20. The Law of Explosive Growth

The Law of Explosive Growth: To Add Growth, Lead Followers- To Multiply, Lead Leaders

I like this title. A good leader leads followers. A great leader leads leaders. That’s deep. I have work to do. I think I lead leaders, but I also have to make sure I’m doing all that I can to develop those leaders so that they can independently lead effectively.

The author shares with us his personal story of traveling around the world for conferences and seminars and noticing that people with poor leadership development have trouble overcoming personal issues in order to focus on more important matters. Instead of focusing on the macro, they were consumed with the micro. Maxwell suggests that to overcome this, we need to develop other leaders, which is why he started his non-profit, EQUIP. This next section really spoke to me though about patience, something that I struggle with as a leader.

Leaders are naturally impatient. At least, all of the leaders I know are. Leaders want to move fast. They want to see the vision fulfilled. They delight in progress. Good leaders quickly assess where an organization is, project where it needs to go, and have strong ideas about how to get it there. The problem is that most of the time the people and the organization lag behind the leader. For that reason, leaders always feel a tension between where they are and their people are and where they ought to be…How do yo relieve that tension between where the organization is and where you want it to be? The answer can be found in the Law of Explosive Growth:

  • If you develop yourself, you can experience personal success.
  • If you develop a team, your organization can experience growth.
  • If you develop leaders, your organization can achieve explosive growth.

You can grow by leading followers. But if you want to maximize your leadership and help your organization reach its potential, you need to develop leaders. There is no other way to experience explosive growth. p. 249

Leaders who attract followers need to be needed. Leaders who attract leaders want to be succeeded. Excitement comes from becoming a leader When you speak, people listen. When you want something done, you can enlist other people to help you. Having followers can make you feel needed and important. However, that is a pretty shallow reason to pursue leadership. Good leaders lead for the sake of their followers and for what they can leave behind after their time of leadership is completed.

Leaders who attract followers develop the bottom 20 percent. Leaders who attract leaders develop the top 20 percent. When you’re leading a group of people, who typically asks for the most time and attention? The weakest ones in the group. If you allow them to, they will consume 80 percent or more of your time. However, proactive leaders who practice the Law of Explosive Growth don’t allow that bottom 20 percent to take all their time. They seek out the best 20 percent- the people with the greatest leadership potential- and they invest their time developing them. They know that if they develop the best, the best will help with the rest.

Leaders who attract followers focus on weakness. Leaders who develop leaders focus on strengths. A necessity of working with the bottom 20 percent is that you must continually deal with their weaknesses. Unsuccessful people usually need help with the basics. Problems in those areas keep them from achieving consistent performance on a regular basis. However, when you work with your best people, you can build on their strengths.

Leaders who attract followers treat everyone the same. Leaders who develop leaders treat individuals differently. Leaders who develop leaders give rewards, resources, and responsibility based on results. The greater the impact of leaders, the greater the opportunities they receive.

Leaders who attract followers spend time with others. Leaders who develop leaders invest time in others. When leaders take the time to develop the leaders they attract, they are making a valuable investment in them. Every moment they spend helps to increase their ability and influence. And that pays dividends to them and the organization.

Leaders who attract followers grow by addition. Leaders who develop leaders grow by multiplication. Leaders who attract followers grow their organization only one person at a time. When you attract one follower, you impact one person. And you receive the value and power of one person. However, leaders who develop leaders multiply their organization’s growth, because for every leader they develop, they also receive the value of all of that leader’s followers.

Leaders who attract followers impact only people they touch. Leaders who develop leaders impact people beyond their reach. Leaders who attract followers but never develop leaders get tired. Why? Because they themselves must deal with every person under their authority. Being able to impact only the people you can touch personally is very limiting. In contrast, leaders who develop leaders impact people far beyond their personal reach. The better the leaders they develop, the greater the quality and quantity of followers and the greater the reach. Every time you develop leaders and help them increase their leadership ability, you make them capable of influencing an even greater number of people. By helping one person, you can reach many others.

  1. Leaders are hard to find. How many people do you know who are really good leaders? They have influence. They make things happen. They see and seize opportunities. And they an attract, enlist, and rally people to perform with excellence.
  2. Leaders are hard to gather. Once you find leaders, drawing them in can be very difficult. They are entrepreneurial and want to go their own way. If you try to recruit them, they want to know where you’re going, how you plan to get there, who else you’re planning to take with you- and whether they can drive! What you’re doing has to be more compelling than what they’re already doing. On top of that, your organization needs to create an environment that is attractive to them. That is often not the case. Most organizations desire stability. Leaders want excitement. Most organizations desire structure. Leaders want flexibility. Most organizations place a high value on following rules. Leaders want to think outside the box. If you want to gather leaders, you must create a place where they can thrive.
  3. Leaders are hard to keep. The only way to lead leaders is to become a better leader yourself. If you keep growing and stay ahead of people you lead, then you will be able to keep adding value to the leaders who follow you. Your goals must be to keep developing them so that they can realize their potential. Only a leader can do that for another leader, because it takes a leader to raise up another leader.


  1. I would say that I’m still developing myself but I’m also working to develop leaders. I need to spend more time empowering the leaders to do well, instead of trying to control the outcomes. I continuous work on myself but sometimes I doubt my leadership which causes me to shrink back into my comfort zone in which I don’t challenge people to pursue their potential. I’m constantly second-guessing myself, which is really frustrating. To develop other leaders, I should give them opportunities to fail.
  2. I should start looking for leaders. I haven’t been looking.
  3. I’m always working to be a better leader. We have a good environment for leaders to thrive. I need to give leaders more opportunities to lead. I need to praise risk and reward success more.

About Ernest Levert Jr.

Aspiring Servant-Leader studying engineering principles, financial stewardship, business management, and psychology fundamentals in order to cultivate passionate leadership, disseminate positive energy, uplift the community and ultimately create a brighter future for generations to come.
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