The Law of Solid Ground states that trust is the foundation of leadership. This is the is the 6th of John Maxwell’s 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership.
It is hard to follow someone that you don’t trust. Leaders cannot break trust with people and expect to keep influencing them. Some leaders use their power and influence to force people into doing what they want them to do, but this strategy always backfires, because it doesn’t engender trust in the leader nor elicit loyalty from the followers.
A sad example of loss of trust in the leadership is what happened during the Vietnam War. Under President Kennedy and his secretary of defense, Robert McNamara, the United States became increasingly involved in the war.
Initially, the American people was supportive of that effort, in spite of the ever increasing number of casualties, but the Vietnam war was handled poorly. The worst mistake was that McNamara and the new President Lyndon Johnson weren’t honest with the people about was really happening. According to John Maxwell, they broke the law of solid ground by minimizing American losses and telling half-truths about the war.
The Importance of Character
Leadership is a potent combination of strategy and character. But if you must be without one, be without strategy.General H. Norman Schwarzkopf
Character and Leadership credibility always go hand in hand. John Maxwell in his Law of Solid Ground states that,
If your people don’t know what to expect from you as a leader, at some point they won’t look to you for leadership.
When it comes to leadership, we shouldn’t take shortcuts, no matter how long we’ve been leading people. Decisions need to be done the proper way.
Similarly to Steve Covey’s concept of the emotional bank account, an account of trust instead of money, John Maxwell compares trust to change in leaders’ pockets. Each time leaders make good leadership decisions, they earn more change, but each time they make poor decisions, it is like if they were paying out some of that change to the people. If leaders keep making poor decisions, they will end up without change in their pockets or, in other words, nobody will trust them anymore as leaders.
Leading is like taking a journey with people, and if the leader’s character is flawed, the longer the trip, the more unbearable it becomes for the followers.
So, how do leaders increase change in their pockets, or how do they increase trust?
Leaders should build their Character, because it quickly communicates many things to others.
Character Communicates Consistency. NBA great Jerry West said: “You can’t get too much done in life if you only work in the days in which you feel good.”
Character Communicates Potential. John Morley observed: “No man can climb beyond the limitations of his own character”. Craig Weatherup explains: “You don’t build trust by talking about it. You build it by achieving results, always with integrity and in a manner that shows real personal regard for the people with whom you work.” When a leader’s character is strong, people trust his ability of developing and releasing their potential. Weak character is limiting.
Character Communicates Respect. When you don’t have character within you, it is very difficult to earn respect from the outside world. So how do leaders earn respect? By making sound decisions, admitting their mistakes, and putting what’s best for their followers and the organization ahead of their personal agendas.
This is the Law of Solid Ground, the 6th Law of The 21 Irrefutable of Leadership.
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 of Leadership.