Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Law No. 11 - The Law of the Inner Circle - John C. Maxwell's 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership

The leadership axiom from John Maxwell worth remembering about the law of the inner circle is, 'A leader's potential is determined by those closest to him'.

Very rarely will there be a successful leader in their field of work who has become an influential leader by themselves. Or rather, never has someone made a great, Godly impact on the lives of people, whether seeking justice, improving human rights, growing a ethical and profitable business, or witnessing the growth of a healthy Church without having people close around about them. If you can name someone, let me know.

When I think of Pastor leaders like Bill Hybels, Brian McClaren and Rob Bell, I imagine there are people in their 'inner circle' who encourage them, lift them up at times and who keep them on the straight and narrow.

When I consider Business leaders like Jim Collins, Jack Welch and Anita Roddick (founder of the Body Shop), I imagine people in their 'inner circle' who help them reach higher goals and dreams.

We may well think of leaders within the sporting arena like Michael Jordan (NBA Basketball), Lance Armstrong (Tour De France champion), or Mark Webber (Formula One) and we could find names of people who helped train them, encourage them, inspire them and push them to greater levels.

John Maxwell mentions the leader Billy Graham (Famous 20th Century Evangelist) and notes his inner circle that encouraged and inspired him in spiritual leadership - Ruth Bell Graham, Grady Wilson, Cliff Barrows and George Beverly Shea.

If we admit that in leadership, having a strong inner circle is paramount, that begs the next question. Who is in your close-kit team? How effective are these people in supporting you and lifting you up? How often do they encourage you and pray for you?

John Maxwell asks the following leadership questions in relation to your inner circle:

  • Do they have high influence with others?
  • Do they bring a complementary gift to the table?
  • Do they hold a strategic position in the organization?
  • Do they add value to me and the organization?
  • Do they positively impact other inner circle members?
I would ask a more simpler leadership question. Is this person the right person for such a time to be in my inner circle?

I have been blessed over the years to see God at work, as I have prayed and said, 'God I really need a right-hand man. I really am in need of someone to support me, encourage me, inspire me, to help me complete tasks, and to work closely with me in leadership to fulfil ministry visions. I can mention someone at most stages of my journey of leadership, that God used to be in my 'inner circle', to support me in those ways. May God do the same for you.

The right person will help you soar like a eagle, not waddle like a duck. They will work closely with you, support you through thick and thin, and will have enough character to exhibit traits like integrity, truth-telling, compassion and optimism.

Leadership has limited value and impact without a group of people working together cohesively.

Who is in your inner circle?

Law No. 11 - The Law of the Inner Circle is part of John C. Maxwell's 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership.

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  1. You can find more leadership topics on the "leadership" link at the top of the page.

  2. This is something to ponder for myself as a leader, who is in my inner circle? I have been part of other peoples inner circles that I have come beside to help and we have a mutual inner circle to help each other, but have I actually sought out a true inner circle for myself and given others the opportunity to be included. I know people encourage and support me but have I really included them in leadership?

    1. I know what you mean, in terms of asking the question on whether you have included them in leadership. It's something I have thought of at times. For me, the issue is delegating something that I (in my slightly unholy arrogant opinion) could do better, to someone who will probably do it better in the future if I give them a chance! Something many of us in leadership are still learning. For me, this is about my own humility and also self-confidence to give tasks away to others.


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