Developing the Leader Within You

Ah, great it is to believe the dream,
As we stand in youth by the starry stream.
But a greater thing is to live life through,
And say at the end, the dream came true.

Anonymous Author

John Maxwell is a leadership expert, speaker, and author. His passion is to develop the leader within you. Another excellent book by him is The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership.

I don’t usually consider myself a leader but reading through this and books like it gets me fired up to apply the principles to my own life. From the beginning Maxwell describes who a leader is. It’s not just the CEO or the passionate few in a start up company. Anyone can be a leader. Maxwell defines leadership as simply influence.

Although I may not have teams of people underneath me I can be a leader within my family, my church, my circle of friends, or in the workplace. Maxwell talks about Integrity, Attitude, and Self-disciple just to name a few leadership principles.

There were many great sections of the book but the one section that stood out to me was titled “Developing your most appreciable asset: people.” He describes that people “buy into” the leader before they “buy into” his or her leadership. Simply put, people need to trust and believe in you before they believe in your vision or project. It was a good reminder that each encounter that we have with our co-workers or friends can shape how they perceive us, either negative, sad, bitter or positive, cheerful, or interested.

The author goes on to say that as leaders we should be character driven instead of emotion driven. The difference can be seen immediately:

Character-Driven People

  • Do right, then feel good
  • Are commitment driven
  • Make principle based decisions
  • Action controls attitude
  • Believe it, then see it
  • Create momentum
  • Ask: “What are my Responsibilities?”
  • Continue when problems arise
  • Are steady
  • Are leaders

Emotion-Driven People

  • Feel good, then do right
  • Are convenience driven
  • Make popular based decisions
  • Attitude controls action
  • See it, then believe it
  • Wait for momentum
  • Ask: “What are my rights?”
  • Quit when problems arise
  • Are moody
  • Are followers

The great thing about leadership is that it’s never to late to start. Leaders are always learning, growing, and are humble to take input from others. Have you wanted to show your boss that you can take on more responsibility at work? or looking for leadership rolls within the community? This book will put you down a path that will help you discover the leader within!

He who thinketh he leadeth and hath no one following him is only taking a walk.

Leadership Proverb

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