The Law Of The Lid – A Leader’s Level Determines His Effectiveness

This is the first of 21 weekly posts based on John Maxwell’s 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership.

Law No. 1 – The Law Of The Lid.  

The Law of the Lid states that leadership ability is the lid that determines a person’s level of effectiveness.  In other words, whatever the capabilities are of an individual in a leadership position will determine the lid on their potential to lead.  Let’s think about this for a minute … if you know someone who is in a leadership position and is not very successful at leading, they probably have a low lid or lessor ability to lead.  If they are leading well they most likely have a high lid and greater ability to lead.  To simplify this concept, simply ask yourself “How much influence do they have on those they are leading?”

John Maxwell has said that simply put “Leadership is Influence” and the greater the impact we want to make as leaders will be determined by our influence on those around us.  If we are not competent leaders, we will struggle to influence others.  If we are unable to influence others, than we are probably not leading anyway.

Consider these thoughts…

People generally will not follow those that have a lower lid than they do.

People are drawn to leaders that have a higher lid than they do.

Based on those comments, consider the following…

What is your leadership lid?

What is the leadership lid of the person who is leading you?

I would suggest that if you truly want to raise your Lid as a Leader, you should consider the level of the people you are spending the most time with and the educational or intellectual value of the books you are reading.  The only way to raise your lid is the raise your competence as a leader.

Next week we will look at Law No. 2 – The Law Of Influence

Barry Smith 5/16/12




I recently asked a group that I was working with “What do you think the role of a coach is?”  Here are some of the responses I received:

“Someone who teaches and prepares you for what is to come”

“A person you can go to for ideas, guidance, support and encouragement to proceed positively”

“A person to guide someone until they have reached their full potential”

“Someone who pushes you forward and cheers you on – On and Off the field”

“Someone to direct and inspire people to achieve things/dreams that they are passionate about”

“Someone who is positive, trustworthy and not above working along side of you”

“Someone to lead or guide a person to a desired goal – to provide inspiration”

All these are things that a coach may provide but the true purpose of a coach is often overlooked or misunderstood by most people.  I believe that the ultimate purpose of a coach is to help individuals to be able to do these things on their own.

Consider the game of football … the coach is not going to be on the field with his players, they will have to make decisions on their own once the ball is snapped.  The players do not have the time to ask the coach what to do or even think about what he might tell them to do.  They have to find the answer within themselves and respond immediately to be successful.

Certainly all decisions do not need to be made in a split second but the idea is that the person being coached develops the ability to find the answers within themselves.  As a coach, one should help their client to understand where they currently are and where they want to be.  True success for a coach is to help that person to be able to ask themselves the right questions to get the needed answers on their own.

Barry Smith 5/12/12