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Maxwell Executive Leadership Podcast #160: The Laws of Leadership for the Level 3 Leader

October 28, 2021
Maxwell Executive Leadership Podcast #160: The Laws of Leadership for the Level 3 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 3 and help you as you move toward Level 4.

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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 at John Maxwell, Facilitator and Coach.

Chris Goede:     And I’m Chris Goede, Vice-President with John Maxwell Company. Welcome and thank you for joining us. I want to encourage you to visit There you can download the Learner Guide. You can leave a question or comment for Perry and I. You can also, if you want to inquire a little bit more information about one of our executive Coaches or Facilitators partnering with your organization, you can also leave that comment there and we’ll follow back up with you.

Well, today’s topic is titled The Laws of Leadership For The Level Three Leader. I started doing this at level two. I thought I’d just try it again. I’m making Perry’s titles very interesting. What we are doing is . We’re not, we’re doing a series on The Five Levels of Leadership and the laws, the 21 irrefutable laws that John wrote some 20 years ago, that have stood the test of time, not only in my leadership journey, yours as well…

Perry Holley:    That’s right.

Chris Goede:     Other leaders. Even though technology’s changing, it has continued to be consistent in the principles that are taught. So what we’ve done is we’ve picked a couple of the laws, tied them to the different levels, and we want this to really be a development plan for you. If you feel like this is a level in The Five Levels of Leadership you need to work on or focus on, then we’re going to give you a couple of laws to dig into personally. And I think you’ve even actually provided an assessment in the show notes where you can kind of assess yourself?

Perry Holley:    Yeah, please, thank you for mentioning that. The Learner Guide, I went ahead and put it to the back of the Learner Guide for these sessions with the laws, a little personal assessment on the laws we talk about today.

Chris Goede:     That’s good. Good.

Perry Holley:    So a little one to five, how did you score on that? Give you some ideas about that. But yeah, this comes up a lot. The 21 laws, the 20 plus years it’s been out there, it holds it’s its own. It really is so rich today. It comes up a lot on coaching calls. I refer to them quite frequently, and I’d like you to describe level three of the five levels. But before I do, let me tell you the four laws I’d like to focus on today.

The first one, and this is for the level three leaders, but transitioning to level four, but the first one is law of respect, that people naturally follow leaders stronger than themselves. That goes really good there. Number two, the law of the picture, people do what people see. It comes up a lot.

Chris Goede:     Yeah.

Perry Holley:    Number three will be the law of Big Mo. Momentum is a leader’s best friend. And finally, the law of priorities. Leaders understand that activity is not necessarily accomplishment. I did an entire coaching call on that yesterday somebody telling me, “I’m so busy, I’m not getting anything done.”

Chris Goede:     Yeah. Well we’ll unpack that a little bit.

Perry Holley:    Yeah.

Chris Goede:     So as we go into this, let me just remind our listeners that level three of The Five Levels of Leadership is really all about production. We have to produce, that’s what we are hired for. It’s why we have an organization. It’s why we have a team, is that we’ve got to produce results. And this is really… People follow you at this level. You have influence with people at this level because of what you have done for the company in regards to that production.

And we talk a lot about the fact that leaders solve problems, leaders get things done. And so, at this level, this is where your leadership credibility is established. And what I love about it, tying it to a sports analogy, is that there’s a scoreboard. It doesn’t have to be tied to revenue, right? It can be tied to whatever your KPIs are, and there’s a scoreboard. So you’re either producing or you’re not.

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Perry Holley:    Right. Well, level three to me, I always think about that, that’s where all the hard things of leadership take place. It’s where your leader credibility shows up, and it’s where you set goals. You communicate expectations, you set a standard for performance. You hold others accountable, you have difficult conversations. It really is. If you’re going to produce results, you’re going to be doing all of these.

So the first one I wanted to look into was the law of respect. As I said earlier, is that people naturally follow leaders stronger than themselves. Your thoughts?

Chris Goede:     Well, my thoughts are that I know one thing’s not going to happen, and that is you and I are not going to start singing around RES. Now, Jake may jump on here. Jake’s got the vocals. That’s right, not you and I, but we’re not about to sing that in this law.

Perry Holley:    Well, let’s do it.

Chris Goede:     No, let’s not. My wife would… Yeah, I don’t think she .

Perry Holley:    She’s started listening?

Chris Goede:     No, but . when I think about the law of respect, this is what comes to my mind. Your reputation as a leader walks into the room before you do.
And I want you to think about that, and that is a powerful statement. And so, when you think about, “Man, what is my reputation and is there a respect?” And I think when you have respect for your team, when they have respect for you or those you have influence with, you can have alignment in where you’re going. Not agreement, but you can have alignment if, as a leader, you have their respect and you respect them.

And so, people follow you when you have credibility. This goes back to level three, we’re talking about production mindset. Remember, level two, it’s really about the relational, the connection, that’s relational credibility, and it’s often intangible. But at level three, it is about the results. People can see it and it’s tangible.

And you can point to it, and you can measure it. And so, we have got to be in a mode of producing and ultimately, that will then drive respect.

Perry Holley:    Yeah, like a comment that John makes. I heard him say it several times, but at level three, you’ve been there, you’ve done it. And now you’re taking the team there so they can be there, and they can do it. And it really makes a leader strong to develop this level three influence with the team, and you’re modeling great productivity and production, and they’re following with you in that.

The second law is the law of the picture, that people do what people see.

All about modeling, but give us more on that?

Chris Goede:     Well, leadership is a visual sport, and a lot of us are leading and leading different projects, different teams, different organizations, we’re out in front. And so, when people see results from their leader, they know that, that’s expected of them. And one of the things we like to talk about is that it’s contagious, right? Leadership is contagious, people tend to mimic that. And so, we’ve got to remember that.

The other thing, I think this is key, is you and I talk about this all the time when we go to the airport. We observe behaviors, we people watch.

Perry Holley:    Yeah.

Chris Goede:     And I think there’s probably a lot of you listening right now going, “Well, I do that too, right? It’s why I go to the mall.” I don’t think there’re malls anymore, but we are… just human nature is that we will observe people all the time.

And so, as leaders, again, just thinking about this from a law of picture, we’ve got to make sure that we understand that people are living out what they see us doing. And so, we’ve got to be thinking about the fact that as leaders, to grow our level three influence, it’s really about the goal more than it is about your role.

And so, we’ve got to make sure that we’re going after that goal and we’re figuring it out. It doesn’t matter what it takes from you because the team’s going to be watching that and see that, and they’re going to observe it, and it’s contagious.

Perry Holley:    Well, just following onto that, you mentioned earlier that people are watching us all the time and we acknowledge that. Almost everybody agrees with you, “Yeah, yeah. People are watching me.” And then I always follow up and say, “What are they watching for?” And when you get down to it, it really is that the people around you, and this is at work, at home, in the community, they’re watching your actions, your interactions, your reactions, and they’re watching your behaviors, and they’re watching what are you modeling for the team?

And it goes back to what we said at level two, they’re trying to make a decision, “Do I want to give you permission to be my leader?” Now at level three, “Am I going to engage with you in the work of producing results?” So it’s so important that people do what people see.

Chris Goede:     Yeah.

Perry Holley:    Are they seeing something good in you?

Chris Goede:     That’s right.

Perry Holley:    Number three, the law of Big Mo. One of John’s favorites, that momentum is a leader’s best friend.

Chris Goede:     Man, this law right here is one of my favorites as well, and you can see it. You can feel it. I love to watch football games, any type of sporting events. You can kind of feel The Big Mo when it changes, and people will comment on that. What I love about it is that when you have it, things are really, really good. Production is good, results are through the roof. It generates excitement and engagement around the team, things are easier.

But here’s what I want you to know about this, just to give you a little bit of caution, because not all of us have the opportunity to have a lot of momentum at a time. Okay. So just remember that when the momentum is there, when you have it, and leaders, it’s our job to create it. And so, we’ve got to innovate around it. We’ve got to change things.

At level three, if you want to increase your influence of production, you’ve got to figure out how to get the law of the Mo, whatever that looks like in your leadership and in your organization. But just remember this, if you have it, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re as good of a leader as it makes you look right now. And then when you don’t have it, just remember, that’s not necessarily representation of how much growth you need in your leadership, but it is something to be aware of, to assess, to understand, because if you have it, things are a lot easier than if you don’t.

And so, if you want to get a team, you want to get yourself producing, figure out how to create some momentum with small wins with your team.Perry Holley:    One of the ways I’ve found, there’s several, to generate that momentum, but making sure your team focuses on priorities, that’s your role. Make sure we’re working on the… majoring on the majors, not the minors.

Chris Goede:     Yeah.

Perry Holley:    Avoiding the busy work and putting out fires that can get in the way of really… It can really slow down momentum. Knowing what you do well, staying in your strength zone, keeping people on the bus, in the right seat, that they’re doing what they’re built to do, keeps the flywheel turning.

Chris Goede:     Yeah.

Perry Holley:    Really is these small things you do to generate momentum, and it will make things easier overall. And the last one today, the law of priorities says that leaders understand that activity is not necessarily accomplishment, busy, busy, busy.

Chris Goede:     You mean like making my list and crossing off the easiest ones is not a highly productive use of my time?

Perry Holley:    I get home, my wife says, “Did you have a good day?” I go, “I got a lot done. Did it even matter? Not one thing.”

Chris Goede:     Not one thing. This kind of feeds into even the momentum. I want to encourage leaders, as you think about production, all of these kinds of flow together. But man, if you can figure out what your priorities are as a leader, you will create momentum and, and momentum is a leader’s best friend.

But back to the priorities part of this, level three leaders do the right things, the right way, at the right time, for the right reasons. Now, you might have to rewind that. Okay, let me repeat it one more time. You can rewind it, let’s do it twice. But level three leaders are doing the right things, the right way, at the right time, for the right reason.

And it comes back to this. When I think about it, it’s really about what do I say no to, as a leader?

Perry Holley:    Wow.

Chris Goede:     Because we were joking just a minute ago about our list, and I like to generate the list. And if I were to look at that list, what are some of the things that are on there that I shouldn’t have on there, but I said yes to? And so if you want to create momentum, you want to create this production, this level three influence, I’m going to tell you, figure out what your priorities are and then use that as a decision-making filter on what you say yes, and say no to.

The other thing is I want to talk about a little bit around the 80-20, the Pareto Principle, which is 20% of what you’re doing produces 80% of your results. And so with that, you need to make sure that you’re prioritizing that top 20%. It’s not the easiest…

Perry Holley:    No.

Chris Goede:     But the top 20% is what we need to be doing to generate production for our team. One of the things that I have gotten into a practice of looking at and learn the lesson around this, is when you begin to look at that list of things and you begin to prioritize, are there things on that list that only you can do for that project, for the team, for the organization? And those should automatically come and float to the top.

Perry Holley:    Right.

Chris Goede:     And the rest of it should come down to the bottom and begin to question what the rest of that is.

Perry Holley:    Everybody’s busy, I’ve found, but the question I ask is, busy doing what?

Chris Goede:     Yeah.

Perry Holley:    And I don’t want to lose the fact that we’re talking about the five levels, levels of influence and that are you positively or negatively influenced by people who don’t know the priorities? They work on minor things and they’re not doing the most important. They’re not doing the 20%.

Chris Goede:     Yeah.

Perry Holley:    They’re not setting it up for the team. No, I’m not influenced by that. So to increase your influence, get really good on priorities and helping your team understand… Put boundaries in place to say, “This is what’s in play. This is what’s not in play.”

Chris Goede:     Yeah.

Perry Holley:    I want you to focus on these things and they will rise to the occasion, I believe.

Chris Goede:     Love it.

Perry Holley:    Why don’t you wrap it up for us?

Chris Goede:     Well, as we wrap up, I want to encourage you to get the Learner Guide and take the assessment on these four laws that Perry’s created for us. Remember, we’re talking about increasing your influence with those around you. And this is the level three, the production level, and these four laws speak right into that.

And you’re like, “Man, I don’t know how to become more productive. I naturally am a level two leader. I do the relational thing. I can’t figure out how to produce for our organization.” Well, these, if you dig into and do a self-assessment, and then begin to learn more about the law of respect, the law of picture, the law of Big Mo, or law of priorities, it will drastically help your leadership.

And as we’ve been talking about in this series, this is a kind of a mini leadership development plan for yourself.

Perry Holley:    Good. And it’s a good time to pick up a copy of the 21 laws.

Chris Goede:     Yeah.

Perry Holley:    I think all 21 would help you. You can get that Learner Guide and that assessment at You can also learn more about The Five Levels of Leadership, the 360 Leader, and you can also leave a question or a comment for us there. We love hearing from you, and we’re always grateful that you would spend this time with us each week. That’s all today from the John Maxwell Executive Leadership Podcast.

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