Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Law No. 14 - The Law of Buy-In - John C. Maxwell's 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership

John C. Maxwell's 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership - The Law of Buy-In (Law No. 14)

The leadership axiom is this, 'People buy into the leader, then the vision.' The premise is, that people do not simply follow worthy causes, but rather they follow capable, inspiring leaders who are promoting a worthy cause.

Is this always the case? I would say, nine times out of ten, yes. I would argue though, that some causes, in and of themselves, are inspiring enough to garner support even if the leader of that cause lacks capacity.

The most recent case I can think of where John Maxwell's leadership axiom was very evident to me, was when I spoke at a Men's Breakfast event. I did not know the people present. I spoke on a particular topic that was a slightly controversial topic. The support for the content of what I was saying, I felt, was severely impacted by the lack of buy-in I had from the men who were gathered. How could I have addressed this leadership insight better? Well, maybe I could have spoken to more men (over coffee) before I began my talk. Maybe I could have spent the first few minutes building some cohesion between myself and the men who were present. This law of leadership is closely related to the law of respect.

The law of buy-in is not gospel for me. I am still wrestling with this one. Some leadership decisions require the commander leadership style that bucks against this 'leadership law', and makes a decision irrespective of the colloborative buy-in or support from other team players. For toxic cultural environments that require leadership, asking for buy-in from the team is not conducive to dealing with a bad culture. Though one may agree, that the need was to make quick decisions to change the culture, but the axion still holds true, that people do not buy into the vision until they buy-in into the leader. So, in unhealthy organizational culture, a leader may have to deal with making quick, tough decisions even without the colloborative buy-in of respective team members.

See a further post on the ins and outs of visionary leadership. A visionary leader has a few challenges at hand.

So for the most part, John C. Maxwell's Law of Buy-In holds true.


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