The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership (Old Version) Book Summary - The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership (Old Version) Book explained in key points
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The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership (Old Version) summary

John C. Maxwell

Follow Them and People Will Follow You

4.5 (541 ratings)
20 mins

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The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John C. Maxwell is a guide to becoming a better leader. With examples and insights, it provides practical knowledge and guidance to help individuals lead and inspire others towards success.

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    The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership (Old Version)
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    The Law of Influence and the Law of Empowerment

    In 1832, a tall, gangly young man called Abraham Lincoln gathered a group of volunteers to fight in a militia in the Black Hawk War. There was just one problem: Lincoln knew absolutely nothing about being a soldier. He had no knowledge of tactics – in fact, he’d never served in the military. 

    During his time in the militia, Lincoln’s level of influence actually decreased. He began as a captain and ended as a mere private. Afterward, he spent time in the Illinois state legislature and the US House of Representatives with mediocre results. 

    Yet we know that Lincoln eventually grew enormously influential, led the Union to victory in the Civil War, and is today one of the most popular US presidents of all time. So, what changed? 

    The Law of Influence states that the truest measure of leadership is, well, influence. Leaders may not always look powerful, impressive, or charismatic – and they may not always have been born great. But the one thing they must have is influence. 

    So, how can you gain influence for yourself? Well, there are several key skills you can focus on. One central factor is character – who are you on the inside? Although this may seem like an intangible, wishy-washy concept, your followers (if you’re lucky enough to have some) will have a surprisingly good gauge on your depth of character. The more able they are to sense that character – the real you – the more likely they’ll be to keep following. Another way to obtain influence is by building up your own personal bank of knowledge. Lincoln never attended college, but if you’ve read any of his speeches, you’ll know that he was an incredibly learned man. 

    Lincoln embodied not only the Law of Influence but also the Law of Empowerment. This is the law that says secure leaders are willing to give power to others.

    Lincoln was well known for his willingness to cede power and authority. Just look at how he selected his cabinet. Many so-called leaders choose to surround themselves with like-minded yes-men. But not Lincoln. Instead, he deliberately chose cabinet members who would challenge him and bring diverse arguments to the table. To him, that was more important than being personally comfortable. 

    Lincoln’s dedication to the Law of Empowerment was also evident when it came to his attitude toward choosing military generals. Lincoln chose his generals himself and wrote to them personally. When they performed well, he gave them credit. And when they performed poorly, Lincoln took the blame. The Union generals succeeded because Lincoln stood strong and secure in his leadership.

    What made Lincoln’s use of the Law of Empowerment so successful was his belief in others. If you believe in another person, they’ll find it difficult not to believe in themselves too. 

    So a good question to ask yourself is, Do you believe in the people around you? And there’s an easy way to find out. Make a list of the people closest to you. Then rate each person’s potential on a scale of one to ten. Remember, you’re rating their potential here –⁠ not their current ability. If all of their numbers are low, then perhaps there’s a lesson to learn: your belief in other people is probably not very high. 

    Now, for each person on the list, take some time to write down their greatest strengths – and imagine how they might be able to leverage those strengths to achieve something spectacular. What could they become if they really made the most of their gifts? And what could you do to help them succeed?

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    What is The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership (Old Version) about?

    The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership (1998) explains what it takes to become a great leader. These blinks highlight many of the traits, skills and characteristics that have given leaders around the world the power to attract loyal followers and lead them toward success. Find out what Ray Kroc, Winston Churchill and Mother Theresa all have in common – and what you can do to become a better leader yourself.

    Who should read The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership (Old Version)?

    • Business executives and CEOs
    • Entrepreneurs looking for secrets to success
    • Students of business management

    About the Author

    John C. Maxwell, a pastor and bestselling author, is a specialist on the qualities of leadership. A popular keynote speaker, his other books include The 360° Leader and The 5 Levels of Leadership.

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