Book "How Successful People Lead" - John C. Maxwell

How Successful People Lead - John C. Maxwell

What is the secret of successful leadership? Discover how to contribute to your team's development with John C. Maxwell's strategies.

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Do you believe that altruistic leaders have innate abilities or that they have developed them over time?

In the book “How Successful People Lead”, the author John C. Maxwell emphasizes that his greatest passion is personal development. He created an empowerment plan for ascending to leadership focused on results and his team's success.

Thus, at the beginning of the book, Maxwell shows us that being a good leader is a soft skill that consists of a continuous qualification.

In this summary, we will discuss which actions lead a leader to success and you will discover the strategies of one of the world's leading leadership authorities.

About the book “How Successful People Lead”

Released in 2013 by Center Street Publishing, the book provides valuable insights, stories, and lessons that range from manager self-improvement to leadership best practices clearly and objectively.

This book has 120 pages and has a collection of quotes and personal stories that fit perfectly into the plot told by Maxwell.

The author also says that he appreciates the delivery of value to people in all his books. In this way, the reader will have access to the ideas of this renowned expert in a fluid, dynamic way, full of practical applications.

About the author John C. Maxwell

John Calvin Maxwell is a leadership expert, internationally recognized speaker, and writer who has sold more than 24 million books in several countries.

He is also the founder of EQUIP and INJOY Stewardship Services. At his conferences, meeting with government leaders and CEOs of North American companies is common.

His books have been on the bestseller lists of newspapers such as The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. He is the author of other titles focusing on leadership, teamwork, and personal achievement, including:

To whom is this book indicated?

Created from John C. Maxwell's experiences as a speaker, this book is an inspiration for those who are at the beginning of their career as a manager or speaker and professionals who wish to exercise leadership through group management and entrepreneurship.

The content is recommended for anyone who wants to learn more about problem-solving, influence, interpersonal relationships, and successful leadership.

Main ideas of the book “How Successful People Lead”

  • Practice self-knowledge if you want to excel as a leader;
  • Being a good leader means being who you are as much as what you do;
  • Learn to identify leadership opportunities in the company;
  • A leader must think and act like a mentor;
  • Believe in the potential of your team: see everyone you teach as a ten;
  • Empower your employees for professional success;
  • Don't just focus on developing the person professionally, personal improvement is also a must;
  • Successful people elevate others and don't feel threatened by others' growth.

How do successful people lead?

In the book's first part, Maxwell discusses the main mistake people make in wanting to succeed: they think only of themselves and what they can get - position, power, money, and prestige.

However, the author says that to become a successful leader, you need to practice self-knowledge and give yourself to other people, without requiring anything in return. In addition, he lists the main reasons why many people do not dream of a leadership position:

  • Insecurity;
  • Ego;
  • Inability 
  • The misconception of success.

The writer says that there are people who have a natural talent for communication and interaction with everyone around them, but he also points out that there are people who need to work hard for this. Achieving success is not quick and it requires dedication.

According to the author, leading others involves much more than offering information or showing the necessary skills. If this were the case, every child would be a potential successful adult, given the amount of content learned daily.

However, success does not follow knowledge.

Maxwell begins the explanation by showing what actions lead an individual to become a good leader. The secret is to identify your purpose, develop yourself to reach the highest level possible, and plant seeds to help others on the right path.

How can I be a leader?

You may be asking yourself, "Ok, I get the secret to successful leadership. But what can I do to be a good leader?". According to John C. Maxwell, it is essential that you:

  1. Practice self-knowledge and develop soft skills;
  2. Know your team;
  3. Have a sense of reciprocity;
  4. Never work alone! If you want to achieve success, take someone along;
  5. Make people's development your top priority.

Besides being able to identify your purpose as a leader, practice self-knowledge, and develop soft skills, you must share your dream with others and help them to walk the path to success with you.

The book is a guide to leading for success and Maxwell continually points out to the reader the importance of sharing your dreams with the organization's employees. Sharing your goals helps people get to know you, know where you want to go, and the main thing: they make your dream their dream!

What is the secret of successful teamwork?

John C. Maxwell comments on people who add value, complement weaknesses, and enhance strengths. According to him, the presence of individuals with these characteristics expands the leader's vision and facilitates the journey to success.

To find the right people to develop, you first need to know them, don't you? To be able to identify them, the author has listed ten characteristics of people who attract leaders:

  1. They make things happen; 
  2. They see and seize opportunities;
  3. They positively influence others; 
  4. They add value
  5. They attract other leaders
  6. They prepare others;
  7. Have inspiring ideas
  8. Honor their commitments
  9. Are loyal;
  10. Have positive behavior.

You must choose well the people you will lead. Knowing how to identify potential "seeds of success" is fundamental to your growth as a leader. In this way, the author shows us the following lesson:

"The people closest to me determine my level of success or failure. The better they are, the better I am. And if I want to rise to the highest level, I can only do so with the help of other people."

How do you lead a John Maxwell?

According to John C. Maxwell, what differentiates one leader from another is how much he believes in the collaborator and sees him as a grade 10. The leader who intimidates and does not elevate is not the one who inspires to learn and progress.

He points out that a positive leader is more valued and respected and, as a result, his team works better. In addition, an uplifting attitude creates a healthy and prosperous work environment.

To set people up for success, it is essential that you treat your team as a grade ten. To apply this methodology, the author quickly suggests that:

See who they can become

It is easy for us to recognize that Martin Luther King and Steve Jobs were great leaders after we already know about their achievements. But what about before they achieved prestige? Look for the great potential that lies within each person you lead and encourage them to develop.

Understand that being "ten" has many definitions

According to Maxwell, people have a very limited view of what a "ten" is. He points out that each individual has different aptitudes and strengths, which means that everyone can be exceptional in a specific area.

The author says that most individuals get stuck in their routines working without exploring their abilities. Therefore, focus on developing people to find themselves in the best place in their careers.

Always treat them well

The writer discusses leaders who treat people according to the number they put on them. For example: if the employee is an average performer, the leader gives him a number 5 treatment.

Maxwell states that employees achieve the leader's expectations better if they like him. So maintain a healthy communication, build solid relationships and elevate them with incentives.

Incentives are always welcome

According to the author, encouraging is a practice that is beneficial to both sides. Good leaders recognize the difficulties along the way because they have already held that position and still encourage their employees. Taking this into consideration, Maxwell shares a strategy in acronym format:

  • Believe - Believe them.
  • Encourage - Encourage them.
  • Share - Share with them.
  • Trust - Trust them.

What do other authors say about it?

In "It's Your Ship", by D. Michael Abrashoff, the reader is taken on a leadership journey through the writer's experiences in command of the USS Benfold. The book is filled with analogies to the corporate universe.

In the book "Everybody Matters", by Bob Chapman and Raj Sisodia, the authors invite us to reflect on the advantages of cultivating a humane company culture that puts its employees first.

Simon Sinek, speaker and author of "Start with Why", demonstrates in a practical and didactic way how good leaders create successful businesses and motivate people.

Okay, but how can I apply this to my life?

  • Develop your self-knowledge: It is important to discover your strengths to exercise good leadership;
  • Find the "seed of success" through the development of your team;
  • Cultivate good interpersonal relationships before you begin the journey to success;
  • Make decisions seeking to create a favorable environment for your team;
  • Develop your ability to make other people feel important;
  • Offer help unconditionally: don't expect something in return;
  • Establish a noise-free and pleasant communication.

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How Successful People Lead: Taking Your Influence to the Next LevelHow Successful People Lead: Taking Your Influence to the Next Level