Simon says: “Follow The Leader”

When it comes to the leadership topic, I can’t help but to repeatedly quote one of my favourite authors and well-known leadership guru, John Maxwell. I’ve read several of his books and they never cease to motivate, educate and inspire me. In one of his books The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, he states that “leadership develops daily, not in a day.” I believe that leadership is not only proven and displayed in the workplace but also in one’s daily agenda. Everyone has the potential to be a great leader and can do so by having the right attitude and by taking the first step of wanting to work at acquiring leadership skills. I also believe leadership is one of the ingredients of living a successful and significant life.

In this video, John makes a lot of good points about leadership. He addresses that leadership is about serving others and adding value to other people. In this video he also addresses one of the laws of leadership, “the law of the picture – people do what people see. It’s all about their example” (Maxwell). He also brings up an interesting statistic of how the greatest leadership is by example:

  • 89% of what we learn, we learn visually
  • 10% through the ears
  • 1% through other senses
Watching this video reminded me of the monkey see, monkey do. It also reminded me of younger kids doing what their parents do, not what they say. When I was younger, I always remembered my mom putting make-up on  and when I asked her if I can put some on too, she always reminded me that it was for grown-ups only and that I had to wait. My mom being the “leader” in my eyes as a child, I wanted to be like her and she looked “more beautiful” with it on. Being the curious little girl I was, I had to try it one day…and let’s just say I definitely did not look “more beautiful.”
In another one of John’s leadership books, I’ve learned that an organization or a group is as effective as the leadership portrayed. Management and Leadership are different but they complement each other. Here‘s an interesting article I found from the globe and mail that summarizes a study that was done. In summary,
Teams need management skills and visionary leadership skills but the issue is where is it coming from. It’s not necessary for the leader to provide management if the team can manage itself. But if the leader doesn’t have a vision, the team is not going to do well at all. We have gone overboard in valuing leadership and devaluing management. We need both. And if you can provide both, the focus should be on which behaviour is required at a particular time.(Stoner)
In this Wall Street Journal article, it talks about the differences between management and leadership, and how they are linked together. Because of the tough economy and the way technology is rising, the author states that

In the new economy, where value comes increasingly from the knowledge of people, and where workers are no longer undifferentiated cogs in an industrial machine, management and leadership are not easily separated. People look to their managers, not just to assign them a task, but to define for them a purpose. And managers must organize workers, not just to maximize efficiency, but to nurture skills, develop talent and inspire results.

In this day and age, I believe that companies are seeking leadership through the tough economic times in order to be more productive. In the same article, it states that “one does not ‘manage’ people,the task is to lead people. And the goal is to make productive the specific strengths and knowledge of every individual.” (Drucker)

 I am coincidentally reading The 5 Levels of Leadership by John Maxwell and he talks about the different levels, with level 5 being the most uncommon and most difficult. The key work in this level is “respect”  and in order “to reach Level 5, a leader needs to be developing leaders – and not just leaders but Level 4 leaders – for many years. Most people leading groups won’t have a Level 5 leader in them” (Maxwell). Here is a link to John Maxwell’s blog that describe each one and below is what they look like:

It’s interesting to evaluate which level you are at and which level you want to achieve. Although it will take a lot of self-discipline and motivation, I believe it will be worth the success? What level do you guys want to achieve? Let me know in the comments below!


Harper Business. (n.d.). Retrieved June 25, 2012 from

John Maxwell On Leadership. (March 5, 2012). Retrieved June 25, 2012 from

John C. Maxwell: The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership. (August 6, 2009). Retrieved June 25, 2012 from

Maxwell, John C. (2007). 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership. Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson.

Maxwell, John C. (2011). What are the 5 Levels of Leadership?. Retrieved June 25, 2012 from

Schachter, Harvey. (2012). The Management vs. Leadership Debate. Retrieved June 25, 2012 from


4 thoughts on “Simon says: “Follow The Leader”

  1. Great post Lilia.
    Although I have no formal rank at my current job, I still feel as if I am a level three` leader in the eyes of my coworkers. Since I have put in more than three times the amount of hours in my work than the group I got hired with, I have found that when I suggest a job for them to work on they quite often take my advice. With no formal title or power in my rank within the company my coworkers still follow the instructions I set for them. I don’t think it’s because they think they have to, but rather because they want to and they have recognized the amount of work that I have done in the past and see me as an expert.

    Peter Bregman wrote a good blog about being a good leader and effectively connecting with employees. He pretty much broke it down into three steps: Defining the outcome, Suggesting a path to achieve it and then Allowing people to reject you path as long as they choose route leading to the same outcome. Following these steps I think a lower level leader and jump up to becoming a fourth level leader pretty fast. As a result of letting the employee choose the way they do their work, they tend to take notice of the trust a manager has for them and work to keep it.

    Here is the source:

  2. It’s interesting to learn that leadership also means Serving others. In a way leaders actually do and care more about the employees. As you said this is not a one day thing, this may take a long time to build respect and being able to have a group of employees who follow your actions. Actually not only in working environment, but also among a group of friends there is usually certain person who would lead the group in doing something and people would like to follow him/her to do those things. There is no “rights” or monetary rewards involved, but it’s just the person’s characters that attract these followers.

    I always see many books about how to be a leader, how to gain respect and how to build a team. But I think these things are very hard to master. The books may say you should follow 10 rules to be a great leader, but understanding these things is different from actually remember doing all these things when you’re in that situation.
    Great post Lilia

  3. Hey Gloria,

    Loved the blog post, it includes a lot of scholarly sources, as well as some incites into your personal life. The personal stories are nice, because I’m a total creeper :D…

    Leadership by example reminded me of Mahatma Ghandi’s quote, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” I love the quote, and try my best to live by the idea.

    I was thinking which leader type I want to be. Of course, it has to be #5, “PINNACLE”! But, I was wondering, what’s the fundamental difference between #2 and #5? With #2, “people will follow me because they want to.” With #5, “people will follow me because of who I am and what I represent.” Do you have any examples from the book, or any examples that you can think of?

    Thanks for the well-structured and informative post.

  4. I love how you dug up some good Micheal Drucker quotes;) Nothing strengthens a business argument like Drucker! I was also very interesting to learn about the 5 levels of leadership, they really help make it clear as to what sort of leader an individual is. The goal for everyone should be to be a level 5 leader, yet so many out there seem content on being at level 1…
    When we view the traits of level 5 leadership, they include Humility and Resolve, two seemingly mutually exclusive traits yet whe combined, are extremely effective. Here’s an interesting article i found that depicts what it means to be a Level 5 leader:

    Great blog Lilia!

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