Leadershift Summary

1-Sentence-Summary: Leadershift will show you how to become a great leader by identifying the need to constantly improve your mindset and methods and showing you what to do so that you can make the biggest impact on your team and your organization.

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In our rapidly changing world, we often wonder what aspect of life is going to need the most adjustment going forward. Too many things we do are just a result of outdated thinking and cultural norms. We need to make some adjustments. 

One of the most important areas for this is leadership. It’s important, for one thing, that we have good leaders to help us navigate the turbulence of our time. But those in charge also have to be agile themselves.

John C. Maxwell knows a few things about leadership and will teach them to you in his book Leadershift: The 11 Essential Changes Every Leader Must Embrace. You’ll discover how to change your mindset so that you, your company, and those you lead can become more successful.

Here are the 3 of the greatest lessons to change your mind about leadership:

  1. The attitude of “climbing the ladder” yourself is outdated, you should instead construct ladders that you can help others ascend through mentoring.
  2. Directing others used to be the norm for a leader, but now the best results come from connecting with your people.
  3. The influence that comes from how much people trust you is far more powerful than any title you can ever have.

Got your growth mindset handy? You’re going to need it to have a successful Leadershift! Let’s go!

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Lesson 1: Bad leaders try to climb the ladder, exceptional ones build ladders for others to ascend by mentoring them.

Although the attitude of “climbing the ladder” doesn’t help others much, it is necessary to get ahead if you want to help others. Strive to be in the top 10% of your field. This sets you apart and ensures that you’ll have plenty to teach.

You need to begin by shifting your mentality about your experience. It’s not a badge of honor, but rather a well from which you can draw lessons from to help others. 

The best leaders, according to Kevin Myers, the leader of 12Stone church, are those that desire more for their people than they expect of them.

If you want to help your people reach their full potential you need to learn the art of mentoring. It begins with you choosing who you want to mentor. You don’t have unlimited time, so you need to decide well. 

Start by asking yourself some vital questions. Are the people you’re considering for mentoring really hungry to learn? If they’re the kind of people that say “I’ll find a way” instead of “maybe there’s a way but I don’t know,” then you’re on the right track.

Next, question whether the individuals have real potential to become leaders themselves. They’re going to have a lot of influence, and you want to make sure it’s good. 

After finding the right people to mentor, consistently give them small nuggets of wisdom from your well of experience. Then, let them have options for pathways to develop their skills.

Lesson 2: You will make a far greater impact on the lives of others and in your business when you connect with people instead of simply directing.

This is a truth that Maxwell discovered while visiting the locker room of the University of Tennessee Lady Volunteers basketball team. Their coach, Pat Summitt, was well-known for her success.

It’s half-time and the players are coming into the room. Rather than going right to Summitt to learn from her, they huddle together at a whiteboard. They ask themselves three questions:

  • What went well?
  • What didn’t go well?
  • What are we going to change?

Once the team finishes discussing, they then turn to Summit with a report and also seeking her counsel. Instead of lecturing them, she connects with them by listening.

It would have been easy for the coach to assume what the team needed and just speak it to them in the locker room. But instead, she sought to understand their perspectives and needs with questions and listening. 

Summitt connected rather than directed, and you need to learn this skill too. Practice asking the right questions and active listening and you’ll be a champ in no time. 

To help himself do this, Maxwell uses a notepad when meeting with people. He writes a big “L” on it to help him remember to listen more than he speaks.

Start improving your own communication skills by asking others how good you are at listening on a scale of 1-10. Also invite them to tell you whenever you’re not listening to them in the future.

Lesson 3: Your title is meaningless compared with the power that you can have when your team trusts you.

To be a good leader, you need the ability to influence others. But where do you get that?

Maxwell learned early in his career that it doesn’t come from your position. Right after graduating from college became the pastor at a small church. Expecting to be in charge at the first of the church’s board meetings, he was surprised when a member named Claude took charge.

Claude led the whole meeting, only having Maxwell say the opening and closing prayers and little else. It was hard for Maxwell, but he realized that this man’s integrity spoke louder than any title of his ever could. 

In other words, Claude had moral authority, which people that always live their values and do what they say they will have. You can recognize a person with these traits because they are trustworthy and dependable. 

When others know that you are going to follow-through with your promises, this makes them willing to follow you more than any position can.

You also need to have courage to help you and those you lead reach their full potential.

We all know that David slays Goliath in the notorious bible story. But did you consider what the army was doing while this was happening? At first, they were cowering in fear. But seeing David’s courage to stand up to Goliath, they burst through their fears to defeat the Philistine army.

Leadershift Review

I can’t help but love everything that John Maxwell writes, and Leadershift is no exception! Society definitely has some traditions surrounding management that we need to annihilate, and this book does an excellent job of starting the process. Anyone that reads this book is going to benefit, too, not just people in authority!

Who would I recommend the Leadershift summary to?

The 57-year-old manager who wonders if their methods are outdated, the 31-year-old that is just beginning their career who wants to make a positive impact on all that they interact with, and anyone that needs some advice on how to bring out the full potential in others.

Last Updated on September 19, 2022

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Luke Rowley

With over 450 summaries that he contributed to Four Minute Books, first as a part-time writer, then as our full-time Managing Editor until late 2021, Luke is our second-most prolific writer. He's also a professional, licensed engineer, working in the solar industry. Next to his day job, he also runs Goal Engineering, a website dedicated to achieving your goals with a unique, 4-4-4 system. Luke is also a husband, father, 75 Hard finisher, and lover of the outdoors. He lives in Utah with his wife and 3 kids.