership skills in the future depends on our ability to grow personally today. The bottom line: Find time today and every day to invest in your potential by honing necessary leadership skills and attributes.