John Maxwell’s Leadership Law #1: The Law of the Lid

By August 30, 2018 October 11th, 2023 Articles on Leadership

Last Updated on October 11, 2023 by Dave Schoenbeck

Could the potential success of your company be improved? If so, you might need to learn the Law of the Lid.

The Law of the Lid is a principle introduced by John Maxwell, a thought leader and motivational speaker in leadership. In The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, Maxwell uses the Law of the Lid to help you understand how leadership impacts every aspect of your daily life.A photo of John Maxwell's leadership law #1: The Law of the Lid

The Law of the Lid states that “leadership ability is the lid that determines a person’s level of effectiveness.

The lower an individual’s ability to lead, the lower the lid on his potential.” What does that mean for you? Read on to find out.

Law of the Lid Examples

Maxwell writes that the Law of the Lid is the idea that your leadership capabilities put a “lid” on the future success of your business. I’ve written about Maxwell’s theory that the people buy into the leader, then the vision. So, if you’re a great businessman but a poor leader, you’re putting a cap on your company’s ability to succeed.

Why is that? Because ultimately, your company is much bigger than you. You’re only as successful as your team, and if you’re not taking on a vital leadership role, you’re doing yourself and your business a disservice.

Maxwell says, “Leadership ability is always the lid on personal and organizational effectiveness. The organization’s lid is high if a person’s leadership is strong. But if it’s not, then the organization is limited.”

Conversely, “personal success without leadership ability brings only limited effectiveness.” You can’t own a large or small business and think of only your success. By doing so, you limit the potential of the entire organization. If you invest in your team, however, you increase the business’s full potential.

Applying the Law of the Lid

The Law of the Lid is that you need to have the mentality of a leader to achieve true success. So how do you get there? By thinking outside of just yourself.

Maxwell suggests that you start by listing out your goals for your business. How many of these goals require other people to achieve? These collective goals are where your leadership can shine. The key is to learn how to guide your employees toward these goals.

But how do you know if your leadership style is effective? Sometimes, the best thing you can do is ask. Could you give your most trusted employees (or even your non-trusted employees) an anonymous survey that rates your leadership so far? By making it anonymous, you’ll learn how your employees feel about your leadership.

Finally, consider ways you could become a better leader. The Law of the Lid states that increasing your leadership ability also increases the overall success of your company, so making an effort to learn and grow will help your business in the long run.

Applying the Law of the Lid can change how you lead your business. To learn more about making this principle work for you, fill out my contact form, and let’s chat.

Coach Dave


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