Book Review – John C. Maxwell’s “Developing the Leader Within You”

This is a book which contains many leadership principles which are condensed into ten topical chapters.  Maxwell defines leadership as one who has influence.  Anyone who has influence on others is a leader.  Furthermore, in order to be a leader one must first lead him or herself before he or she can lead others.  It is impossible to lead someone where the leader has not been.  That would not be leading but rather pushing or encouraging.  The principles are very practicable and well explained.  What I have gained from this reading is some leadership points which after putting them into practice will help one grow as a person.  According to Maxwell people follow people and not positions or titles.  This means integrity is essential for successful leadership.  I had often heard of the 80/20 rule but Maxwell seemed to shed light on the necessity of setting priorities in order to be productive.  About 80 percent of the work in ministry is done by about 20 percent of the people.  I would even go as far to say this is applicable to tithing in many churches as well.  In order for an organization to grow it must change.  In essence, growth is change.  Many in the church today do not embrace change and Maxwell acknowledges this struggle.  In order for people to accept change they must first see the change in the leader.  Otherwise it would be “do as I say” and “not do as I do.”  We all want to rise to the next level whether in an organization, maturity, or spiritually.  Maxwell shares that our attitude determines our altitude.  As a pastor, I am concerned with church growth.  I want to see the numbers increase as numbers represent souls for the kingdom of God.  According to Maxwell, the numbers are not the big concern but raising-up other leaders.  This nugget I have heard before but this time it hit home and I am glad I read this book at this particular time.  It will definitely help me in my refocusing my values as a minister.  I want to see the church I serve and focusing on the leaders is a good starting point in my ministry.  I concur with Maxwell revitalized on many of his points.  I re-read this book after I read “Failing Forward.”  I was much more impressed with this book.  In my opinion this is a great book.


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