The Value of Teamwork

A Chinese proverb states, “Behind an able man there are always other able men.” The truth is that teamwork is at the heart of great achievement. The question isn’t whether teams have value. The question is whether we acknowledge that fact and become better team players. That’s why I assert that one is too small a number to achieve greatness. You cannot do anything of real value alone. That is the Law of Significance.

I challenge you to think of one act of genuine significance in the history of humankind that was performed by a lone human being. No matter what you name, you will find that a team of people was involved. That is why President Lyndon Johnson said, “There are no problems we cannot solve together, and very few that we can solve by ourselves.”

If you want to reach your potential or strive for the seemingly impossible, you need to become a team player. It may be a cliché, but it is nonetheless true: Individuals play the game, but teams win championships.

—The 17 Indisputable Laws of Teamwork – John Maxwell




This may sound too simple, but it really all starts here. You have to show people that you care about them by taking an interest in them. Many leaders are so action oriented and agenda driven that they don’t make people a high enough priority. If that describes you, then you need to turn that around.

I don’t mean to sound crass, but it helps if you like people. If you’re not a people person, that may be the first step you need to take. Look for value in every person. Put yourself in others’ shoes. Find reasons to like them. You won’t take an interest in people if deep down you care nothing about them. And if you care nothing about them, that flaw will always be a hindrance to your ability to lead people.

If this is an area of challenge for you, then you may want to take a look at 25 Ways to Win with People: How to Make Others Feel Like a Million Bucks, which I coauthored with Les Parrott; or read the classic How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. However you go about developing people skills, just remember that people always move toward someone who increases them and away from anyone who decreases them.

—The 360° Leader – John Maxwell


The Law of Sacrifice

If you desire to become the best leader you can be, then you need to be willing to make sacrifices in order to lead well. If that is your desire, then here are some things you need to know:

1. There Is No Success Without Sacrifice: Leaders must give up to go up. Talk to leaders, and you will find that they have made repeated sacrifices. Effective leaders sacrifice much that is good in order to dedicate themselves to what is best.

2. Leaders Are Often Asked to Give Up More Than Others: The heart of leadership is putting others ahead of yourself. It’s doing what is best for the team. For that reason, I believe that leaders have to give up their rights.

3. You Must Keep Giving Up to Stay Up: If leaders have to give up to go up, then they have to give up even more to stay up. What gets a team to the top isn’t what keeps it there. The only way to stay up is to give up even more.

4. The Higher the Level of Leadership, the Greater the Sacrifice: The higher you go, the more it’s going to cost you. And it doesn’t matter what kind of leadership career you pick. You will have to make sacrifices. You will have to give up to go up.

—The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership – John Maxwell


Link Up With Others

Some people aren’t very outgoing and simply don’t think in terms of team building and team participation. As they face challenges, it never occurs to them to enlist others to achieve something.

As a people person, I find that hard to relate to. Whenever I face any kind of challenge, the very first thing I do is to think about the people I want on the team to help with it. I’ve been that way since I was a kid. I’ve always thought, Why take the journey alone when you can invite others along with you?

I understand that not everyone operates that way. But whether or not you are naturally inclined to be part of a team is really irrelevant. If you do everything alone and never partner with other people, you create huge barriers to your own potential. Dr. Allan Fromme quipped, “People have been known to achieve more as a result of working with others than against them.” What an understatement! It takes a team to do anything of lasting value.

Besides, even the most introverted person in the world can learn to enjoy the benefits of being on a team. (That’s true even if someone isn’t trying to accomplish something great.) For the person trying to do everything alone, the game really is over. If you want to do something big, you must link up with others. One is too small a number to achieve greatness.

—The 17 Indisputable Laws of Teamwork – John Maxwell


Truths About Passion

What makes it possible for people who might seem ordinary to achieve great things?
The answer is passion. Nothing can take the place of passion in a leader’s life.

Take a look at four truths about passion and what it can do for you as a leader:

1. Passion Is the First Step to Achievement: Your desire determines your destiny. Anyone who lives beyond an ordinary life has great desire. It’s true in any field: weak desire brings weak results, just as a small fire creates little heat. The stronger your fire, the greater the desire—and the greater the potential.

2. Passion Increases Your Willpower: There is no substitute for passion. It is fuel for the will. If you want anything badly enough, you can find the willpower to achieve it. The only way to have that kind of desire is to develop passion.

3. Passion Changes You: If you follow your passion—instead of others’ perceptions—you can’t help becoming a more dedicated, productive person. And that increases your ability to impact others. In the end, your passion will have more influence than your personality.

4. Passion Makes the Impossible Possible: Human beings are so made that whenever
anything fires the soul, impossibilities vanish. A fire in the heart lifts everything in your life.

That’s why passionate leaders are so effective. A leader with great passion and few skills always outperforms a leader with great skills and no passion.

—The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader – John Maxwell


Give People: Attention, Affirmation and Appreciation

All people feel better and do better when you give them attention, affirmation, and appreciation. The next time you make contact with people, begin by giving them your undivided attention during the first thirty seconds. Affirm them and show your appreciation for them in some way. Then watch what happens.

You will be surprised by how positively they respond. And if you have trouble remembering to keep your focus on them instead of on yourself, then perhaps the words of William King will help you. He said, “A gossip is one who talks to you about other people. A bore is one who talks to you about himself. And a brilliant conversationalist is one who talks to you about yourself.”

—25 Ways to Win with People – John Maxwell


Growing Leader, Growing Organization

So when Peter saw it, he responded to the people: . . . many of those who heard the word believed; and the number of the men came to be about five thousand. ACTS 3:12, 4:4

A company cannot grow without, until its leaders grow within. I often am amazed at the money,energy, and marketing that organizations focus on areas that will not produce growth. Slick brochures and catchy slogans will never overcome incompetent leadership.

In 1981, I became senior pastor of Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego, California, which had averaged 1,000 in attendance from 1969–1981. It was obviously on a plateau. When I called my first staff meeting, I gave a lecture with the thesis, “Leaders determine the level of an organization.” I drew a line across a marker board and wrote the number “1,000.” I shared that although I knew the staff could lead 1,000 people effectively, I did not know whether they could lead 2,000 people. When the leaders changed positively, I knew the growth would become automatic. Now, I had to help them change themselves.

The strength of any organization is a direct result of the strength of its leaders.

Weak leaders = weak organizations.
Strong leaders = strong organizations.

Everything rises and falls on leadership.

-Developing the Leaders Around You – John Maxwell