Applying 21 Laws to the Five Levels of Leadership

21 Laws | 21 nguyên tắc

21 Laws refer to The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, one of John C Maxwell’s must-read leadership book. As you learn about the 5 levels of leadership, you probably wonder which laws to practice on each level. The truth is that every law can be practiced on every level. However, certain laws are best learned as you move up the 5 levels of leadership so the following table gives you a reference for your growth process.

How to apply 21 laws of leadership on each level?


People follow you because they have to

Law No. 1 – The Law of the Lid: Leadership ability determines a person’s level of effectiveness. Every person has a lid on his or her leadership potential. The challenge we all face is growing and developing to our full leadership potential, thereby raising the lid on our actual leadership ability.

Law No. 3 – The Law of Process: Leadership develops daily, not in a day. A leadership position can be received in a day, but leadership development is a lifelong process. By embracing the Law of process, we understand that leadership appointment is only a starting point.

Law No. 4 – The Law of Navigation: Anyone can steer the ship, but it takes a leader to chart the course. When you receive a leadership position, it’s wise to recognize how early you are in the leadership journey and how much you still have to learn.


People follow you because they want to

Law No. 2 – The Law of Influence: The true measure of leadership is influence – Nothing more, nothing less. If you boil leadership down to its essence, it is influence. Leaders help people work together to accomplish goals that benefit everyone involved.

Law No. 5 – The Law of Addition: Leaders add value by serving others. Many times leaders begin their careers with selfish motives. To move up to Level 2, leaders need to practice the Law of Addition. They lead in order to help people and add value to them.

Law No. 6 – The Law of Solid Ground: Trust is the foundation of Leadership. You cannot influence people who don’t trust you. Trust is the glue that hold people together. Trust begins at Level 2 and it grows as you climb to the highest level.

Law No. 10 – The Law of Connection: Leaders touch a heart before they ask for a hand. Connecting is the having the ability to identify with and relate to people in such a way that increases your influence with them.


People follow because of what you have done for the organization

Law No. 13 – The Law of the Picture: People do what people see. When people see results from their leaders, they know results are expected from them. Whenever results are an expectation, greater productivity happens.

Law No. 15 – The Law of Victory: Leaders find a way for the Team to win. Leaders at level 3 always find ways to win. And they do this on a regular basis, regardless of the odds, obstacles, or circumstances.

Law No. 16 – The Law of the Big Mo: Momentum is a leader’s best friend. Level 3 leadership is where momentum kicks in. Good results create momentum. Production creates a positive cycle that can continue to roll on and on.

Law No. 17 – The Law of Priorities: Leaders understand that activity is not necessarily accomplishment. It’s very easy for us to work hard all day every day, and still never get done the important things that make us and our team productive. So the key here is prioritizing.


People follow because of what you have done for them

Law No. 11 – The Law of the Inner Circle: Leaders’ potential is determined by those closest to them. If you are a leader with a big vision, you won’t be able to achieve it without a team of leaders – an inner circle. They help you achieve and are almost like an extended family.

Law No. 12 – The Law of Empowerment: Only secure leaders give power to others. You cannot reach Level 4 unless you are willing to empower people, promote them and release them to lead. This takes a strong sense of security and an abundance mind-set.

Law No. 14 – The Law of Buy-in: People buy into the leader, then the vision. Few things are more inspiring and energizing than leaders who seek to serve their people and see them rise up to their potential and become leaders themselves.


People follow because of who you are and what you represent

Law No. 20 – The Law of Explosive Growth: To add growth, lead followers – to multiply, lead leaders. Every time you develop a potential leader to Level 4, you change your organization for the better and increase its potential. The reason is when you develop a leader, you gain not only a leader but also all his or her followers.

Law No. 21 – The Law of Legacy: A Leaders’ lasting value is measured by succession. The goal in life is to create something that lives forever. The best way to do that as a Level 5 leader is to invest what you have in the lives of others.

Excerpt from “The 5 Levels of Leadershipby John C. Maxwell.

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Best leaders don’t manage time

One day in our life can be seen as a suitcase, of the same size as anyone else’s suitcase. The same suitcase, but some people can keep more things in it than others. The reason is: they know what items to keep, and how to keep them nicely. So “time management” is in fact “self-management”, and we can learn how to do it so to choose the important tasks, and carry them out most efficiently. To manage ourselves better, we must avoid making these three mistakes.

1. Do what others want us to do: As leaders, we want to make a difference, create influence, or develop relationships to achieve our personal or organizational goals. Because of this reason, sometimes we tend to waste our time doing something others expect us to do (such as helping them solve their problems). The result is, we are always busy but not very effective, because most of our time is spent on unimportant tasks.

2. Do unimportant tasks: How to be sure that what we are doing is important and worth the time and effort? The below formula can help us assess the priority.

Step 1: Assess the importance of the task (I)

Categorize the tasks into 5 levels (according to the score of 1 to 5) as follows: (i) Very important and necessary to do (5 points), (ii) Important (4 points), (iii) Slightly important (3 points), (iv) Necessary (2 points), (v) Not important (1 point).

Step 2: Assess the urgency of the task (U)

Need to complete by This month = 5 points

Need to complete by Next month = 4 points

Need to complete by This quarter = 3 points

Need to complete by Next quarter = 2 points

Need to complete by This year = 1 point

 Step 3: Multiply (I) and (U), we will arrive at three different priority levels

Level A (16-25 points): Very important tasks that need to be completed by this month

Level B (9-15 points): Important tasks that need to be completed by this quarter

Level C (1-8 points): Unimportant tasks that need to be completed by this year

We must take important note that in the list of a leader’s tasks, there should not be any (or should have very few) tasks that need to be done within today or this week. The reason is, the leaders need to see further than everyone else, and need to plan the strategies at least 1 month in advance, sometimes even 6 months or 1 year. Otherwise, we will always be unprepared and chasing after problems or crises.

3. Do something we have not been trained or taught to do: There’s a saying: whatever we have done can be done better. If training and development is crucial for employees, it’s even more crucial for leaders. That’s why we need to choose to do something that helps us:

Increase our personal value

Maximize our strengths

Be happier

Be more effective in coaching and mentoring

Add value to others

Adapted from “Leadership Gold” by John C. Maxwell.

Visit to know more about ELTD’s leadership  development and personal growth programs by John C. Maxwell.



407/2 Su Van Hanh, Ward 12 – District 10 – HCMC

Tel: +848 3868 0687

Fax: +848 3863 2539