Saturday Book Review: Developing the Leader Within You

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It’s Saturday, and it’s time for another Saturday Book Review on Paul Davis Solution’s Writer’s Cue. (Say that 10 times fast).

This article is about the book by leadership speaker, John Maxwell called Developing The Leader Within You.

Introduction to John Maxwell

If you have never heard, read, or watched anything by John Maxwell, you can read more about him at his website. John Maxwell is an influential thought leader on leadership, and this book, Developing the Leader Within You is one of the first books I read on my entrepreneurial journey, 16 years ago.

Maxwell has many different books on leadership, and I recommend reading at least a couple if leadership in business and life is interesting to you.

How to Grow from the Book if You are a Solopreneur

This book is great for someone who is just starting out on their leadership journey because it is about self-development. Much of the principles in the book are applicable whether you are leading a multi-person team or just disciplining yourself to get things done.

Influence

The first attribute of a  leader that Maxwell talks about is influence. While it is not the most important ingredient in learning and developing leadership, it is a defining element. If you do not have influence over others, you are not a leader. But, if you do have influence, you are a leader. Understanding influence and how to use it in life and in business is a key part of leadership development.

Priorities

Pareto Principle? Check. The Urgency/Importance Quadrants? Check.

This section of Developing the Leader Within You delivers enough gold in prioritizing and time management that the book is worth this chapter alone. Also, if you have no idea what the Pareto Principle is or what the Urgency/Importance Quadrant is, Google is your friend.

Integrity

Leadership books that do not talk about Integrity are not worth your time to pick up. According to the decades of extensive research by Kouzes and Posner, Integrity is the most desired trait people look for in their leaders. One of the more important parts of this chapter for people starting an online business, or any business for that matter, is the charts on how the more of a leader you are, the more responsibilities you have and the less rights.

Creating Positive Change

If people want their leaders to be people of integrity, followers want their leaders to do positive changes for the organization and community. One of the more powerful parts of this chapter was a paragraph sandwiched in between a section on changing yourself and changing an organization.The paragraph stated that you start with a certain amount of “change” or permission from your followers. If you work well in relationship and produce positive changes, that “change” in your pocket increases. This increased “change” gives you permission in the minds of your followers to do more significant changes.

Problem Solving

Maxwell quotes his mentor, Fred Smith, who says that a problem you cannot do anything about is not a problem, it’s a fact of life. Learning problem solving is a key part of developing leadership within you.

Attitude

Attitude is the most important attribute for continued growth in leadership, and John Maxwell illustrates this point with a story from visiting his then 70 year old father who had motivational books in his briefcase. John asked his dad why he still read motivational books at 70 when he has had such a great attitude for so many years. His dad told him “I have to keep working on my thought life. I am responsible to have a great attitude and maintain it. My attitude does not run on automatic.”

This quote is important for people starting their own business because we have to commit to having continually better attitudes no matter how long we take.

People

A good leader cares for people. Your most important attribute in building a business is how you treat people: your customers, your employees, your family, and your friends.

Vision

Corporate ownership of a vision is important and a difficult part of leadership. Even if you are a solopreneur, you have family and friends to share your vision with. You have to convince your customers of your vision; and, this chapter deals with much you will need to know to share the vision with others.

Self-Discipline

Maxwell’s advice on self-discipline is a great bookend to this book on developing the leader within you. Self-discipline is important and part of building integrity, crafting habits necessary for success, and convincing your followers that you are worth following. There are methods for working on self-discipline, setting and tracking goals, and more in this chapter.

Staff Development

By this time in the book, the last chapter feels almost like an epilogue, but an important one. As you develop the leader within you, you will build and lead teams of people. This last chapter helps you understand how to build, train, and motivate a team of people who are working with you on your vision.

Conclusion

Developing The Leader Within You is a great book for studying some of the basics of leadership and a good opening for more in-depth leadership resources.

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