John C. Maxwell Nuggets of Wisdom

What I learned from John C. Maxwell

Click on the hyperlinks throughout to learn more about specific people who teach leadership.

Nugget 1.

Early on John C. Maxwell professed the “Leadership Challenge” he faces, that makes it hard to multiply and benefit from good leaders. The problem, is that leaders are hard to find, gather, unite, and keep. This is because they are rare, busy, individualistic, and ambitious. The first step, finding them, is made hard by the fact that there aren’t many of them around, though it is important to remember that leaders will often naturally stand out because of their characteristics when given time. Gathering leaders is hard, because they are always engrossed in a project, so it is important to remember this and contact them early so one can recruit them before plans fill their schedule. Next comes uniting them towards a common goal, which John C. Maxwell points out proves a challenge because leaders love to pursue their own ideas; If they didn’t they wouldn’t be leaders. Finally, leaders are hard to keep, because of their ambition, which might drive them away from an organization to take advantage of new opportunities. Observing these struggles, the strength of TALONS is put on full display. Leaders are all already gathered in one place because that’s what the program is about, which knocks out two of the challenges already. TALONS Leaders also come up with activity ideas together, allowing them to unite easier, and are always challenged to further their learning. This will all be useful in our spring projects, as it lets us focus on more pressing matters in our leadership.

Nugget 2.

John C. Maxwell moves on to give the first step in turning producers into reproducers, with the phrase “I Model.” He considers modelling good leadership behaviour to be one of the best ways of reproducing new leaders, because people do what people see. Even though this hypocritical style makes leadership challenging, it is still very addictive because it is so much easier to teach what is right than to model what is right. From this one can gather that practicing modelling every chance one receives is a goal of utmost importance, because it is a very hard habit to consistently keep up, but it will make or break your success when reproducing leaders. As Norman Vincent Peale says, “Nothing is more confusing than people who give good advice and set bad examples” (Maxwell 15).This lack of clarity found in inconsistency will slow down the process of growing strong leaders, which is something that needs to be done right from the start. On our spring projects, practicing modelling would make for a fantastic goal for the grade tens to strive towards. By having grade tens focus especially hard on modelling good leadership behaviour during the most large and impactful trips of TALONS, we can create future grade tens with even better leadership skills. Focusing on modelling could also enhance the leadership skills of the current grade tens because it would make them conscientious of their leadership style and how they can improve it.

Nugget 3.

Next in becoming a reproducer is the mantra “I Mentor.” He lists the characteristics of an effective mentor to be maturity, compassion, genuine respect, confidentiality, self-disclosure, and the ability to evaluate a person’s potential. Maturity, compassion, genuine respect, and confidentiality are very important factors in building trust with mentees. Practicing these can mean the difference between a superficial relationship, and a strong one. A superficial relationship won’t make large enough steps to develop a leader, while a strong one will, as the participants will trust each other enough to grow. This is relevant to me because mentorship relationships of mine, (as either mentor or mentee), have sometimes felt superficial, and it really isn’t an enjoyable state to be in. Self-disclosure also builds trust, and can additionally serve to further relationships and education after trust has been built. All of this will be useless however, if a mentor cannot evaluate the potential of possible leaders, so as not to spend their efforts where they won’t be fruitful. In TALONS, a course on trust building using these strategies could be very useful. Even just a small lesson or two with a few good tips to keep in mind could make a substantial difference on our spring projects. In the second paragraph I said that these spring projects could be the best chance in TALONS for the tens to mentor the nines, so keeping these aspects in mind and striving to meet them is another very worthy goal.

What do you think is unique and interesting about John C. Maxwell’s leadership lesson? To watch the first session of the leadership lesson I watched for this assignment, click here.


Maxwell, J. C. (2014). Developing Leaders Around You. The John Maxwell Company.