A Review of Maxwell’s Leadership Development

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A Review of Maxwell’s Leadership Development “Leadership can be taught.” (Maxwell, 1993, p. viii) This is the continual theme expressed by John C. Maxwell throughout his books Developing the Leader Within You (1993) and Developing the Leaders Around You (1995). In his first book, Maxwell identifies leadership as a teachable and practicable skill, and outlines the various components of leadership to improve one’s own character and ability to lead others. His second book, focuses on reproducing the skills in others, not simply for others to possess them, but so they can be reproduced in successive generations. This reproduction allows a vision to be carried on, it creates a legacy. Maxwell’s evolution of leadership begins with a definition. Maxwell states that “leadership is influence.” (Maxwell 1993, p.1) In looking at leadership as influence we must consider who we influence. On May 30, 2000 Charles Barkley is noted for claiming that “I’m no role model.” Whether that claim was made out of humility, or to eschew responsibility for the behavior of young people, simply making the claim resulted in influencing many people for years. Maxwell suggests that the question “is not whether we will influence someone”, but rather “what kind of influencer you will be.” (Maxwell, 1993, p.4) We influence practically everyone we come in contact with because our actions are subject to interpretation and response. Maxwell tells us that “We never know who or how much we influence.” This idea is emphasized in the narrative of Drew Dudley’s TED presentation. He was unaware of the profound impact that his “lollipop moment” had left on a young lady’s educational and personal life until years later. (Dudley, 2010). In keeping with the idea that leadership can be taught, Maxwell contends that “influence is a skill that can be developed.” (Maxwell, 1993, p.5) The…...

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