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

Do you feel like the potential success of your company is limited? 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 the realm of 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.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 own leadership capabilities put a “lid” on the future success of your business. I’ve written before about Maxwell’s theory that the people first buy into the leader, then the vision. 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 strong leadership role, you’re doing yourself and your business a disservice.

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

The flip side of this is the idea that “personal success without leadership ability brings only limited effectiveness.” You can’t own a business, large or small, and think of only your own success. By doing so you limit the potential of the entire organization. If you invest in your team, however, you increase the potential of the business as a whole.

Applying the Law of the Lid

The essence of the Law of the Lid is that you need to have the mentality of a leader in order to achieve true success. 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 collaborative goals are where your leadership can really shine. The key is to learn how to guide your employees towards these goals.

But how do you know if your leadership style is effective? Sometimes, the best thing you can do is ask. Give your most trusted employees (or even your non-trusted employees) an anonymous survey to fill out that rates your leadership thus far. By making it anonymous, you’re much more likely to learn how your employees really 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 the way you lead in your business. To learn more about making this principle work for you, fill out my contact form and let’s chat.

Coach Dave


Dave Schoenbeck
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