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The Top 5 Laws of Leadership

There is no shortage of remarkable ideas.

It is the will to execute that makes the difference. Today, it is safer to be risky - to fortify your desire to do truly amazing things. Once you see that the old ways have nowhere to go but down it becomes even more imperative to create a physiotherapy brand, experience, and business worth talking about.

Leadership is not just about guiding a group of people, creating a vision, or creating something new. It is also about mapping the path towards the "win" together as a team.  

John C. Maxwell in his book "The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership", outlines 21 laws which if applied, can make us all more effective, more efficient and more successful leaders. We’ve picked the five laws and top lessons learned when we attended the Canadian Physiotherapy Leadership Forum in Ottawa in 2017.

The Canadian Physiotherapy Leadership Leadership Forum was a catalyst to spark these conversations for physiotherapists who traveled from across the country to attend.  The weekend brought together leaders to build momentum, discuss opportunities and inspire the next generation of physiotherapy.

Let's dive in.


In this law, we can consider The Lid to be a person's effectiveness. Now effectiveness is determined based on two factors i.e. Success dedication and leadership ability. 

A person does not become successful merely by being dedicated. They need to improve their leadership abilities too in order to multiply their success.

Watch this one minute video from the Canadian Physiotherapy Association Leadership Forum to get some quick tips on how to improve your leadership abilities:

Take the full online course by the Canadian Physiotherapy Association (it's free for Embodia Members!) 


"The true measure of leadership is influence - nothing more nothing less," says Maxwell. 

Leadership is more about influencing people in a way that you get the maximum of their potential and not holding up to a position and let other people out of the way. The best leaders in the world do realize this and bring the best out of other people even if it means others being more powerful then themselves.

Leadership, as per the law is not about the title or position of the leader but it's more about the impact that leaders make on their followers. 

Maxwell also says in his book "When it comes to identifying a real leader… don’t listen to the claims of the person professing to be the leader. Don’t examine his credentials. Don’t check his title. Check his influence. The proof of leadership is found in the followers." which indeed is an absolute check for a good leader. 



Who was first to reach the South Pole? Amundsen of course, but we all recall more about Scott’s failed attempt.

While Amundsen painstakingly planned his trip, studying the methods of the Eskimos and other experienced Arctic travelers Scott stuck to his own beliefs. Rather than using dogsleds like the local experts, Scott decided to use motorized sleds and ponies.

Motors stopped working only five days into the trip. The ponies were unsuitable for the low temperatures. As a result, the team members themselves ended up hauling the two hundred pound sleds. According to Maxwell, Scott’s expedition to the Pole is a classic example of a leader who could not navigate for his people.

Leaders who navigate do more than controlling the direction in which they travel. They have a vision for getting to their destination, they understand what it will take to get there, they know who they’ll need on the team to be successful, and they recognize the obstacles long before they appear on the horizon.

Navigators examine the conditions before making commitments.

Good navigators examine not only measurable factors such as finances, resources, and talent but also intangibles such as timing, morale, momentum, and culture. Navigators listen to what others have to say: No matter how good a leader we are, we will not have all the answers. That’s why top-notch navigators gather information from many sources.

Navigating leaders get ideas from many sources. They listen to members of their leadership team. They talk to the people in their organization to find out what’s happening on the grassroots level. And they spend time with leaders from outside the organization who can mentor them. So how can we apply the Law of Navigation?

Maxwell suggests that for some project or major tasks that you are currently responsible for, we draw on our past experience, hold intentional conversations with experts and team members to gather information, and examine current conditions that could impact the success of our endeavor. Only after taking these steps should we create our action plan.



In most situations, unless you take strong measures to counteract it, you draw people to you who possess the same qualities you do.

Who you are is who you attract.

People attract—and are attracted to—others of similar backgrounds. Tribes, Teams, Societies, Fraternities. - call them what you want: people stick with those who reflect themselves.

People are attracted to leaders whose values are similar to their own.

The better a leader we are, the better leaders we will attract. And that has an incredible impact on everything we do in our business. If we want to attract better people, we need to become the kind of person we want to attract.

Watch this short video from the Canadian Physiotherapy Association Leadership Forum to see this law in action:



It is very nicely said that the law of legacy is all about what you want people to say at your funeral? That may seem like an odd question, but it may be the most important thing you can ask yourself as a leader. 

"A Leader's lasting value is measured by succession."

John gives an example here that companies often go into a tailspin when they lose their CEO, but when Roberto Goizueta died, Coca-Cola didn't even hiccup. Why? Before his death, Goizutea lived by the law of Legacy.

A good leader leads for a lifetime while the best of all leads forever. Your achievements reflect in the way people carry your legacy and achieve much more than what is expected. 



These five laws nurture the leadership quality in an aspiring individual on the path of self-development. Not everyone is a born leader and not all can lead but given the opportunity, the best we can do is develop our own self. These laws teach us more about building ourselves into great leaders. They give us an idea of what every leader should be like or what qualities to develop to be a great leader. 

Deri Latimer who is one of the speakers at CPA Leadership Forum 2017, elaborates on the idea from the Neuroleadership Institute using the SCARF.

Are you one of those people who wonders about building a team that can withstand the tides of change? How would you identify your learning needs and fill in the gaps in your skillset? How would you stay up-to-date? What would you do the make the change? Take a look at what our leaders have to say. This Leadership course for physiotherapists highlights the key discussions that took place at the Canadian Physiotherapy Association's Leadership Forum.

View Full Course


We can learn from all of the startups, companies, and industries around us that are doing a spectacular job of reimagining their futures.

Dave Walton encouraged us to look to the fringes – since that’s where changes will occur.

The sandbox that we are playing in is evolving – and doing so rapidly. While we are a regulated health profession, we are playing in the same sandbox as many others who are not – from yoga instructors to personal trainers to arguably the green juice bar around the corner from your clinic. Communication of our professions’ offering does not come down to what we each individually believe we are (which, by the way, how would you define physiotherapy?), but to our national voice and perhaps most importantly, what the public interprets physiotherapy to be. If you ask 10 people what physiotherapy means to them, I would bet dollars over doughnuts you will get 10 different answers.

The game has changed.  So, let’s look at the fringes.

Let’s empower innovation with outlandish thinking.

Let’s connect the dots of genius and help drive the fourth industrial revolution, the digital health revolution.

Perhaps it is time to dig down and not just define, but also embody the heart, mind, and soul of physiotherapy - together.

There are startups, companies, and organizations that are reimagining health and wellness empowered by innovation, technology, and perseverance of the bold future of healthcare. They are moving fast – and if, as a profession, we wish to be a part of it, then we must not only come together to discuss the opportunities and realities that surround us but act on it.

Let’s be connected and defiant, bold and closely connect ourselves to imaginative, innovative thinkers - and be risk-takers ourselves.

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