The Leader’s Greatest Return by John Maxwell [Book Summary – Review]


Which factors render a business successful? You can count lots of them, however, there is one thing that is vital, which is good leadership. One international research released in 2011 revealed that businesses that have excellent leaders had much more chance to outperform their rivals in such fields as profit, product quality, and client contentment. To give the exact number, they are thirteen times more likely to outperform them. 

Of course, this indicates that many businesses want to have great leaders. However, there are not many of them in the sector. Then, when you want great leadership for your business, what will you do? 

The answer is to create novel great leaders, and you’ll learn the way to achieve that in this summary. What is the most perfect is that after putting your money in leadership, your investment will affect every corner of your business, make your business stronger.


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Chapter 1 – What successful businesses have all in common is their joker card, great leaders.


 What an annoying thing were group projects back in our school years, weren’t they? Everyone in the group keeps putting forward ideas, always in a vicious cycle, never manages to agree on an idea. 

Futile discussions like this can continue infinitely if no one takes action and assumes responsibility. This individual introduces a structure to the conversation, assists to combine the points between ideas, and also distributes duties and responsibilities. Swiftly, completing the project doesn’t look like a dream anymore!

The more the number is, the more there is strength, which also holds true for great leadership. 

Certainly, a principal leader who will supervise everything is needed, however, the indication of this isn’t that other members in his group shouldn’t have leadership skills as well. According to management specialist Peter Drucker, There hasn’t been any manager whose position was weakened because his employees were powerful and efficient.

Creating leaders in your business bring in many advantages. For starters, if the number of leaders in your team is high, then it means there are more resources you can use. 



Is it possible for one individual to oversee everything? Rectify each issue, create new great ideas, and implement them? Obviously, the answer is no. Thus, a good leader has to entrust someone. If you want this to operate without any problem, you’ll have to establish an entire organizational network of leaders. Those leaders will guarantee the business is cared for with great attention, however, those leaders will present a novel array of viewpoints and insights. The advantage of this doesn’t end here. A crew of powerful leaders raises your business’s eminence, whose benefit manifests itself when you are more likely to hire other skillful people, who will be helpful in growth.

As for growth, a crew of leaders will be the engines that are necessary for you to get moving. Conceive it in this way; when one powerful individual attempts to propel a huge car up the hill, it will naturally be a very difficult task. Think now about a team of evenly powerful people giving a hand. The same car will start to go fast up the hill. And this is the sort of benefit that you get after making an investment in creating leaders.

Then, what is the way of creating the leaders who will make your business more advantageous compared to others? Initially, you have to discover people who’ll be able to assume those roles. Next, you have to develop them. The upcoming sections will be about it so go on reading. 


Chapter 2 – Find people who possess not only the abilities your organization is in need of but also the compositions of a leader.


Suppose you have to look for a recruit for a high-school basketball team. What strategy would you pursue to choose a player? 

It is possible to ask the first tall teen that you bump into. However, what would happen unless he is good at court? It’ll exacerbate your team’s performance, so no. Or perhaps people around you talk about a very excellent point guard. You recruit this player to your team but then see you’ve already got a point guard who fits greatly in this position.

Signing up a proper novel player in this way resembles an attempt to shoot a target you are unable to detect: almost improbable. You can do it in a more perfect way. First, you evaluate the forces and vulnerabilities of the present team, and later, you try to find a skillful player who will rectify the problematic areas in the team. This is the very method you should use while finding potential leaders.

You can find some questions to ask here. What do you want to achieve here? Have you got objectives for this vision? Which attributes will aid you in fulfilling those objectives? 

And are there people whom you know that’ll make a great fit in each of these fields? You should be the person to develop them. As told by the writer, when your organization aims to climb trees, you should recruit squirrels, not horses to achieve that aim.

You’ll understand that a person is a good fit for your business by looking at their past achievements. People will have a history of success in the right areas. Don’t forget that squirrels are not the same as horses. A track record is necessary since it demonstrates the potential to assist other employees to yield excellent results.

Once you’ve become cognizant of the sort of people who’ll be beneficial for your business, you can develop those with a potential for leadership. Then, what’s the way of detecting them?



So, people who’ve got a talent for leadership can successfully assume responsibility and they like doing so. They possess the talent to attract others to them and to have an effect on them, too. These abilities are crucial to have people work in order to fulfill a shared objective.

However, leadership skills won’t suffice on their own. Those you pick should likewise be desirous of leadership and should be ready to toil – to remain resilient even when the failure hits. They should possess the traits of passion and of being amicable enough to persuade other employees to come after them.


Chapter 3 – Motivation will help your future leaders set to work, and developing good habits will make them finish their tasks.


In the preceding section, you were taught that ability and a successful track record are several of the traits that are going to assist you to detect a person with potential for leadership. However, they aren’t sufficient on their own in order to make a great leader out of a potential one. Well, you can see a lot of skillful people the careers of whom tail off.

People who desire to be a leader are in need of something to propel them and maintain their progress. Habits and motivations are important at this point.

We’ll tackle motivation first. What gives people energy to carry on changes from one person to another. Thus, if you are onto creating a leader, you have to be aware of which motivation fits best for them. 

In his extensive leadership years, John Maxwell has distinguished seven general motivations. We’ll examine each of them here. 

These motivations are a sense of purpose, a need for autonomy, and the promise of forming relationships. There are people whose motivation is to achieve personal and professional growth. There are also people who are pushed by the passion to hone in on talent, the want to be known by people, and, lastly, by the guarantee of monetary gainings.



Once you understand what pushes your potential leaders to work more diligently, it’ll possible for you to provide them with precisely the thing they want most. For instance, when a person finds motivation in money, the one option in front of you can be to increase their salary should they achieve a good performance. If what they search is an opportunity to learn a skill, give them a shot to pick up a specific ability. Most people find motivation in more than one motivator; therefore, it might be necessary to be flexible.

Though motivation is helpful at the onset of a person’s leadership journey, it won’t probable to maintain it in the long term. A day will come when the people that you train to be leaders won’t be motivated by the idea of more financial gains or powerful connections. 

How to rectify this issue? At this point, you should assist them to take up habits that will make them go the full distance. Demonstrate you put faith in them, boost their morale during challenging times, teach them to do the correct thing, and be a good role model. As a result, your leaders-in-training will always continue to work at developing themselves. 

With time this continual practice will result in a habit, and when their habit is perpetual development, this will ultimately turn them into great leaders.


Chapter 4 – Promising leaders develop best if they get the chance to learn from long-time leaders and set up bonds with them. 


Do you know there is a writers’ group?

The people in the group convene on a routine basis to talk about their writing plans and provide one other with feedback. Importantly, they say the group members helped one other in practicing and improving their ability, and as a result, each member’s every work has enhanced.

If you work in the business of growing leaders, it is possible to learn much from the way groups like this work. Providing people who are desirous of becoming leaders with the chance to pick up from others is very much useful.

The writer John Maxwell calls this space a leadership table, a meeting where leaders find the chance to learn collectively, talk about their achievements and defeats to others, and enhance their leadership abilities. 

A leadership table should not be limited only to the most successful leaders of your business. It should include more people. Send invitations to people who’ve got potential for leadership to partake; present them the chance to learn. Motivate each of those aspiring leaders to participate. There is no other way to make them feel genuinely free to challenge one other’s thoughts. 



People who are part of your leadership table should implement the things they picked up in their real lives. Furthermore, it will better if they prepare a report on their improvement, impediments, and what they learned through the process.

However, a leadership table is not only used to form a space for growth, but it lets potential leaders make use of something known as the power of proximity. 

The more time promising leaders spend talking with established leaders, the more they pick up novel methods to think, tackle issues, and step into action. Convene the leaders you’re creating in a strategy meeting or a high-tier debate. This will present them a lot more than merely reading books about business tactics on its own.

Furthermore, you’ll develop yourself even more after being together with more established, more experienced leaders. They’ll make new contacts. If you’re a leader, establishing contacts with the right people can be highly important. They act as a fountain of information, can present you new opportunities, and provide you with resources. 

By getting promising leaders and the experienced leaders of your business to spend time in the same space, you’re both improving those promising leaders and providing them contacts with people who can give much assistance in their professional life.


Chapter 5 – In order to learn more efficiently, people who desire to become leaders are in need of practice, direction, and freedom. 


Think about a small kid learning to swim. Initially, the kid practices at the shallow side of a pool, in which an instructor equips him with some equipment, demonstrate some moves in swimming, and boost his motivation. The kid continues to learn and train until the time comes when she can go to less shallow sides of the pool. 

If you begin to develop leaders, remember how the swimming is taught. In the same fashion as the instructor in the swimming scenario, you have to provide aspiring leaders with correct equipment and atmosphere.

Consider how the things would turn out were the kid never to be given the opportunity to enter into the pool and rather to just see the instructor swim? The learning would be impossible! This follows from the fact that when we do something ourselves, we are a lot more likely to learn compared to just lessons or instructions. 

A team of researchers found out this in the 90s after they experimented with 200 learners. The outcome was the 70/20/10 learning model. Scientists discovered that seven-tenth of learning occurs through practice when we ourselves actively do it. two-tenth of it is a product of feedback and instructing them, and the last one-tenth of it comes from training. 



Thus, if you want to assist your promising leaders to learn, present them the opportunity to practice, and work on genuine issues.

Though people may pick up from working on a project or something, jumping from one duty to another won’t help them develop. You have to present them with a roadmap where you’ll set objectives for them to reach.

Every objective should be tough and make them use their all efforts, however, it shouldn’t be something unattainable. An objective that’s extremely arduous can simply be deterring. You should be able to measure the objectives, too. In simpler words, it should be simply understood if an objective has been fulfilled. Finally, objectives have to be explicitly declared and to be written on paper, which will allow you to hold your prospective leaders accountable.

Let’s say you’ve taken all the necessary steps in forming tough, achievable, measurable objectives easy to understand. What do we do after this point? 

You have to do one final thing in order to assist prospective leaders to attain their potential. You have to clear off any obstacle that they may confront. 

Your aspiring leaders are in need of the right resources and sufficient autonomy. Those leaders won’t improve should you monitor them like an eagle and continually say to them the thing they should do. By equipping them with the proper equipment and giving them the needed freedom, you render it probable for them to reach their full potential.


Chapter 6 – Authorization and the proper atmosphere will assist leaders to maximize their potential.


Great leaders do not come into existence in one day. Much time and effort are needed while a leader comes into being. 

When an aspiring leader takes all the lessons and practices regularly, experiences defeats and victories, wouldn’t all this effort end up in garbage unless you let your recently-developed leader implement the things they picked up from you? To make an analogy, it would be the same as making an investment in a purebred racehorse, training him; yet, not putting it on races! 

You need to let your new leaders, in the same fashion as the purebred racehorses, to run the race. That means they need to have some authority and there has to be a supportive atmosphere. 

For starters, it’s essential for people to trust you and for you to have a status since you’re also a leader. Well, you have to possess something in advance so that it’ll be possible to help others. As you strive to attain success and power, not just in your professional life but also in your business, you’ll find yourself in a position that’ll enable you to give authority to leaders whom you created.

Once you’ve attained the proper status in your business, you most likely feel you have the full authority. You have responsibility for many things that happen, as well. However, once you’ve created those leaders, you need to ease your responsibility a little. You have to distribute some portion of that authority and responsibility among those leaders. 



It is likely that insecure patrons don’t do that: they like the sensation of being vital. However, novel leaders won’t have the opportunity to come forward unless those experienced leaders present them some space. Stop being under the spotlight should you want to take advantage of upcoming novel leaders.

When you gladly distribute authority and responsibility, you have to generate an atmosphere in which leaders can make an impression, too.

Have you done away with the rules that deter people from ideas and initiative? Do you promote cooperation among people and departments? Do you present people with control of their works, make them accountable, and remunerate them for their good performance? 

Once the response to all these questions is yes, it means you’ve created an atmosphere where novel leaders can make their best efforts. However, unless your responses are yes, don’t feel bad and give up. You are cognizant of what an authorizing environment resembles. It is possible to make things far better. Your leaders, and others, will be grateful to you for what you’ve done.


Chapter 7 – Strong leadership groups consist of people with diverse talents all aiming to collectively fulfill the same objective.


Can you name something better than one great leader? Well, there is something actually: two, three, or perhaps four great leaders.

As the number of leaders in your organization increases, the outcome increases in quality as well. This explains the reason why you should motivate your novel leaders to create a leadership group.

Do you recall high-school basketball team example from a chapter we’ve tackled earlier? The team will keep getting defeated as long as you make a roster at random. Great leadership resembles a little the basketball team in that regard. You have to think strategically when it comes to choosing members and find where their efforts are needed.

Initially, if you’re trying to build your leadership group, you have to keep in mind that you should not search for anyone who’s a potential leader to assign a top position of a group. You should look for people who’ll occupy these positions among experienced, developed leaders who have proved their talents. Not only does this let them get down to the job as soon as possible, but this will get them to earn the respect of their peers as well.



After this is done, the leaders you’ve picked should possess have explicit powerful sides. All leaders must know where they are powerful – This task of making them the team understand this belongs to you. Once all leaders are aware of what their peers in the group can do, your success will reach an unprecedented level. 

Another duty of yours is to assign positions to people that’ll be the most appropriate role representing their powerful sides. Thus, you might have to rearrange things a little. It’s essential that group members have sufficient time to adapt to their novel roles but guarantee that no member kills their time because they are dealing with the wrong job.

The final element that produces a strong leadership group is alignment. What is desirable is to see there is harmony between the values and visions of the group members, and you want those individual values to align with what the whole business represents. To illustrate, when your business is environmental-friendly, having a leader who doesn’t care about the environment wouldn’t make it simpler for the group to cooperate.

Try as hard as you can to make others be aware of the organization’s values on a regular basis and link this to all of the leader’s individual values and vision. Once each person has understood that everyone is in agreement and works to fulfill the same objective, they get more eager and underpin one other. This renders leadership grouğs a lot more efficient.


Chapter 8 – Once the leaders you’ve fostered begin making a leader out of others, your business gets more powerful.


We’ve seen so far that as the number of people who possess leadership abilities increases, so does the benefits of having these kinds of people. We’ve explained what you have to do if you are determined to create leaders in business. But, since you’re also a leader, you always face pressure. It is impossible to have sufficient time and resources always. As an individual, you cannot train everyone as leaders, there is a limit to that. 

Can you relate this to anything? And does it imply that it’s impossible to keep more than several leaders in your business? No, actually. You can overcome those obstructions. 

Your newly-developed leaders can, and should, teach their abilities to other people in the business. After this, you’ll get many powerful leaders working side by side. This implies that it’ll be possible for your business to have more things undertaken more swiftly. Furthermore, it becomes more sustainable in the long term. Imagine it as owning a sports team that has a perfect starting roster and reserves that have as much talent as the starting roster. This team guarantees that anyone who appears on the field will present a great performance.

In order to assist each member of the organization to develop those leadership abilities, ensure the mentorship is a component of the culture. Motivate every one of your leaders to find someone to mentor. Over time, those people who have been mentored should begin to do mentoring others as well. By doing this, people will always pick up something from a person and then share with what they learned with others. Growth and development will turn into a habit.



What’s the way of understanding that your leaders are performing excellent work in being a mentor for others? 

Well, you’ll surely recognize enhanced performance. However, you’ll notice those leaders won’t be able to maintain their roles. Should those leaders provide others with the required abilities, mentees will finally be permitted to take over their position. So, mentors will have more free time to probe into other fields of growth and to progress in the business. 

If you notice people are withdrawing from their position, giving their responsibility to their mentees, you will understand that you have created good leaders. They’ll both be great at their work and want always to see growth in themselves, in others, and in the whole business.


The Leader’s Greatest Return: Attracting, Developing, and Multiplying Leaders by John C. Maxwell Book Review


Though there is a huge demand for good leaders, there are not many of them around. However, it is possible to create such people. Detect people who possess an excellent potential and convert them into leaders. It is possible to do when you are mindful of what the motivation of people is, when they learn the habit of growth via you, and when you present them an opportunity to practice. The leaders you’ll develop will drive your business toward success. 

Try to recognize the people that you’re mentoring.

For many, it’s usually simpler to trust and follow people with whom they feel a bond developed. This is the reason politicians usually seeking to relate to people who are likely to cast a ballot for them in the elections. This is the reason behind a friend’s recommendation being more important than that of someone who you just know. Creating leaders works in the same way. Once there is a bond between you and the people you want to convert into leaders, spare some time to understand them. Be interested in them, pose questions, and make efforts to see things from their perspective. 



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