Maxwell explains that leadership is the lid that determines a person’s level of effectiveness. The higher one’s ability to lead, the higher the lid on their potential. An example he gave was that if a person’s leadership rate was an eight, then they would never be more effective than a leader whose effectiveness is a seven. He also says that if one’s leadership rate is a four, then their effectiveness would never be higher than a three. He claims that one’s leadership ability, for better or for worse, always determines their effectiveness and the potential impact of their organization. The lid is either preventing the best people in the organization from reaching their potential, or pushing them away.
In my view, this is a powerful way to think about the process of leadership and success, and the relationship between the two. I believe that too often we focus on success when we should be focused on developing stronger leadership skills. Success is the byproduct of leadership and that leadership is the process to produce success. Can we be successful without good leadership? Yes, but without the ability to lead, a person’s impact is only a fraction of what it could be with good leadership. Whatever could be accomplished will be limited by their ability to lead others.
But there is good news. A person can become a better leader through education and hard work. If someone increases their leadership skills, they can also increase their effectiveness. When they do this, the chance of success and the ability to fulfill their potential will follow.