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Maxwell Executive Leadership Podcast #159: The Laws of Leadership for the Level 2 Leader

October 21, 2021
Maxwell Executive Leadership Podcast #159: The Laws of Leadership for the Level 2 Leader

Today we continue our look at how the 21 Laws of Leadership apply to the 5 Levels of Leadership. Today, Perry and Chris look at the Laws that apply to Level 2 and help you as you move toward Level 3.

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Read the Transcript:

Perry Holley:    Welcome to the John Maxwell Executive Leadership podcast, where our goal is to help you increase your reputation as a leader, increase your ability to influence others, and increase your ability to fully engage your team to deliver remarkable results. Hi, I’m Perry Holley, a John Maxwell facilitator and coach.

Chris Goede:     And I’m Chris Goede, Vice President with John Maxwell Company. Welcome, and thank you for joining. Just as a reminder, as we get started, if you want to learn a little bit more about how we can help your organization around a leadership culture, building a common language that leads to beliefs and behaviors of those inside your organization, maybe it’s even just from a coaching relationship and you want to learn a little bit more about what that looks like; don’t hesitate to visit You can also leave a comment, question, or a thought you may have for us there.

Well, today’s topic is titled, The Laws of Leadership for the Level Two Leader. And I’m excited, again, Perry and I shared last week, if you didn’t get a chance to listen to last week’s podcast, I’d encourage you to do that. We’re going to do a series of five podcasts where we talk about each one of the levels of the five levels of leadership. And we’re going to tie a couple of John’s 21 irrefutable laws to those levels, so that you have some areas to begin to look at, self-assess, and grow.

John wrote the book, 21 Irrefutable Laws, some 20 plus years ago. And the principles from those laws still stand very true today-

Perry Holley:    That’s true.

Chris Goede:     … in our leadership. Perry was sharing in our last podcast just recently on a coaching call.

Perry Holley:    I use them all the time.

Chris Goede:     He’s like, “Hey, where is this? How’s this going? You might want to look at that.” And so that’s what we’re doing for you here today. It’s almost, in essence, a little bit like a coaching call.

Perry Holley:    I’ll tell you another thing, a number of the coaching clients, they’re doing, when they do kind of their development for their team, in their team meeting every week… I think you’ve done this too, where they took the 21 laws and every week they covers… The leader doesn’t cover the law.

Chris Goede:     That’s right.

Perry Holley:    Yeah. They have someone on the team-

Chris Goede:     Yeah.

Perry Holley:    … take that law, and describe it to the team, and then teach, they kind of do a self-teach for five or 10 minutes.

Chris Goede:     That’s it.

Perry Holley:    So that’s what you did, isn’t it?

Chris Goede:     Yeah. Very simple. Hey, what does this mean to you? And what does it look like inside our organization? And let’s talk about it. And then, you get everybody engaged, and they know that their turn is coming to facilitate, so then they part anticipate a little bit better.

Perry Holley:    Right.

Chris Goede:     In terms of those meetings.

Perry Holley:    But I want to get you to describe what level two is, for those that may not know. But before I do, let me just tell you the laws that apply there. Now, there are more then we’re going to cover here today, because we want to keep this net. But I’ll give you four, that I thought were, I use them all the time in our coaching work.

Number one, the law of addition, which reads that leaders add value by serving others. The law of solid ground, which reads that trust is the foundation of leadership. The law of connection, leaders touch a heart before they ask for a hand. And my whole, one of my all time favorites, to law of buy in.

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Chris Goede:     Yeah.

Perry Holley:    People will buy into the leader. Well, people buy into the leader first, then the vision.

Chris Goede:     Yeah, yeah, yeah. Not the other way around.

Perry Holley:    Yeah.

Chris Goede:     Yeah. So I can’t wait to unpack that one with you.

Perry Holley:    Why don’t you to describe level two for me.

Chris Goede:     Yeah. Level two. This is really, I believe, the foundation that as a leader, you really need to work hard at. Some of us are a little bit wired for this, so it comes a little natural for us.

Perry Holley:    Thank you very much.

Chris Goede:     Yeah. Perry and I are in that boat. So this podcast may go 72 minutes long. Jake won’t let that happen. He’ll be over there like, “Land the plane.” But then, if you don’t have this, then I think that everything else is short term. And this is the foundation that we all need to build with each other. And so at level two, we call this the permission level, the permission to lead me. And so people are giving you permission to lead them. And they do that because of the fact that you’re connecting with them, or building relationships with them.

And I know you say Perry and Chris, man, you don’t know the people that I work with. Well, that’s okay. Like I think, there’s all kinds of opportunities for us to connect with them. And so we got to figure out that connection piece because they’re not going to go along with you if they don’t like you. And you know, this, you worked at big blue for a long, long time, in the sales leadership role. And you know, people do business with people that they connect with and they like, period. And so that’s what we’re going to talk about today. How do I, as a leader, develop myself in this area?

Perry Holley:    And level two’s got some great teachings. One of my favorites about being level two, as John says, that every follower is asking three questions about you, and those three questions are, can you help me? The second one is, do you care about me? The third one is, can I trust you? And when followers are trying to determine… I love that he used the word permission. I’m always asking people in the class, why would he use the word, permission?

You know, level one is about rights. I have the right to tell people what to do. It’s about position. But why permission? And it is that when people are watching you all the time, if they, can you help me, do you care about me, can I trust you? They’re trying to determine, do I want to give you permission to influence me? Do I want to give you permission to be my leader? And so we look at the laws, the first one that comes up, I’d love to get your feedback on this one, is the law of addition. Which is really what we’re all about, leaders add value by serving others.

Chris Goede:     Period, right? And that’s what we are known for. Our desire is to add value to leaders who then multiply value in other people, period. We want to add value to leaders. And I think, when I think about this law here, here’s what comes to mind. The best position for you as a leader to be, it’s not at the top of the food chain, not at a place where you feel like, “Hey, my name is Chris. I’m the leader. Hear me roar.” And then, I look around, and everybody’s running out of the room, literally. But it’s for you to be in a position, or a place of influence, to where you can add the most value to the most people possible, period. Try to position yourself in a place to where you can do that. And the law of addition is by adding value to the most amount of people you possibly can.

And then I think the other thing that I think about is, how do we then advance other people? How do we add value to them by helping them? We’ll talk a little bit about this at level four. But I always like to say, what are the things that I can be doing for somebody that they can’t do for themselves?

You and I’ve talked about this, I’ve seen you live this out recently. But also then, how far can I help people advance? And I’m thinking about the addition to their life. So think about it, not in the law of addition to your life and your journey, but the addition to other people and their life.

So at level one, you make the leadership really about yourself. It’s the title, it’s the position you were given, your power, now, your personal growth. But then at level two, you got to switch it up there, and you got to kind of make this transition to where it’s about other people. You have a focus of adding value to them, and you have an others focus, in essence. And that’s the problem that we see. And we talked about this in the last podcast. Most people, period, what’s that statement this world is made up of?

Perry Holley:    Except for one small exception is made up of other people.

Chris Goede:     That’s right. And we tend to look at ourselves.

Perry Holley:    Yeah. Well, I’ve been working on a new course, we’re working on, on servant leadership. And this law popped right into my head, that it speaks to that mindset of adding value to others and serving others, if you want to see them be successful. And it really is a mindset shift to away from yourself, away from organizational growth, but to personal team growth, and individual growth, and individual success, about helping others to be successful.

Number two was the law of solid ground.

Chris Goede:     Yeah.

Perry Holley:    Which just to remind you was, that trust is the foundation of leadership.

Chris Goede:     Yeah. I mean, this is a currency to all leadership. Right? We talk about the fact that man, be authentic to who you are, because it is a trust accelerator. And it is, I think trust based leadership is something that we all say that we acknowledge and we know that’s true, but are we really leading that way? Are we really influencing where we are building trust? We’re building that solid ground inside our connection with people, our relationship with people, in order to be able to lead them, and add value to them at a higher level. And leaders, you cannot break trust and grow your influence. So you want to progress with an individual from level two to level three, which we’re going to talk about in a future episode. I’m telling you right now, you definitely can’t do it if you break trust. So you got to have this to where the solid ground between you and the other individuals, that’s the currency, that your leadership is this trust.Perry Holley:    And we said, the three questions, can you help me, do you care about me, can I trust you? It can flip it the other way.

Chris Goede:     You sure could.

Perry Holley:    If they don’t trust you-

Chris Goede:     Period, stop.

Perry Holley:    … it doesn’t matter how much you’re helping.

Chris Goede:     Yeah. Stop it’s over. Yeah.

Perry Holley:    Doing that.

Chris Goede:     Yeah.

Perry Holley:    And trust takes time to build. You just don’t do that overnight.

Chris Goede:     Yeah.

Perry Holley:    People, small things that matter over time. So do what you say you’ll do. Keep confidences, give credit for work done. There’s so many things we do that can keep trust, and they can break it, equally.

The third law is the law of connection, that leaders touch a heart before they ask for a hand. This one’s foundational, I believe.

Chris Goede:     Yeah.

Perry Holley:    I guess, they all are. I can’t say that every one.

Chris Goede:     Yeah, they are. They are. It’s funny, because I’m even thinking about some of our conversation now applies to previous podcasts that we’ve done. And even some of those laws apply to where we’re at right here. So I think, that they’re very applicable in all areas. And I think at this law of connection, one of the encouragements I want to give you is that, I want you to really think about this on an individual basis. I want you to connect with your team. We’ll talk about that in just a minute, but I want you to know that man, this really can be successful for you, if you’re intentional about it on an individual basis. And I think that leadership is, not I think, I know, that leadership is a team sport for me, but it’s just made up of a bunch of unique individuals.

Perry Holley:    Yes.

Chris Goede:     And it comes back to that statement of, we need to lead people how they need to be led.

Perry Holley:    Right.

Chris Goede:     And we can’t lead them all the same, even when it comes to communication. And you and I have talked about this on a previous podcast. We have an incredible training course on communication right now, that organizations are using to help with the culture of communication. But I think you got to be able to even communicate effectively, to be able to connect with people. And know when and how to communicate, but also individually, but also with the team. And you got to be able to communicate effectively in order to connect with them. I know you’ve been on teams before, and I have as well, where the leader got done speaking and giving direction and vision, and everybody looked around, and said, “What?” So in order to increase our influence with them, we got to make sure that we’re thinking about this law of connection.

Perry Holley:    Well, you just can’t take connection for granted.

Chris Goede:     That’s right.

Perry Holley:    You think, just because we’re in your presence, I’m in your proximity, that we’re going to connect, you just said it, it requires intentional effort and focus from you. Many leaders are very production and results focused. That’s the asking for a hand part. But they completely miss the importance of this level two relationship, touching a heart that really drives that connection, which will then lead to production and results. So it can’t over state it enough, that you make the connection for… We’re going to go to level three, where we’re going to ask a lot of people to produce results.

Chris Goede:     That’s right.

Perry Holley:    Wouldn’t you want to have them-

Chris Goede:     Yes.

Perry Holley:    … connected, and on your team, and bought in, like we said, on the previous, the law of buy-in, is actually next. So the law of buy-in, number four, is that people buy into the leader, then the vision. I use this one all the time. It comes up with people, leaders, trying to get something from people, and you realize, they’re not bought in.

Chris Goede:     Yeah. Going back to the engagement levels of our workforce right now, I think the latest statistic I saw was, it’s at 34% engaged. You know why that number’s so low? It’s not because of the work that they’re doing, the organizations they work for. It’s because of the fact that they don’t buy in to the leader that they directly report to. And so I think, this buy-in and engagement levels go hand in hand and I think it’s necessary. In order to support what has been implemented by your organization or your team, or maybe even your leadership, then they better be in a place to where they’re buying into you, as an individual first. And are you leading? I love what you say, which is, people are watching you-

Perry Holley:    All the time.

Chris Goede:     All the time.

Perry Holley:    All the time.

Chris Goede:     And so, are they buying into what they see all the time? Then, let’s talk about this right here, discretionary effort.

Perry Holley:    Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Chris Goede:     Right? You want to get discretionary effort from your team members, to add value to what you guys are doing as an organization and as a team and your leadership? Then you’ve got to get to the point to where they are buying in to the leader that they absolutely see. And so at level two, this is just absolutely key. It’s not about buying into the vision. It’s about buying into you as an individual, you as a person first, and then buying into what you do next.

Perry Holley:    Yep. Well, I think moving from level one, you follow me because as you have to, to level two, you follow me because you want to, is the greatest leap in all of leadership.

Chris Goede:     Yeah.

Perry Holley:    Can you imagine, just think about it, someone willingly, because they’ve been watching you, and they’re seeing these qualities in you, and they’re bought into you, and you’re seeking connection, and you’re touching their heart before you ask for the hand, they just, they willingly say, “I’m going to give you permission to be my leader. I’m going to follow you because I want to.” And I think each of these laws, that we talked about today, really help you make that level two leap.

Chris Goede:     Yeah. Well, as we wrap up, let me just summarize this because… I say as we wrap up. Perry and I could talk about this for a long time, but this is a process.

Perry Holley:    Jake just flinched.

Chris Goede:     Yeah. That’s right. This is a process. And I’m going to go back to a word that Perry kind of reemphasized for us, which was, we got to be intentional about it. And the only way for you to really gain influence at level two, is to be intentional about the four laws that Perry brought to us today. The law of addition, solid ground, connection, and buy in. I believe that this is the step that will allow your leadership to be sustainable. Through good times through bad times, through wins through losses, if you do this level right…

I go back to the illustration of having change in your pocket. Sometimes you’re going to have to pull out those quarters that you got stuffed in there, and your team’s going to be okay with it, because you’ve done a really good job of building the foundation of trust with them, and them wanting, they’re giving you permission, and wanting to be a part of your team.

Perry Holley:    Relational capital.

Chris Goede:     Relational capital.

Perry Holley:    I did put in the learner guide this week, and for each of these lessons on the laws, I did put a self-evaluation for the laws we discussed today. So if you go to, you can download that learner guide, and see that short evaluation that you could, self-assessment that you can do up there.

You can also learn more about our offerings, 5 Levels, or 360 Leader. You can leave us a question or a comment, we love to hear from you. It’s always such a… We’re always so grateful, we talk about it a lot, that you would spend time here with us each week. And that’s all today from the John Maxwell Executive Leadership podcast.

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