When John Maxwell’s book The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: Follow Them and People Will Follow You was released he travelled the country leading workshops based on the book. I attended one of those workshops. The first law in the book is the Law of the Lid which teaches that everything rises and falls on leadership. The leadership lid of the leader determines how far the organization can go. When he finished talking on that law I never heard anything he said about the new two laws because I was trying to process what he had said about the first law. I was also somewhat angry.
At that time I was the pastor of a small church and the owner/manager of a small business. I was not happy with how either of those organizations were doing, and I had let both our congregation and our employees know how I felt. I challenged each of them that if they would do more our church and our business could grow. Maxwell was now telling me it was my fault; I was the leader and it was my leadership lid that was preventing both organizations from doing better. The reason I was angry was that I realized he was right!
Your organization can have the best team members and the best structure available, but leadership will ultimately determine how successful your organization will be. The decisions of the leaders will determine how productive team members will be and how well your structure will meet the needs of your team and your customers. If your lid is a 5 you can never expect your organization to rise above a 4 because it will keep bumping up against your lid. Also, if your lid is a 5 you will not keep team members above a 4 because people will not work for people whose leadership abilities are less than theirs. You should also consider something else. If your 4 leaders are hiring people they are going to hire 3s. Can you see how this keeps pulling your organization backwards?
If you are serious about wanting your small business to grow you must be growing as a leader so you can attract other great leaders and have a more effective and productive business. You have to stay current on what’s happening in your field. That will likely require you to read a lot more than you currently do. It will also likely mean you’ll need to attend some continuing education opportunities, and it may even mean you will need to go back to school for some specific classes.
We can blame struggling and closed businesses on many factors. We can point our fingers at the economic situation, at laws that are oppressive to small businesses, government involvement and bureaucracy, unfair business practices by our competitors, and dozens of other problems, but the real reason our business isn’t doing as well as we might like is directly related to our leadership of that business. Raise your leadership lid and you’ll raise the potential of your business. BTW – I still think that book of Maxwell’s is one of the top three leadership books of all time.