The Law of the Inner Circle is the 11th law of The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John Maxwell. It states that those closest to you will determine your potential as a leader.
“A Leader’s Potential Is Determined By Those Closest To Him” — John C. Maxwell
Our current culture places a high value on being “self-made” and achieve success all on your own, but no one really achieves anything alone.
Every Organization Has An Inner Circle
“Look at an organization in just about any profession and you can see the law of the inner circle at work. For example, in 1997 baseball’s Florida Marlins assembled an awesome group of players together as a team. what was the result? They won the world series. But once their championship season was over, they began dismantling the team.
It was a “fire sale” similar to the one that the San Diego Padres management held in the early 1990s before their team was sold. The result in Florida will be the same as it was in San Diego. without their key players, their inner circle, the Marlins will fall into the ranks of the mediocre. The potential of the leader—along with the potential of the whole organization—is determined by those closest to him.”
Your Own Talent Is Not Enough: You Need a Strong Inner Circle
To be successful as a leader, your personal talent is not enough, but you need the right team around you, because those closest to you will determine your level of success. Therefore, you have to choose well those will be part of your inner circle.
Mother Theresa said, “You can do what I can’t do. I can do what you can’t do. Together we can do great things.”
Instead of surrounding yourself with people you like or with whom you are comfortable, consider what these people bring to the table.
- Do they have high influence with others? People who have influence with others, will increase your own influence. To multiply the influence of your own leadership, find great leaders.
- Do they bring a complimentary gift to the table? You need to find people who are strong where you are weak. You need people with different strengths and abilities in your inner circle, to create a great team.
- Do they hold a strategic position in your organization? How important are they for your organization? What connections and projects do they lead or can influence?
- Can they add value to you and the organization? You want people with proven track record of accomplishments to strengthen your inner circle.
- What is their potential impact on other inner circle members? Are those people going to have a positive impact on the other members of the team? Will they improve and encourage each other?
The Value of Raising Up the Right People in Your Inner Circle
According to John C. Maxwell, a leader should try to raise up people for his inner circle from within his organization.
“Hewlett-Packard manager Ned Barnholt believes there are three groups of people in an organization when it comes to their response to leadership and its impact:
(1) those who get it almost immediately and they’re off and running with it; (2) those who are skeptical and not sure what to do with it; and (3) another third who start out negative and hope it will go away.
“I used to spend most of my time with those who were the most negative,” says Barnholt, “trying to convince them to change. Now I spend my time with the people in the first [group]. I’m investing in my best assets” That attitude pays rich dividends in the future.”
Never Stop Improving Your Inner Circle
It takes time to create great inner circles: never stop looking for the best people around you. Maxwell observes that no leader starts off with a strong inner circle, because it’s something that develops over time. If your inner circle is hampering your progress, perhaps you need to find better leaders. But you also need to be the best possible leader to attract those talented people to you, so that they will not go work for someone else.
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 individual chapters.
- 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 REPRODUCTION
- 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
ON AMAZON: The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership