The Lid
David Freund, Chief Leadership Officer

Last week I wrote about the seven things great communicators do when they speak to people. While communicating is a skill every leader needs, I think we may need to take a step back and look at something I struggled with some years ago, the leadership lid. Every leader has a leadership lid. Their ability to lead directly relates to the level of performance their team or organization can achieve; John Maxwell calls this the Law of the Lid. On a scale of one to 10, if you are at a six, your team or organization will never rise above a five. You are the lid that holds them back.

Now, I know what you are thinking; how can I say such a negative thing. Well, it’s good news or bad news depending on how you look at it. When I hit my leadership lid about 10 years ago, I was in a really bad place. Everything seemed to go wrong, and no matter how hard I worked, things didn’t improve. One afternoon I discovered the Law of the Lid. I realized that I was the problem. Not my team, not the economy; it was me. For a short time, I saw this as something very bad. Then it dawned on me—if I was the problem, I could also be the solution. Since the only person I can change is me, this was actually a very good thing. I just needed to raise my leadership lid.

You might ask, “How do I know if my leadership lid needs to be raised?” Are you and your organization achieving the goals you desire? Is your team getting better each year? Are you attracting the best new hires? If you answer no to any of these questions, you have some work to do. The best news is that everyone can raise their leadership lid. In fact, everyone needs to raise their leadership lid because the world around us demands it.

Your next question might be, “Where do I start?” I would start by determining where you are right now. In his book, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, John Maxwell asks us to rate ourselves in 21 different areas of leadership. This rating allows us to see where we need to grow the most. Once you have determined your growth area, start growing.

Growth isn’t difficult; you just need to be intentional about it. Here are six things that can make it easier:

  1. Value experience with reflection – Spend the time reflecting on your experiences and turn them into insight.
  2. Invest in training – The greatest investment you can make is in your own growth.
  3. Mentorship & Coaching – Find mentors or a coach that can help support you.
  4. Masterminds – Attend masterminds with growth-oriented people.
  5. Do something beyond yourself – Everything you want in life is just outside of your comfort zone.
  6. Reflect on who has been a lid lifter in your life – Express gratitude to those who have helped you lift your lid.

If you would like to hear more about lifting your leadership lid, please join Marisa Norcross and me on Episode 231 of The Next Page podcast as we talk through the 21 areas of leadership, and we can intentionally lift our lids.

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