The Law of the Edge

The Difference between Two Equally Talented Teams Is Leadership

Teams are constantly seeking an edge. This phenomenon is easy to see.  For example, a basketball team signs on new players or creates new plays to defeat a daunting rival – or creates an entirely new system to transform a losing streak into a winning one. A corporation devotes funds to improve its technology and, thereby, its efficiency. A business lets go their advertising agency and brings on a new one in hopes of increasing market share. A company tries a new management method to lower employee turnover. Every company is looking for the set of keys that will bring victory.


What brings success? Is it expertise? Motivation? Technology? Productivity? To claim victories, a team requires all of this, yet it requires more.

It requires leadership:

  • Recruits decide the possibility of the team.

  • Vision decides the path of the team.

  • Performance principles decide the groundwork of the team.

  • Leadership decides the achievement of the team.

John Maxwell, leadership expert, observes, “Everything rises and falls on leadership.” If a team has outstanding leadership, then it can acquire the rest to reach the highest plane.

Outstanding leadership enhances everything. Leaders are elevators. They drive the wisdom of their teammates to new levels of ingenuity. They lift up team members’ accomplishments, causing them to top what they’ve done before. They develop confidence in themselves and the rest of the team. They elevate the outlook of everyone around them. Whereas managers frequently sustain a team on its existing plane, leaders elevate it to a greater plane than ever before. The heart of that is generating excellence in team members.

Here are 4 ways a leader can generate excellence in team members:

  1. A leader assigns ownership of work to team members who accomplish the work. For success to happen on a team, accountability must filter its way throughout the organization. To make that come about, you need a leader who assigns responsibility and authority to the team. “Leadership contains certain elements of good management, but it requires that you inspire and that you build durable trust. For an organization to be not just good but to win, leadership means evoking participation larger than the job description and commitment deeper than any job contract's wording,” says Stanley A. McChrystal, American soldier. Outstanding leaders hardly ever constrain their teams; they liberate them.

  2. A leader develops an atmosphere in which each team member aims to be responsible. Various people need various types of stimulus to be their best. One may require praise. Another may require a pull. Another may awaken to a challenge. An outstanding leader realizes the differences in people and tailors his interactions to bring out the virtue of responsibility in his team members. An outstanding leader also appreciates the fact that they are responsible to their team members, not for them.

  3. A leader encourages personal growth. A team will reach its greatest capability when each person on the team attains their greatest capability. A successful leader supports each individual on their team do that.

  4. A leader learns fast and urges team members to learn quickly. A leader elevates themself to a superior plane first, then they elevate their team members. Demonstrating comes first, then leading. If all on the team are progressing, then the team is progressing.


If you want to provide a boost to your team, then deliver to it better leadership.  That’s the Law of the Edge at work.

The point to the Law of the Edge is leadership, but that doesn’t mean that one person is at all times responsible for leading. Even though the majority of teams embrace an assigned leader who is, in the end, responsible for the team’s supervision, the definite leadership of the team is typically doled out.

Many people are inclined to view leadership in one of two ways:

  1. The first way John Maxwell calls “the myth of the head table.” It’s the idea that on a specific team, only one person is constantly in command. It’s the perception that this specific person sits at the “head table” in the company and that everyone else is subservient to him.

    The concept that one individual is constantly doing every part of the leading is simply not true. The leader should not be the same person in every circumstance. The task at hand usually decides the leader for that task. This is because each team member has strong points that are valuable.

  2. The second way that people misinterpret leadership John Maxwell calls “the myth of the roundtable.” It’s the idea that each member of the team is interchangeable, all views should be assessed as equal, and a team really needs no leadership. This extreme is false, also. A team that attempts to operate like communism accomplishes nothing.

    Each team member is essential, but each team member isn’t the same. The team member with more proficiency, talent and productivity in a situation is of greater value to the team in that situation.


Handing the Team an Advantage

Leadership gives the team an advantage. A leader sees further than other team members. A leader sees what’s coming up faster than other team members. They understand what will occur and can forsee it. The result is that they pull the team along the right path before other teams, and, therefore, the team is positioned for victory. 

The more difficult the situation, the more essential the numerous rewards of leadership. Also, the more leaders the team grows, the more significant the edge from leadership. If you desire success and desire it for a long time, equip members on the team to turn into improved leaders.

Be a Better Team Member

Start the procedure of refining your leadership competencies now. Accomplish the following:

  • Recognize the importance of leadership,

  • Take responsibility for your development as a leader,

  • Place yourself in a leadership growth plan, and

  • Obtain a leadership mentor.

Be a Better Team Leader

If you are the leader of the team who is ultimately responsible for the team, the greatest thing you can do for your team members is to increase the number of other leaders on the team. 

There are two ways to do that. First, invite the greatest leaders you can – even if it means inviting people who are more talented than yourself. Second, help your current team members develop their leadership skills. The team’s capability for success increases as the strength of the team’s leadership increases.

The ideas in this blog post were taken from John Maxwell’s book, The 17 Indisputable Laws of Teamwork.

Stephen Crawford