The Law of E. F. Hutton is the fifth law in book The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John Maxwell
The name of this law may be a little problematic, if one doesn’t know who this Mr. Hutton is. The name of the law comes from an old television commercial whose motto was “When E. F. Hutton speaks, people listen.” So, this is the meaning, as the law’s subtitle explains: When the Real Leader Speaks, People Listen.
In other words, sometimes the official leader is not the real leader, because the real leader holds the power, not just the position.
“Young, inexperienced leaders often walk confidently into a room full of people only to discover that they have totally misjudged the leadership dynamics of the situation.” John Maxwell writes.
In his case, at his first job leading a church, he walked into his first meeting to discover that he was the youngest person.
He attended his first church board meeting as pastor with no agenda and no clue. He assumed that since he was the official leader, people would just follow him. He soon realized who the real leader was, Claude who determined the agenda and the following discussions.
In other words, the young John Maxwell had the title, but Claude was the real leader, because when he spoke, the people listened.
After that first meeting, the young John Maxwell was faced with a few potential solutions to his problem. He could have insisted that he was the leader and that the people should follow him; he could have removed Claude; or, he could enlist Claude’s help. Young Maxwell wisely opted for this final option, and Claude became an asset instead of a problem and threat.
People listen not necessarily because of the truth being communicated in the message, but because of their respect for the speaker. Maxwell suggests this little experiment:
Go to a meeting with a group of people you’ve never met before and watch them for five minutes. You will know who the leader is. When somebody asks a question, who do people watch? Who do they wait to hear? The person they look to is the real leader.
Positional Leaders vs. Real leaders
This is the key to understand the difference between positional leaders and real leaders:
- Speak first
- Need the influence of the real leader to get things done
- Influence only the other positional leaders
- Speak later
- Need only their influence to get things done
- Influence everyone in the room
How do People Become the Real Leader?
According to Maxwell, over time, seven key areas become apparent in leaders’ lives that make them to step forwards as leaders:
Character – Who they are. Their inner person is key to their success as leaders.
Relationships – Who they know. They need to develop relationships with the people they lead.
Knowledge – What they know. Leaders are learners. They need to know the facts, and be able to think properly. Knowledge is vital to a leader.
Intuition – What they feel. They need to be able to deal with numerous intangibles.
Experience – Where they’ve been. The greater the challenges they have faced and overcome in the past, the credible they are.
Past Success – What they’ve done. Is their track record impressive?
Ability – What they can do. They must be good at what they do to convince people to follow them
What About You and Me?
After reading this chapter in The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John Maxwell I had to ask myself the question. What about me? Do I need a position to feel like I can lead or am I able to lead independent of the official position I hold? What about you? Feel free to comment.
The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John C. Maxwell
The book is divided in 21 main chapters, one for each of the 21 leadership laws. Below are the links to the chapters that I have reviewed or that I will review later.
- THE LAW OF THE LID
- THE LAW OF INFLUENCE
- THE LAW OF PROCESS
- THE LAW OF NAVIGATION
- THE LAW OF E.F.HUTTON
- THE LAW OF SOLID GROUND
- THE LAW OF RESPECT
- THE LAW OF INTUITION
- THE LAW OF MAGNETISM
- THE LAW OF CONNECTION
- THE LAW OF THE INNER CIRCLE
- THE LAW OF EMPOWERMENT
- THE LAW OF THE PICTURE
- THE LAW OF BUY-IN
- THE LAW OF VICTORY
- THE LAW OF THE BIG MO
- THE LAW OF PRIORITIES
- THE LAW OF SACRIFICE
- THE LAW OF TIMING
- THE LAW OF EXPLOSIVE GROWTH
- THE LAW OF LEGACY
BUY ON AMAZON: The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John Maxwell