Timing is Critical to Successful Leadership

The Law of Timing; John C. Maxwell’s 19th Irrefutable Law of Leadership states that “when to lead” is just as important as what to do and where to go. Timing can often be the critical difference between success and failure. Maxwell proposes that there are only four outcomes from any move that a leader makes:

  1. The Wrong Action at the Wrong Time Leads to Disaster – If you take the wrong action at the wrong time, your people will suffer and so will your leadership.
  2. The Right Action at the Wrong Time Brings Resistance– Having a vision for the right direction and knowing how to get there is not enough. If you take the right action but do it at the wrong time, you may still be unsuccessful because the people you lead can become resistant. Good leadership timing requires many things:
    1. Understanding – leaders must have a firm grasp on the situation.
    2. Maturity – if leader’s motives aren’t right, their timing will be off.
    3. Confidence – people follow leaders who know what must be done.
    4. Decisiveness – wishy-washy leaders create wishy-washy followers.
    5. Experience – if leaders don’t possess experience, then they need to gain wisdom from others who do possess it.
    6. Intuition – timing often depends on intangibles, such as momentum and morale.
    7. Preparation – if the conditions aren’t right, leaders must create those conditions.
  3. The Wrong Action at the Right Time is a Mistake – the greatest mistake made by entrepreneurs is knowing when to cut their losses or when to increase their investment to maximize gains. Their mistakes come from taking the wrong action at the right time.
  4. The Right Action at the Right Time Results in Success – When the right leader and the right timing come together an organization achieves its goals and reaps incredible rewards.

Do you have examples of being successful through taking the right action at the right time?

How badly wrong have you been by mistiming your actions?

This is the 19th article in a series of 21. Previous articles can be found here:

  1. The Law of the Lid: How effective are you as a leader?
  2. The Law of Influence: The True Measure of Leadership
  3. The Law of Process: Leadership is a Journey of Continuous Improvement
  4. The Law of Navigation: Anyone can Steer the Ship…
  5. The Law of Addition: Adding Value by Serving Others
  6. The Law of Solid Ground: Trust is the Foundation of Leadership
  7. The Law of Respect: People Don’t Follow Others by Accident
  8. The Law of Intuition: Evaluate Everything with a Leadership Bias
  9. The Law of Magnetism: Who You Are, Is Who You Attract
  10. The Law of Connection: Leaders that Care Make Connections
  11. The Law of The Inner Circle: Leaders Cannot Succeed Alone
  12. The Law of Empowerment: Only Secure Leaders Give Power to Others
  13. The Law of the Picture: Set the Right Example
  14. The Law of Buy-In: Buying into the Leader comes before buying into the vision
  15. The Law of Victory: Finding a Way to Win
  16. The Law of the Big Mo: Success comes from Momentum
  17. The Law of Priorities: Activity is Not Necessarily Accomplishment
  18. The Law of Sacrifice: A Leader Must Give Up to Go Up


About Peter Borner

Peter is an entrepreneur and successful business leader. Currently leading a consultancy firm specialising in technical diligence for M&A and advising global firms on IT consolidation and migration to consumption based costing through the use of Cloud Technologies.

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