How to Leverage the Law of the Lid to Improve Team Members’ Leadership Ability 

 October 31, 2022

Written by Yemisi Iyilade, Project Management Consultant, Leadership Coach, Scientist & Innovation Expert.

The Law of the Lid is one of the principles by John C Maxwell that states that a person’s leadership ability always determines their effectiveness and potential impact. As a project leader, it is important to be aware of this law and leverage it to assess your team member’s strengths and weaknesses.

Your success on projects depends largely on the leadership ability of your team members, and the ability to prioritize and take ownership, hence it is important to surround yourself with the right people or at least work to build their potential.

Principles of leadership work when applied, hence a person’s level of effectiveness is determined by their leadership ability. In order for a team to be effective, it is important that the members are able to work together harmoniously, but most importantly every team member should work on improving their leading ability.

I find this to be the case most especially when working with Nonprofit project teams as they are often very passionate people but need more growth in strategizing and getting stuff done. In this blog post, we will discuss the five reasons why you should apply the law of the lid to increase team members’ effectiveness.

5 ways you can apply the Law of the Lid to Increase team Members’ effectiveness

In order for any organization to be successful, it requires excellent leadership. The principles of leadership are only as effective as their application, which means a person’s success is largely dependent on how good they are at leading themselves. It’s crucial that team members get along well together, but even more importantly, every team member should focus on improving their own ability to lead.

1. Define what excellence looks like for your team.

The first step is to define what excellence looks like for your team. This will help you and your team know what level of performance is expected and help you hold each other accountable. Without defining excellence, it’s difficult to improve because there’s no standard to strive for.

2. Assess where each team member currently is.

The next step is to assess where each team member currently is in terms of their leadership ability. This will help you identify areas of opportunity for each individual and tailor your development plan accordingly. One way to do this assessment is through a formal 360-degree feedback process.

3. Set specific and measurable goals for each team member.

Once you know where each team member stands, it’s time to set specific and measurable goals for them to aim for. These goals should be challenging yet achievable so that team members are constantly pushing themselves to grow and improve. Make sure to check in regularly to ensure that progress is being made toward these goals.

4. Provide resources and support as needed.

In order for team members to reach their goals, they’ll need access to resources and support as needed. This could include things like training courses, books, articles, mentorship, etc. It’s important that you provide these resources upfront so that there are no barriers to success.

5. Celebrate progress along the way.

Finally, don’t forget to celebrate progress along the way! As team members reach milestones or achieve their goals, take some time to recognize their hard work and dedication. This will help keep everyone motivated and focused on continuous improvement.

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Final Thoughts

John Maxwell’s law of the lid states that “the level of our success will never rise above our level of personal development.” In other words, our potential is limited by our own abilities.

This means that the amount of success a person or organization can achieve is directly proportional to their leadership ability (or lack thereof). In other words, if you want your team or business to be successful, you need to make sure that everyone on board has strong leadership skills.

As a project leader, it’s important to continuously work on your team’s leadership development in order to see real results from them. You do this to promote growth, ensure team harmony, improve project delivery, and enhance your project management outputs.

When each team member is focused on their own development, it creates an environment of harmony and respect. Furthermore, as team members grow in their abilities, the team as a whole becomes more effective and works efficiently, leading to a significant rise in project success.

By applying the steps outlined above, you can begin developing your team members’ leadership ability so that they can take your projects to new heights. This is a powerful tool that every project leader should utilize in order to create a more effective team.

If you are not only looking for ways to improve your leadership skills but to also develop your project management abilities, then remember to always keep the law of the lid in mind. When you focus on individual growth and development, you can help your team members reach their full potential – which will in turn lead to greater success for your projects as a whole.

Well-managed projects provide more opportunities for team members to grow and improve their skills. All in all, it’s a win-win situation for everyone involved!

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Yemisi Iyilade

Yemisi Iyilade is a Project Management Professional, PMP and Maxwell Leadership Coach and Trainer. She has worked in the environmental, nonprofit, and technology industries, developing new products and services, providing leadership, and facilitating meaningful engagement with stakeholders. Yemisi is driven by a mission to empower young people, women, and immigrant professionals through content delivery, coaching and training. She believes that if given the right tools and tactics, any motivated person can gain the awareness and grit needed to create better opportunities.


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