About the Author

Dr. John Maxwell, the author of Developing the Leader within You, is the author of several other motivational books. Maxwell speaks on a variety of subjects and runs Injoy Ministries, an organisation preoccupied with maximising the potential of church leaders and Christians working in the secular world.

Book Synopsis

The book is a culmination of skills learnt by the author in many years of leading people. The author has taught leadership principles and watched with great satisfaction as men and women have become more effective in leading others. The key to success in any human endeavour lies in the ability to lead others successfully. Everything rises and falls on leadership. Most people have the desire to look for the exception instead of the desire to become exceptional. The effectiveness of your work will never rise above your ability to lead or influence others. You cannot produce consistently on a level higher than your leadership. In other words, your leadership skills determine the level of your success and the success of those who work around you.

Leadership is not an exclusive club for those who were born with it as the traits which are the raw materials of leadership can be acquired. Link the traits up with desire and nothing can keep you from becoming a leader. The book will supply the necessary leadership principles, and you must supply the desire. Leadership is developed not discovered, and the truly born leader will always emerge. However, to stay on top, natural leadership characteristics must be developed. The author submits that in working with thousands of people desirous of becoming leaders, he has discovered that they all fit in one of these four categories of leadership: the leading leader, the learned leader, the latent leader, and the limited leader.

Book Structure

By way of structural diagnosis, the book is divided into ten chapters.

Chapter One conceptually x-rays the influence as the definition of leadership. Everyone talks about leadership, but few people understand it. Most people want it; few achieve it. The author states that there are over 50 definitions and descriptions of leadership in his files. What is this intriguing subject we call leadership? Because most people want to be leaders, they become emotionally involved when trying to define leadership. The author asserts that after more than four decades of observing leadership within his family and many years of developing his leadership potential he has concluded that leadership is influence. That is it! Nothing more, nothing less. If you remove for a moment the moral issues behind principles and there is only one definition of leadership, it would go thus: leadership is the ability to obtain followers. The author examines other issues such as insights about influence, the level of leadership, climbing the steps of leadership, conclusions on influence, et cetera.

Chapter Two is on priorities as the key to leadership. Success can be defined as the progressive realisation of a predetermined goal. This definition tells that the discipline to prioritise and the ability to work toward a stated goal are essential to a leader’s success. They are the key to leadership. Efficiency is the foundation for survivor and effectiveness is the foundation for success. In this chapter, the author also discusses the Pareto Principle which is technically referred to as the 20/80 Principle.

In Chapter Three of the book, integrity is identified as the essential ingredient of leadership. Sadly, integrity is a vanishing commodity today. Personal standards are crumbling in a world that has taken to hot pursuit of personal pleasures and shortcuts to success. Integrity is not what we do so much as who we are and who we are in turn determines what we do. Our system of values is so much a part of us that we cannot separate it from ourselves. It becomes the navigating system that guides us. It establishes priorities in our lives and judges what we will accept or reject.

In Chapters Four to Six, the author examines concepts such as the creation of positive change as the ultimate test of leadership, problem-solving as the quickest way to gain leadership and attitude as the extra plus in leadership.

Chapter Seven is based on the development of people as the most substantial asset. The one who influences others to follow only is a leader with certain limitations. The one who influences others to lead others is the leader without limitations. Quoting Andrew Carnegie, Maxwell says that no man will make a great leader who was to do it all himself or to get all the credit for doing it. He, therefore, stresses that the more people you develop, the greater the extent of your dreams. If you are placed in a leadership position, you should abstain from doing everything alone. As a guide, the book offers principles for people development and emphasis that successful people develop as to make the right assumptions about people and give the proper assistance to people.

In Chapter Eight to Ten, the book stresses vision as the indispensable quality of leadership, self-discipline as the price tag of leadership, and staff development as the most important lesson of leadership. The growth and development of people is a high school of leadership. A great leader develops a team of people will increase production. There are two ways you can get others to do or you want; it is either through compelling them or persuading them. Compulsion is a method of slavery while perspiration is the method of free men. Excellent leaders create the right environment, know basic human needs, keep control of the Big 3 and avoid the 7 Deadly Sins.

Book Evaluation

Maxwell’s efforts are commendable in this book. The language employed maintains enviable simplicity which is characteristic of the author’s writings. There is the abundant use of Biblical allusions, perfect illustrations as well as precis to ensure easy understanding, concrete conviction and long memory. The book includes practice exercises to arouse the reader’s active involvement and practical application of the offered tips.

Do you aspire to develop the leadership qualities within you? Then you need to read and digest this compendium of rare leadership tips.


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