I like “Leadership Gold” because it is written in a very personal style and because it speaks to a lifetime of experience similiar to the various leadership roles I have held. Maxwell wrote this particular book at age 60 thus giving it special meaning for me – a contemporary, if you will.
This book offers value on many levels. Maxwell reveals his evolution as a young leader who learned painfully that “good leaders who remained connected with their people stoop – that’s the only way to reach down and pull others up.”
In his usual numerical sequence, he addresses over 20 aspects of leadership that, collectively, will educate you (if you are a young leader) or will reinforce the wisdom you have gained over a lifetime (if you are a more seasoned leader)
There is definitely great brain food here for those who take leadership seriously, and I recommend you get this book if you are thinking of taking on developing your own wealth creation ideas, or if you are wanting to get more out of life.
Maxwell addresses the question of “positional versus relational” leadership. He identifies perpetual truths that both Corey and I endorse and which we continue to promote with others. Some of these are:
a. Here is a common tendency: “we tend to judge others according to their actions. It’s very cut-and-dried. However, we judge ourselves by our intentions. Even if we do the wrong thing, if we believe our motives were good, we let ourselves off the hook. And we are often willing to do that over and over before requiring ourselves to change.
b. A leader’s first responsibility is to define reality. This is difficult, even painful, for many because it often conflicts with a desire to always think positively, to give hope and encourage others. I have always been a realist because I, too, had to learn “that people change only when they hurt enough that they have to, learn enough that they want to, or receive enough that they are able to.” Acceptance of reality improves your ability to lead and the follower’s willingness to change and to be lead.
c. There are no Self-made men. Maxwell notes that “self-made men don’t make much.” He reasons that “as a leader you will never get ahead until your people are behind you.”
d. Leadership titles do not make you a leader. Leadership is relational as much as positional. Positional leaders, he points out, do not generally stoop to help others; relational leaders do. He makes a good case for the larger success achievable for the leader that knows how to blend the two approaches, and it particularly relates to a comment that Ken Fisher made in ’10 Roads to Riches.’ To paraphrase Fisher: “You must connect regularly with the man-on-the-ground if you want to be the most successful leader possible.”
Here is a basic concept I have seen escape several of those I once depended upon for leadership at critical points in my career. Maxwell says the reason he leads and mentors people is to teach them to lift up others. He cites a comment from Peter Drucker who observed, “Leadership is the lifting of a man’s vision to higher insights, the raising of a man’s performance to a higher standard, the building of a man’s personality beyond its normal limitations…to see how a leader is doing, look at the people.”
That is how your people measure you. How do you measure yourself? Maxwell asks.
Maxwell defines the qualities of leadership, how leaders develop, the traits of a good leader and the skills that underline their success. A simple litmus test of your leadership style is addressed by responding to such simple questions as:
~ What greater measure of credibility is there for a leader than of someone whose organizations have trained more than two million leaders worldwide?
“Leadership Gold” is golden for the young leader who aspires to greatness as a leader, the leader who has a few “experience notches” on their belt and maintains a penchant for learning, or the wizened veteran who seeks to affirm that which is proven. Please get this book!