If you haven’t read it, 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John Maxwell is a great book. The good news is you don’t have to master all 21 laws to be a better leader. One of the things I’ve learned in studying John Maxwell’s leadership is influence. Ultimately, leadership all comes down to influence. As leaders we use our influencing to get our teams’ buy in to follow our vision. And we want to get good at it. So let’s take a look at a few of John Maxwell’s leadership laws that can help you improve your influence with your team.
The Law of the Lid
You are limited by your leadership skills. In other words, your effectiveness as a leader is only going to be as good as your leadership skills. On a scale of 1-10, if your leadership skill is at a 5, then your effectiveness as a leader is only going to be a 4 at most. If you want to increase your success, then you need to raise your “leadership lid” to a higher level. Raising your lid simply means increasing your leadership skills to a higher level so your effectiveness and influence as a leader rise as well.
The good news is you can raise your lid. It doesn’t matter where you start, every time you raise your lid you bring your team up to the next level. Whatever you are striving towards, or whatever goal or vision you have, your influence over your team – and your ability to raise your lid – will bring your team along with you so you can reach those goals together.
How do you determine where your leadership level is at now? Ask yourself this question: how effective am I as a leader? If you need to, ask your team, too. And then look at how you can improve your abilities. Which leads to the next law.
The Law of Process
Leadership doesn’t happen overnight. There is no book or podcast that will be the silver bullet to leadership greatness. It’s about the little bit you do every day to get better as a leader so you can increase your influence gradually over time, so you can ultimately increase your effectiveness and success.
One of the things I’ve studied a lot with John Maxwell is the concept of companies who buy unsuccessful companies and turn them around. The first thing they do in a takeover is fire the President or CEO of the company. Then they spend time retraining the remaining staff on team work, customer service, and relationships. Why get rid of the leader? Because everything in a company starts at the top. The company got to that bad place because of the leadership.
Dental practices aren’t like corporate businesses. If your business is struggling, you certainly can’t get rid of yourself! But what you absolutely can do is elevate your lid and work through the process so you can become a better leader. True leaders are always learners. They’re always reading books, attending seminars, and listening to podcasts so they can glean information from successful people and then copy what they did. Think about this as you work your way through materials: you don’t have to master every book or every podcast. But take what you can from it so you can increase your leadership skills and gain influence over your team, so you can help your practice grow.
Here are a few suggestions for mastering the Law of Process:
- Buy books like The Power of Positive Leadership by John Gordon and 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John Maxwell
- Listen to leadership and dental industry podcasts
- Follow blogs
- Attend workshops and meetings
The Law of E. F. Hutton
E. F. Hutton was a very successful stockbroker known for his firm’s commercials that stated, “When E. F. Hutton talks, people listen.” That’s the key. True leaders are the ones people truly listen to. We’ve all been in those meetings where there’s the person in charge of the meeting who is talking, but people really listen and focus when a different attendee speaks up. That person is the true leader, even if they don’t have the title: the one who everyone is really listening to.
As the doctor and practice owner, you need to be the leader. Yes, we want to build up other leaders on our teams. But you need to develop the skills, abilities, and influence so people will listen to you because they believe in what you’re saying and where you’re going, and not just because you’re the doctor and they have to. We talk about relationships a lot at PDA and it’s important to build relationships with your team so they get to know you and respect your views so that then when you speak, they listen.
The Law of the Big Mo
Mo is short for momentum. We know how it feels to have momentum built up. It’s exciting, things happen, work becomes fun all of a sudden. For those who implemented PDA’s Grab Bag Incentive System, remember how fun that was for your staff? Day 1: You exceed your goal the first day and everyone gets to draw a bill out of the bag. Day 2: You exceed your goal again, and again everyone gets to pull a bill out of the bag. Day 3: Oops! You didn’t quite exceed goal. With the momentum built from the past two days, your team will want those bonuses, so you better believe they will find a way to exceed goal the next day! It’s exciting, it’s rewarding, and receiving the extra incentives helps build up team momentum. (For more information about the Grab Bag Incentive Plan, contact us!)
Anytime in your leadership you can create momentum, it’s a good thing. Capitalize on it. Keep the momentum going with fun and reward. You want that law of momentum – tapping into the energy and taking it to the next level. Momentum is often the difference between winning and losing. People get excited and buy into your goals, and they look to you to lead that momentum.
Focus on Today
Something I’ve learned recently is our tendency to exaggerate yesterday and overestimate tomorrow. And stuck in the middle is today, which we underestimate. Think about it: say something happens that’s not that great. When we reflect on it the next day, a lot of times we blow the details and situation out of proportion. On the other hand, we overestimate tomorrow: everyone will show up on time, everyone will exceed expectations, and all will go as planned. Stuck in the middle is today, which we often shrug about and say, “Oh well, at least it wasn’t as bad as yesterday and tomorrow will fix all the problems.”
Focus on today. What can you do today to become a better leader? What can you do today to increase your influence? What can you do today to take better care of your patients? Don’t underestimate what can happen today.
Don’t stop here! Learn how to build your influence as a leader by watching Angela’s full Leadership Mastermind Series video.
BlueSky – Leadership | Team Building | Annual Planning
This series accompanies our 2018 BlueSky Retreat curriculum, a 2-day leadership, team building, and annual planning event in Scottsdale, Arizona. We have limited seating and want to pack the house with PDA Members who have enjoyed our Leadership Mastermind journey. Top leadership speakers, annual planning, and the gorgeous backdrop of the Hyatt Regency make it the perfect goal destination for your team. Learn more now or reserve your seat.