The second law of John C. Maxwell’s book, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership should be required learning for everyone in high school. It is the Law of Influence which says, “The true measure of leadership is influence – nothing more, nothing less.” If you do not learn this law early, you will learn it the hard way.

In this article I will share with you how I learned it the hard way.

1. Influence can build naturally over time: I started my career many years ago. I was enticed by a large industrial firm that hired me two weeks after I graduated high school. They helped me earn my engineering degree, and I spent 32 years working for that company.

I worked in many of their facilities globally spending 21 years outside the United States. I also progressed from a student engineer to a corporate executive. Surprisingly, I never consciously knew the Law of Influence.

Even though I did not know about the Law of Influence, I had influence. I had built influence over 32 years of work. I built this influence by providing support for others, developing others, and meeting company goals. I just did not recognize the level of influence I had, and the process I used to generate this influence.

2. Influence resets to zero: After 32 years, I made a move to a new company at an executive level. I brought my experience and knowledge and worked towards making a difference in this company. Unfortunately, I learned quickly that the influence I enjoyed at my previous company was gone. I was stuck and frustrated, and I had zero influence.

Everything I tried to change or implement ran into resistance. I thought it was the fault of the people at the new company. How could these people not want to change? Did they not want to improve?

3. Knowing the law: Of course it was not them, it was me. I had no influence. I did not realize the level of influence I had at the previous company until I no longer had it.

Upon reflection, and studying John Maxwell’s book, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, I know the importance of learning the laws of leadership. I have learned that you can lead and have influence from any position in an organization. You can build influence through your character, your relationships, your knowledge, your intuition, and your experience. But the most critical method for building your influence is through what you can do for others.

It is not about you, it is about them. If you focus on adding value to others, and adding value to your organization with no expectations of reciprocity, then you will shorten the time required to gain influence. People need to know you care before they are interested in what you know.

I wish I had understood the laws of leadership when I started my career. The success I have enjoyed could have been amplified.
Now as a John Maxwell Team coach, I am helping others become successful faster. Our roadblocks to being wildly successful exist within us. I love helping people break through those barriers. If you know the laws, and apply the laws, your potential to succeed becomes unlimited.

If you want to experience the power of the 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, search for a coach near you, and get growing by joining a mastermind group.

About the Author

blog_photoMark Brown is a founding partner with the John Maxwell Team, and the co-owner of New Roads Leadership.

He has over 35 years of corporate experience and 10 years as a corporate executive.

Mark is now dedicated to provide coaching, 360 degree assessments, and mastermind facilitation to help business professionals accelerate their success and expand their potential.