21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John Maxwell (My Review)

How to be a better leader in your business

I just finished listening to this great book by John Maxwell called The 21 Irrefutable Laws Of Leadership. Full confession, until recently I wasn’t really much for leadership books or study. It wasn’t because I didn’t believe in leadership. It was because I was (at least in my own mind) a decent leader already. So, I focused a lot of my time on developing marketing skills, copywriting skills, and of course, ninja skills. (Was just making sure you were paying attention.

Thankfully, my Pastor and friend Justin Setzer turned me onto the idea of growing as a leader. It was true my natural personality had taken me pretty far. But if I wanted to grow my company I had to become a better leader. And that is why now, nearly every day, I listen to or read a book or article about leadership.

That led me to listen to the 21 Irrefutable Laws Of Leadership by John Maxwell.

I won’t go through all 21 of them. I highly recommend you buy the book or audible version. It’s worth it. And if you buy it from my link I think I’ll make about 45 cents or something lol. My review of the whole book is pretty simple. It’s amazing. I really love that in some way I knew most of what he was saying…. but in another way I had no idea what was coming next.


What I mean is, most of the book is “simple”. You could quickly say to yourself, “oh, I know that.”. But the truth is you may know of it… but do you really know it? Or more importantly, do you live it? Many times we lose sight of the basics because we want to go after the tricks or “secrets”. Us marketers might just be to blame for that. When it comes to selling,  you have to give people want they want, and most people want hacks or gimmicks… not solid principles.

This book is 1 proven principle after another. It just makes sense. And I’m convinced if you took the ideas in this book and applied them to your life and your business, you would see some pretty remarkable results.

Here are 3 of my favorite of the 21 Irrefutable Laws Of Leadership by John Maxwell

1. The Law of Influence The true measure of Leadership is influence

We often get lost when it comes to defining what leadership is. How do I know if I’m a good leader? What is leadership? How can I tell if my leadership strategies are working? The short answer to all these questions is summed up in one word: influence. If you really think about, leadership is nothing more than influence. If you’re a great leader, people will do what you say. There are different reasons they will do it, but in general, if you can influence others, you are being a leader.

The key is to make sure that your influence is earned. You want to influence people to want to do things for you and your company. You don’t want fear as the basis for action. This is what too many managers do. They mistake their position of authority for leadership and often resort to management tactics to get things done. This can include yelling, writing people up, and taking away privileges. I’m not saying some of these things don’t have to happen sometimes (except yelling), but fear only works for a while.

2. The Law Of IntuitionLeaders evaluate everything with a leadership bias

This one stuck out to me because it’s something I could never quite explain. I’ve always been able to take action quickly while others were debating on what to do. I’m not saying I was always right, but I’ve been right more times than not by following my gut. It’s hard to put into words when you just “know” something will work. But I’ve had that feeling many times. Maxwell calls this Leader’s intuition.

It’s a combination of instincts, experience, relationship dynamics, and the ability to read the situation. Good leaders can read their situation, trends, resources, and people. Like all skills, it can be learned. Some are naturally better at this than others, but by focusing on it, you will get better.

3. The Law Of Buy-In – People buy into the Leader, Then the Vision

Of all the laws, this one hit me like a ton of bricks. In the past, I’ve gotten so caught up in this great idea I’ve had. In this vision for the future that I just know everyone is going to love. If other people couldn’t see the vision, well, they just didn’t get it. I know a lot of people who think this way. What this law taught me is that in reality, people following you and being a team player has less to do with the what and nearly everything to do with the Who.

People will follow the leader if they believe in them. Great leaders don’t have to sell their vision, they have to get their organization to buy into them. If people trust you completely, they will follow you to the gates of hell if that’s what it takes. Vision is important of course, but nothing is stronger than people who believe in someone and commit to helping that person achieve their vision.

How to be a better Leader

Being a better leader isn’t about doing more or getting more done. It’s about creating influence in those you work with. It’s about getting them to buy into YOU, then they can catch the vision. If you’re not sure what is going wrong in your organization, let your intuition guide you. Become a reader of people and situations. Be guided by that gut instinct which is really your experience and knowledge manifesting itself.

Finally, always remember that you are a work in progress. If you’re not the leader you want to be today, then keep working on it. Choose a principle from John Maxwell and focus on it for a month. Do this each month and in less than 2 years you will be one of the greatest leaders around. Intentional focus does wonders.


As you go through all 21 principles, you don’t have to be excellent at all of them. There’s not a single person who can rock all 21 principles. That’s why we tend to achieve more when we work in teams. Look around and work with other people who have strengths where you have weaknesses. That is what a great leader does. A great leader isn’t afraid to bring in other leaders. In fact, that is the true mark of a leader. Did you create a bunch of followers? Or did you create leaders?

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