How to Develop Leaders: 60 Quotes and Ideas from John Maxwell

I’m a big fan of John Maxwell.  I’ve learned TONS of great leadership tips from his books during the past ten years.

One of my favorite John Maxwell books is “Developing the Leaders Around You.”

While this book wasn’t written for network marketers per se, the information is extremely valuable.

Network marketing is a leadership business, and it’s our job to be a leader, find leaders, and develop leaders if we want to succeed.

What I’d like to do in this short post is share some of my favorite John Maxwell quotes from the book “Developing the Leaders Around You.”

These are some of the best lessons in the book.

Each quote is in bold and italics.  After each quote I will provide my own thoughts on the subject.

I hope you will study each quote and evaluate yourself on ways you can improve and be a better leader.


# 1 If you oversee people and you wish to develop leaders, you are responsible to: (1) appreciate them for who they are; (2) believe that they will do their very best; (3) praise their accomplishments; and (4) accept your personal responsibility to them as their leader.

This is your job, plain and simple. Look for the best in people.  Help them develop their potential.  Speak your belief into them.  And most importantly, set a good example for them to follow.

# 2 Acquiring and keeping good people is a leader’s most important task.

It is a numbers game, so we must approach people that we believe have the ability to grow and build. We then must nurture them so that they have the proper training to grow and build a strong leadership foundation.

# 3 If you really want to be a successful leader, you must develop other leaders around you.

We must teach our people everything we know. By doing so, we will develop new leaders that will follow suit.

# 4 Those closest to the leader will determine the success level of that leader.

The people we spend the most time with in our business are the ones who can make or break us. We must choose wisely who we are closest to.

# 5 My goal is not to draw a following that results in a crowd. My goal is to develop leaders who become a movement.

Crowds are a chaotic mess. Instead of a crowd of followers, the idea is to create a movement of leaders developing new leaders.

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

It has been proven time and time again that subordinates will “do” as the leaders “does.” If leaders are weak and unreliable, the team will also be weak and unreliable. If the leader is strong and following the prescribed course, the team will do the same.

# 7 It takes a leader to know a leader, grow a leader, and show a leader.

Leaders build and mold other leaders. It is a domino effect.

# 8 It takes a leader to attract a leader.

This is a law of nature; leaders draw leaders and followers draw followers.

# 9 Unless you want to carry the whole load yourself, you need to be developing leaders.

I suggest you dwell for a bit on this quote; do you feel like you are holding a burden in your business? Do you feel like you are doing all the work while others are reaping the benefits?

If you answered yes to either one of those questions, you need to develop leaders and task them with some of the responsibilities…with rewards.

# 10 Leaders who mentor potential leaders multiply their effectiveness.

When we mentor new leaders, they will in turn, mentor new leaders.

# 11 The difference between a good organization and a great one is leadership.

You can immediately tell just how strong and powerful any organization is by taking a close look at their leadership.

# 12 Momentum is the greatest of all change agents.

When I read this quote, I immediately picture a freight-train just starting. It moves slowly and begins to build momentum. Several miles down the track, the train has gained speed and momentum and nothing but the engineer can bring it to a halt. Momentum is the key to fast and sure success in network marketing.

# 13 Leaders must model the leadership they desire.

Simply put: we must practice what we preach. Out teams are watching.

# 14 A leader cannot demand of others what he does not demand of himself.

If we as leaders ask someone to do something we would not do ourselves, how can we really expect them to do it? People will do the hardest tasks if they know the leader is willing to do it too.

# 15 Find the one thing you believe is the potential leader’s greatest asset, and then give 100 percent encouragement in that area.

Every single person has at least one strong talent. It just makes good sense to utilize that talent to  the maximum. By encouraging that talent, you will grow average leaders into superstar leaders.

# 16 Great leaders know the desires of the people they lead.

It is our responsibility as a leader to understand what our team members desire the most from their business. By doing so, we can help show them how to attain those desires.

# 17 The starting point of all achievements is drive, determination, and desire.

With the 3 D’s, we can accomplish anything we set our minds and hearts to.

# 18 An effective vision attracts winners.

One of the first things people will look at when telling them about the opportunity is your vision statement. If your vision matches their desires, you will probably sign them in.

# 19 Leaders are perpetual learners.

We will never know it all. Learning something new every day is the sign of a true leader.

# 20 One of the primary responsibilities of a successful leader is to identify potential leaders.

Instead of looking at what we can see, we should instead look at the potential of each person. Leaders can come from all walks of life.

# 21 Leaders tend to hire people whose ability and expertise are beneath their own.

Why not hire people who have abilities and talents above our own? Do we fear that they could out-shine us? Something to consider…

# 22 One great person will always out-produce and out-perform two mediocre people.

We all love those 2 for 1 deals. That is what you get when you attract a great person…You get 2 for the price of 1.

# 23 You can tell much about a person’s ability to lead others from how well he manages his own life. 

If a person’s home life is chaotic, do we really think they can keep a business and lead others in a non-chaotic way? Those who can lead at home can also lead a business.

# 24 Leadership is influence.

They really are synonyms. The process of leadership is influencing others into doing great things.

# 25 Every leader must know where he is going.

Leadership means having both a short-term and a long-term plan. Leaders have this with objectives on how to reach those plans.

# 26 A leader without people skills soon has no followers.

You can be a leader, but if you do not understand how to talk with and treat people, you will just be leading yourself, because your followers will leave.

# 27 A proven leader always has a proven track record.

As they say: the proof is in the pudding. Great leaders have shown in their past that they have leadership greatness.

# 28 The greatest achievers and leaders remain confident regardless of circumstances.

No matter what is happening around them, great leaders are confident they can attain the prize.

# 29 When it comes to self-discipline, people choose one of two things: the pain of discipline which comes from sacrifice and growth or the pain of regret which comes from the easy road and missed opportunities.

No matter what, there will be pain. The pain of discipline comes with rewards while the pain of regret has none.

# 30 Effective leaders recognize that their emotional reactions are their own responsibility. A leader who decides not to allow other people’s actions to dictate his reactions experiences an empowering freedom.

If we allow emotions to control us, we will lose. We should face our emotions, but not allow them to have power over our reactions.

# 31 When people sense that you have a concern for them, they are willing to listen to what you have to say. 

When a person truly knows you care, they will hear you out. They may not follow what you say, but they will listen.

# 32 People are more productive when nurtured.

Everyone needs a “pat on the back” from time to time. Watch them produce in mighty ways with simple nurturing.

# 33 People first must believe in you before they will follow your leadership.

People will normally not follow a leader who has not proven his/herself.

# 34 Time is valuable, but time spent with a potential leader is an investment.

Time management is a key to success. Part of that time needs to be scheduled to nurture potential leaders.

# 35 Hope is one of the greatest gifts leaders can give to those around them.

If we can give people hope, they will bend backwards and sideways to attain the goal.

# 36 People rise to our level of expectations.

People have a natural need to please leaders. They will attempt to meet our expectations if we are clear with them.

# 37 If you want people to produce, then you must reward production.

Whether it is money or an acknowledgment, people need to be rewarded for their strong efforts and production.

# 38 The top twenty percent of the people in the organization will perform 80 percent of the organization’s production.

This is just how it works, so make sure you have strong and talented people in the top 20% and you can build a dynasty.

# 39 Everyone you recruit for your organization should be a potential leader, but you should not try to personally mentor everyone in your organization. Lead and nurture everyone within your influence, but spend 80 percent of your time on the most promising 20 percent of the potential leaders around you.

If you tried to mentor every single person, you would burn out. Teach your leaders to mentor also.

# 40 Commitment is the one quality above all others that enables a potential leader to become a successful leader.

Without a commitment, leaders cannot become successful.

# 41 The best way to learn something is to teach it.

When we teach, we must research. By teaching, we learn many things we would have missed if we were the student.

# 42 If you want to become an expert in a subject, according to Earl Nightingale, spend an hour a day for five years focusing on that subject.

This makes so much sense. If you want to become an expert speaker, practice and focus on speaking for 1 hour every day for 5 years.

# 43 Being a part of a successful team can be one of the most rewarding experiences in life.

Just knowing you are part of, and a key figure on a successful team will exceed nearly every other life experience.

# 44 A good team fit requires an attitude of partnership.

While there are leaders, leaders give the power of partnership to team members.

# 45 Individualism wins trophies, but teamwork wins pennants.

Major sport’s teams do not win championships because of 1 player; they win because they use teamwork.

# 46 Success comes down to sacrifice – willingness to pay the price.

The fact is, we have to give to receive.

# 47 If you start with the right people, you won’t have problems later on.

We should be choosy with who we put in leadership positions on our team. They can either make problems or solve problems.

# 48 Successful coaches never have “perfection” as their goal.

If we always sought perfection, we would never get anywhere. Because humans are not perfect.

# 49 People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. 

Caring “trumps” knowledge. You could be the smartest human in the world, but if you do not care, you have nothing.

# 50 One of the biggest mistakes a coach can make is to believe he must treat all of his players the same.

People are all made up differently. We must know our team members and treat them accordingly.

# 51 Not having enough time to teach another person to do a job is probably the most common reason people give for not delegating.

One of the best ways to actually teach someone is to delegate and then correct the mistakes they made.

# 52 The greatest problem new leaders have is their reluctance to move from doing the job to managing the job.

To truly succeed, we need to begin to delegate many of the tasks and review those tasks when they are completed.

# 53 It is impossible for people to perform consistently in a manner inconsistent with the way they see themselves.

To paint a picture: you cannot ask a person to cook a chicken when they do not like to eat chicken. They may do it, but they will not like it and they won’t want to always do it.

# 54 To live a worthwhile, meaningful life, a person must be a part of something greater than himself.

We all need to know that we did something to help change the world, be it little or big.

# 55 The opinion of a person who doesn’t agree with me often teaches me more than the perspective of someone who agrees.

Those who debate us give us the material we need to be able to defend our position. We learn from them.

# 56 For an organization to continue building and growing, it must continually attract new people of high quality.

Every organization must have new people, otherwise it will become stagnant and soon die.

# 57 The development of leaders adds more value than anything else they do.

When we teach and develop leaders we add assets to our organization. Their growth will bring many profits.

# 58 People who do not already possess leadership skills must have an environment that is positive and conducive to their growth.

No one can learn to be a leader in a negative environment. Leaders must be positive, so they must learn leadership from a positive perspective.

# 59 While others get bogged down in the details, leaders look for the bottom line.

Instead of looking at each problem, leaders will search for the underlying root that is causing the problems.

# 60 One of the beauties of developing a person who is already a strong leader is that it gives you momentum.

It is much easier to take an experienced and strong leader and teaching them the new system than it is to make a follower a leader.

My Thoughts

Aren’t these some awesome lessons?  Which one is your favorite?

About the Book

Originally published in 1995, “Developing the Leaders Around You.” by John Maxwell is a timeless book that will be advising about training leaders for many years. The testimonial response this book has received is phenomenal.

The key to any great business is the leadership, so I highly recommend this book.

The publisher is Thomas Nelson and the ISBN is 0785281118.

About John Maxwell

John Maxwell is a world-renowned author, speaker and Pastor. His primary topic is leadership, so he is an expert on the subject. If you have any opportunity to attend one of John’s speaking engagements, I highly recommend that you do.

You can visit John’s website here.

Final Thoughts 

I truly hope you learned as much as I did in writing this post. John Maxwell has so many wise leadership tips. I know that I have grown in my leadership abilities in reading this book.

So what do you think? Please leave your comments and questions below.

Thank you.

chuck holmes


Chuck Holmes
Network Marketing Professional (since 2002)
Author, Blogger, & Entrepreneur

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2 thoughts on “How to Develop Leaders: 60 Quotes and Ideas from John Maxwell”

  1. You know Chuck, John Maxwell is one of my favorites. His lessons about leadership are hands down, some of the best.

    I learned a long time ago that the majority of people are not naturally born leaders. As a matter of fact, we are trained early to follow…not lead. This is why it can be difficult to break out of the “following mode,” and slip into the leading mode. And many that do, turn into arrogant jerks when they do, because they think they are all powerful.

    I believe if all people who were being trained to lead would read John Maxwell’s works, they would understand leadership properly.

    Thanks for the post.

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