Brian Bowman-21 irrefutable laws of leadership

Author of Book: John Maxwell
Date Read:

Book Report

21 irrefutable laws of leadership by John Maxwell

These laws, among others, provide a framework for understanding and improving leadership skills. Each law is accompanied by anecdotes and practical insights to reinforce its application in real-world scenarios.

All of these are great, but I think the law of process spoke most to me. As I continue to pick up the pieces of my life, I must be dedicated to continuous growth in order to be successful again.


Leadership ability determines a person’s level of effectiveness. Your level of effectiveness and accomplishments is determined by your level of leadership. In fact, leadership has a multiplier effect on success – by raising your leadership ability, you can increase your overall effectiveness many times without increasing your success dedication.


The true measure of leadership is influence – nothing more, nothing less. Contrary to myths, leadership is not the same as management, entrepreneurship, knowledge, pioneer-ship, or position. The proof of leadership is in the followers.


Leadership develops daily, not in a day. Leadership is like investing – it compounds over time, and you won’t make a fortune overnight. Leaders’ abilities to learn, develop and improve their skills set them apart from their followers. In the book, Maxwell explains the 5 phases to leadership growth:

Phase 1: I don’t know what I don’t know – which is a barrier to growth
Phase 2: I know that I need to know – becoming conscious of your ignorance is a first step to knowledge.
Phase 3: I know what I don’t know – and have a plan for personal growth
Phase 4: I know and grow, and it starts to show – but leadership is still a conscious effort
Phase 5: I simply go because of what I know – the ability to lead has become almost automatic.


Anyone can steer the ship, but it takes a leader to chart the course. Good leaders are navigators and set the direction for their team. They have a clear vision for their destination, see the entire trip in their minds, understand who and what they need to be successful, and recognize the obstacles in advance. The larger the organization, the harder it is to make a mid-course correction, and the more clearly the leader must see ahead.


Leaders add value by serving others. Effective leaders understand that to increase profits, they should add value. They also recognize that it takes many people to build a successful organization; they share and give credit rather than claim credit for themselves. To know if you are adding value to others, ask this question: are you making things better for your followers?

6. The Law of Solid Ground:

Trust is the Foundation of Leadership. Without trust, there can be no influence. Trust is built when a leader consistently demonstrates competence, connection and character. A sound character is key to building long-term trust, because it conveys consistency, potential, and builds respect.

7. The Law of Respect:

People naturally follow leaders stronger than themselves. When people first come together in a group, they all go about their own ways, in different directions. As they interact more, the strongest leaders tend to stand out and people will follow them.

8. The Law of Magnetism:

Who you are is who you attract. People are drawn to others with similar characteristics: generation, attitude, background, values, energy levels, giftedness, and leadership ability. If you are dissatisfied with the people around you, look inward first.

9. The Law of Intuition:

Leaders evaluate everything with a leadership bias. Maxwell shares the various ways in which leaders apply their leadership bias, and how to improve your leadership intuition.

10. The Law of Empowerment:

Only secure leaders give power to others. To lead well means to help people reach their potential – build them up, give them resources, authority, responsibility, and autonomy to achieve.

11. The Law of Connection:

Leaders touch a heart before they ask for a hand. We need to connect with people emotionally before we can move them to action. It’s the leader’s job to initiate connection with the people, not vice versa.

12. The Law of The Inner Circle:

A leader’s potential is determined by those closest to him. Your inner circle members are those you turn to for advice, support and assistance. You need to be intentional about who you draw into your inner circle, and to constantly improve yourself and your circle.

13. The Law of the Picture:

People do what people see. Great leaders show the way with the right actions, which are copied by their followers to success.

14. The Law of the Buy-In:

People buy into the leader, then the vision. They listen to people whom they believe in, feel are credible, and want to go along with.

15. The Law of The Big Mo:

Momentum is a leader’s best friend. Often, momentum is the determining factor between losing and winning. An organization or team with momentum is like a train moving at high speed that can plough through obstacles.

16. The Law of Victory:

Leaders find a way for the team to win. Victorious leaders do not accept defeat. To them, there is no alternative to winning, and they keep fighting till they succeed.

17. The Law of Priorities:

Leaders understand that activity is not necessarily accomplishment.

18. The Law of Sacrifice:

A leader must give up to go up. True leadership is not all about freedom, power and wealth. It requires sacrifice, to trade something of value that you possess, for something even more valuable that you don’t yet possess.

19. The Law of Timing:

When to lead is as important as What to do and Where to go. Timing is everything. It can make the deciding difference between success and failure. Only the right action at the right time will deliver results in success.

20. The Law of Explosive Growth:

To add growth, lead followers. To multiply, lead leaders. To lead leaders, you need a different focus and attitude.

21. The Law of Legacy:

A leader’s lasting value is measured by succession. A leader’s lasting value is measured by what he leaves behind. This in turn requires a leader to be highly intentional about his legacy, including knowing the legacy he wants to leave, living the legacy, choosing who will carry on the legacy, and deliberately passing the baton.

Brian Bowman