Book Review – “Developing the Leader Within You” by John C. Maxwell, part 2

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Ed. Note – This is the second part of my review of this book.  There was just too much to say about it for one post.

In the first part of this review, I covered the first five chapters of the book that first got me interested in leadership and personal development, way back in 1998.  Let’s continue…

Chapter 6 – The Extra Plus in Leadership – Attitude

“Your attitude in life determines your altitude”.   “Life is 10 percent what happens to you and 90 percent how you react to it”.  I’m sure you can think of many more tired cliches to exemplify the importance of attitude in a successful life.  I’m not a rah-rah kind of guy.  I don’t get super-hyped up about many things in life; no screaming at the TV (unless the Mariners ever make a World Series) or anything like that.  However, I believe that these statements and the many others I didn’t list about the necessity of a good attitude are overused precisely because they’re true.  If you have a poor attitude, a tendency to look at the glass as half-empty instead of half-full, or just to be a downer, then you’re not going to get very far.  People aren’t attracted to others who don’t make them feel good, and if you’re negative all the time, you’re not going to feel good about yourself or those around you.  Attitude is extremely important.

Chapter 7 – Developing Your Most Appreciable Asset – People

No one leads in a vacuum.  If you don’t have other people following you, you’re not a leader.  And, if you are concerned about the people that you lead eventually leaving you, you’re limiting yourself and your visions.  The ability to develop other people into leaders is a force multiplier.  If you can raise up an army, you’ll do well on your own.  However, if you can raise up leaders of other armies, you’ll have allies in your quest.  By developing leaders, you don’t just attract more followers.  You engender loyalty in those you’ve trained in the past, and they’ll be willing to journey along with you to achieve your dreams.  Viewing other people as individuals, not as numbers, is crucial to your own success.

Chapter 8 – The Indispensable Quality of Leadership – Vision

Vision is what drives a leader to become more than what they currently are.  They see things as the way they should be, not as they are, and they formulate plans to make the changes necessary to get there.  It’s amazing, but many people are so set in their ways that they cannot imagine life being any different than what it currently is.  A leader not only has a vision for the way things should be, they also have the ability to pass that vision on to others.  If you can’t articulate the way things should be, you’ll never be able to convince other people it’s worthwhile to come along with you.

Chapter 9 – The Price Tag of Leadership – Self-Discipline

Oh my word, I hate this one.  It’s really not much fun to do things that you don’t want to do, but sometimes it’s necessary.  Self-discipline is about subjugating the things you want to have or do in order to be able to achieve the things that you have to do.  What you have to do is achieve your vision.  What you need to eliminate is anything that’s going to get in the way of achieving the goal you’ve set in the timeline you’ve set it.  If you’re trying to finish a master’s degree in order to get a job that will provide a better standard of living for you and those you love, then you might have to give up things like Friday and Saturday night at the bar, football games on Sunday, or playing XBox in the evenings.  You’d much rather be doing something fun, but you know that what you’re doing instead is better in the long run.  You have to focus on the results of the activities you’re doing, not on the activities themselves.

Chapter 10 – The Most Important Lesson of Leadership – Staff Development

This chapter combines a lot of the teaching from chapters 2 and 7.  You need to take the time to develop the people around you, and you identify those folks using the 80/20 principle.  You encourage everyone in your organization, but you need to invest time with those who are already making a difference.  The people who will rise up as leaders will self-select.  They’ll show you they want to be leaders by how they work and achieve results.  It’s all about teamwork; people pulled together by a common purpose.  Maxwell went on to write another book called Developing the Leaders Around You, which delves more deeply into this subject.

As you can see, I really do love this book.  There are so many things to think about and focus on in my own life.  The central truth I always take away from reading this is that I have to become a person I’d want to follow before anyone else will come alongside me.

If you’re interested in purchasing a copy, you can find Developing the Leader Within Youat Amazon (that’s an affiliate link, btw).

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