CNLP 407: John Maxwell on How to Develop Next Generation Leaders, When to Step Back, and What You Can Learn About People from Playing Golf and Eating at Buffets

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Leadership expert, John Maxwell, talks about how to develop next generation leaders before they’re ready, how and when to hand things off, and what playing golf and eating at buffets can teach you about who people really are.

Welcome to Episode 407 of the podcastListen and access the show notes below or search for the Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts and listen for free.

Plus, in this episode’s What I’m Thinking About segment, Carey talks about his favorite John Maxwell teaching: 5 Levels of Leadership.

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5 Levels of Leadership by John C. Maxwell

The Leader’s Greatest Return by John C. Maxwell


The Global Leadership Summit

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Insights From John

1. Before you hire someone, take them golfing, and take them to a buffet

A golf course and a buffet can teach you a lot about a person. On a golf course, John looks to see if someone is honest (by keeping an honest score), if they’re efficient (by re-hitting when a shot gets lost, rather than searching for it) and their temperament and comfort with themselves (by watching how emotional they get).

In a buffet line, John is looking for someone who will work around lines and pick and choose where and when to get their food. This marks a leader rather than a follower.

2. Most leaders try to hold onto what they have for too long

Most leaders wait until they get tired to pass on leadership to the next generation. John thinks this is a tragic mistake. Like in a relay race, he recommends that leaders get themselves and their organization to the top of their game, and then hand it off to the next generation.

3. A leader is in trouble when they need to be needed

During a succession, John takes an intentional step to say, “If you ever feel like not bringing me back to speak into this organization, that’s totally fine.” He does this because he wants what’s best for the organization, whether it involves him or not. He doesn’t need to be needed by them.

If someone transitions out of an organization and still has an emotional need to be loved by that organization, it’s not a great sign, and that leader is at risk of hurting the organization by hanging around for too long.

Quotes from Episode 407

The value of a failure is learning, and the value of learning is improvement. @JohnCMaxwell Click To Tweet A leader is in trouble when they need to be needed. @JohnCMaxwell Click To Tweet Honor is for what I did yesterday, but respect is for what I can do today. @JohnCMaxwell Click To Tweet You cannot pour into, equip and add value to leaders without it coming back to you in a greater return than what you gave. @JohnCMaxwell Click To Tweet Invest in yourself in personal growth, and invest in others in leadership, and you'll have an inevitable return. @JohnCMaxwell Click To Tweet A great way to build leaders is by letting them practice leadership. And the way to build confidence is to celebrate wins. @JohnCMaxwell Click To Tweet What you focus on expands. @JohnCMaxwell Click To Tweet The question isn't, 'How do I get rid of my fear?' The question is, 'How do I make my faith stronger?' @JohnCMaxwell Click To Tweet When you start growing intentionally, you increase growth capacity. @JohnCMaxwell Click To Tweet Teamwork makes the dream work, but a vision becomes a nightmare when the leader has a big dream and a bad team. @JohnCMaxwell Click To Tweet I quit asking the question, 'How long will it take,' and I started asking the question, 'How far can I go?' @JohnCMaxwell Click To Tweet Criticism isn't what kicks me out of the game. Not having a mission and a vision that is greater than that criticism is what kicks me out of the game. @JohnCMaxwell Click To Tweet If my faith is stronger than my fear, then my faith will win. @JohnCMaxwell Click To Tweet During difficult times you've got to ask yourself, 'Am I going to curse the darkness or I'm going to turn on the light?' @JohnCMaxwell Click To Tweet The value of celebration is you do it with others. @JohnCMaxwell Click To Tweet Success is having people who know me the best love and respect me the most. @JohnCMaxwell Click To Tweet I don't hand the ball off to somebody who already knows something. I hand a ball off to somebody who has a potential to do something. @JohnCMaxwell Click To Tweet I have no desire in having workers, I have desire of having leaders, and leaders reproduce other people. @JohnCMaxwell Click To Tweet People development is when people are better because they worked with you. Click To Tweet

Read or Download the Transcript for Episode 407

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Read or download a free PDF transcript of this episode here.

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Next Episode: Jon Acuff

New York Times bestselling author, Jon Acuff, returns to the podcast to talk about how he reinvented himself in 2020 when his speaking career came to an abrupt halt thanks to the pandemic. Jon also shares insights on how to reinvent yourself online, pro tips on creating content for YouTube, podcasting and social media, and discusses his new book on how to stop overthinking issues.

Subscribe for free now so you won’t miss Episode 408.

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Carey Nieuwhof
Carey Nieuwhof

Carey Nieuwhof is a best-selling leadership author, speaker, podcaster, former attorney, and church planter. He hosts one of today’s most influential leadership podcasts, and his online content is accessed by leaders over 1.5 million times a month. He speaks to leaders around the world about leadership, change, and personal growth.