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A 9 Pages Term Paper on The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership By John C. Maxwell

           “Leadership can be learned, but the road to becoming a true leader is based on character, sacrifice, and disciplined effort over a lifetime.” John Maxwell says in his book “The 21 irrefutable laws of leadership”. John Maxwell is prolific and an ordained minister who is a professional speaker and author of two dozen books too. He is expert on leadership. He is leader of leaders, and developer of leaders as well. He begins by stating, "I have the privilege of teaching leadership across the country and around the globe. At the core of Maxwell's thinking is his belief that leadership principles are constant around the globe, through the millennia, and across occupations.  He draws examples freely from all three spectra.  He reminds the reader these 21 laws which according to him can be learned, can stand alone, can carry consequences with them and are the foundation of leadership. In five sessions of the book John elaborates the 21 laws. First session contains: The Law of the Lid, The Law of Influence, The Law of Process and The Law of Navigation.

           The Law of Influence John describes as the true measure of leadership. He is of the opinion that it is influence: nothing more, nothing less.  Princess Diana and Mother Teresa, one a royal, the other a nun, died a few days apart in 1997.  Each had influenced an enormous segment of humanity for good, caring for the outcasts of society, supporting AIDS research, and banning land mines.  Positional weight may help, but influence is everything.  Hard work and character are the keys.

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           According to John the leadership develops daily slowly and steadily, not in a day.  Leadership is not a one-day thing; it's an every day thing.  It's the disciplined, consistent effort to improve a little bit each day that reaps great harvests over a lifetime. This is what is The Law of Process, which is considered as an important feature of leadership.

           The second session of the book contains four more laws; The Law of E. F. Hutton, The Law of Solid Ground, The Law of Respect and The Law of Intuition. John, claiming the Trust being the foundation of leadership describes the Law of Solid Ground in detail. He rightly claims that Leaders cannot take shortcuts.  Mistakes based on ability can be forgiven, but lapses in character are lethal, for it is character that makes trust possible.  And no one will follow someone they do not trust.

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           Further elaborating the leadership laws John brings out the importance of The Law of Intuition. He defines this law by saying that Leaders evaluate everything with a leadership bias.  Leaders read a situation like a great quarterback reads a defense.  The key is intuition, a balance of fact, logic, and instinct.  According to his thinking the art of leadership is more art than science.  Though the principles are unvarying, their application is unique to each leader and to each situation. In the third session he describes four more laws: The Law of Magnetism, The Law of Connection, The Law of the Inner Circle and The Law of Empowerment.

           The Law of Connection the author elaborates as an indicative of ones ability to see in depth. Leaders touch a heart before they ask for a hand.  Even in groups, connections are made and relationships built one individual at a time. To move people to action, a leader must first move them with emotion.

           Narrating the Law of the Inner Circle the book highlights the role of the leader. John writes that it takes a leader to rise up a leader. No leader has that much power to do the thing himself. Those largely determine the ultimate potential of any leader closest to him or her, which puts a huge premium on the ability of the leader to develop those colleagues into dynamic leaders themselves. In sessions four and five the book lays down another set of laws to include: - The Law of Reproduction, The Law of Buy-In, The Law of the Victory and The Law of the Big Mo. last session includes, The Law of Priorities, The Law of Sacrifice, The Law of Timing, The Law of Explosive Growth and The Law of Legacy.

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           A leader must give up to go up. This is the law, which dictates the sacrificing ability of leader and is named as the Law of Sacrifice. A popular misconception is that it is all "peaches and cream" at the top.  Yet, no one has ever risen to a leadership responsibility without paying a worth, not just once, but many times. Leadership is an every day thing, so too sacrifice is an enduring element in leadership. "Effective leaders sacrifice much that is good in order to dedicate themselves to what is best." For the great leaders, this routine commitment and sacrifice dignifies them and enriches, as Churchill once so wisely remarked: "There comes a special moment in everyone's life, a moment for which that person was born.  That special opportunity, when he seizes it, will fulfill his mission - a mission for which he is uniquely qualified.  In that moment, he finds greatness.  It is his finest hour."

           No one becomes a leader by reading a book.  But both emerging and seasoned leaders can beneficially read to increase their experiences, sharpen their skills, gain perception, and classify areas for further growth.  Maxwell's book is a good place to begin.

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           What would happen if a top expert with more than thirty years of leadership experience was enthusiastic to refine everything he had learned about leadership into a handful of life-changing principles just for some one? It would change his life. John C. Maxwell has done exactly that in The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership. He has pooled insights cultured from his thirty-plus years of leadership successes and mistakes with explanation from the worlds of business, politics, sports, religion, and military conflict. The result is a revealing study of leadership delivered as only a communicator like Maxwell can.

     The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership is a paradox. On one hand, Maxwell presents excellent point of view undoubtedly and practically, based on many years of experience. On the other hand, at least three of the "irrefutable" laws can be differed on the basis of a different standard of leadership.

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   The book focuses on principle based leadership, and the leaders' relationships with others. In one intellect it is not distinctively religious, in that the majority of examples are secular rather than religious. However, in another sense it is profoundly religious, in that it raises the importance of the leaders' values, personal integrity and relationships above the focus on task. Whether a leader is born or are leadership qualities learned? The answer is probably some of both. The leadership skills that don't come naturally can be developed with some effort.

           John Maxwell's "21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership" can be used as the framework for this learning opportunity. The leadership principles identified by Maxwell are essential skills of an effective Extension agent - skills to which many Extension educators may not have ever been exposed.

           One of the book’s strengths is its readability - the examples are practical, personal illustrations of leaders who have exemplified a particular "law" of leadership. However at times, these illustrations are slightly lengthened to fit the point that Maxwell wants to make, imputing a particular motive for an action that may or may not have been the case.  The book is also motivating and challenging, with readers likely to be challenged to want to change some of their leaders.

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View Of The Author For Writing The Book

The author John C. Maxwell gives his own reasons for writing the book as follows: -

      “Why I wrote The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership? I believe that to be successful in life, every person needs four skills: 1) The ability to cultivate relationships with others; 2) The ability to equip and develop other people; 3) A positive attitude; and 4) Leadership ability. I wrote The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership to help people develop their leadership skills. I've taken everything I've learned from over thirty years of leadership in business and volunteer organizations, and I've boiled it down to 21 timeless principles that anyone can use and apply, regardless of profession, culture, gender, or position. Leadership is influence. No matter whether you are a businessperson trying to run a better company, a coach trying to build a winning team, or a parent trying to influence your children, your success depends on leadership. Ignore a law of leadership, and you suffer the consequences. It's like dealing with the law of gravity. Your awareness of the laws of physics doesn't matter. Jump out of a window, and you must deal with the results of your actions. They are inevitable. The same is true of the laws of leadership. Learn and follow the laws, and people will follow you. Violate or ignore them, and they won't. Someone recently asked me why I didn't include a lot of concrete application in this book, as I have in most of the other books I've written. The reason is this: I don't know what your particular leadership situation is. Application changes from person to person, but the laws apply no matter who you are or where you find yourself leading. Learn the principles, and you can apply them anywhere. Apply them, and you will become a better leader. And that will make you more effective, no matter what you want to accomplish in life.”

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Works cited

John C. Maxwell. The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, TN (1998)


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