3 books for EMS leaders

Add these John Maxwell Team books to your leadership library; for you and the rising leaders in your organization


Being a leader in EMS has been a great opportunity for me. Sharing the art and science of leadership with dedicated EMS professionals has led to many celebrations, successes, and failures. I’ve learned that professional development has been essential element for the success of my organization, leadership team, and workforce.

As part of my own development as a leader I have become a member of The John Maxwell Team. Maxwell is recognized as a top leadership influencer in the world; having trained over six million leaders around the world and consulting with Fortune 500 companies, the Department of Defense and the NFL.

He is also the author of over 75 leadership books. The three Maxwell books I believe should be in every leader's professional development library are the "21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership," "Everyone Communicates Few Connect" and "Good Leaders Ask Great Questions."

Chris Cebollero and leadership influencer John Maxwell on The John Maxwell Team.
Chris Cebollero and leadership influencer John Maxwell on The John Maxwell Team. (Image Chris Cebollero)

The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership

Maxwell's 21 leadership laws are meant to lead anyone to success. Each law can be learned, some are easier to understand and apply than others, but every one of them can be developed. Each law can stand alone; even though each law compliments the others, you do not need one to learn others. These laws also carry consequences with them and need to be respected.

One of my favorite laws is the Law of Influence, which states the true measure of leadership is influence-nothing more nothing less. Maxwell writes that without influence you will not be able to lead others. To be effective as a leader you need to obtain followers. If you do not have what it takes to influence them, they will never follow you.

One of the biggest mistakes leaders make is thinking leadership is a position instead of an action. Even though your past experiences, successes and the knowledge you’ve gained is a foundation of who you are, most time leaders live in the past.

To be successful in influencing others, think about what comes next, and not what has passed. It’s your ability now to assist in reaching the next goal, which makes the difference in leadership success. 

Everyone Communicates Few Connect

As a leader your ability to connect with others is a vital factor in being able to reach your full potential. Connecting is a skill you can learn and apply in your personal, professional, and family relationships and you can start now!

In the book "Everyone Communicates Few Connect," Maxwell teaches how anyone can make every communication a chance for a powerful connection. This crucial skill of connecting with people includes five practices:

1. Finding common ground: We sometimes forget that communication is a two-way street, and compromise is the crosswalk of communication. To ensure effective communication flows both ways, look for common ground.

2. Keeping communication simple: This was a harsh lesson learned early in my career. Jargon seemed to have become a mainstay in my vocabulary, first with military terms, then EMS jargon. Gear communication toward the person or group you are speaking with.

3. Capturing people’s interest: We have all been in the position of being bored in a conversation or class. It’s an unforgiving reality when we are unable to capture the interest of those around us. I’ve learned to use personal stories to make my points. Never make a point without a story, and never tell a story without a point.

4. Inspiring people: At the core of leadership is your ability to inspire people. This was not a trait I’ve always possessed. Being trained in the military as a young man my style was autocratic. My ability to inspire was hidden by giving orders, finger pointing and yelling. It wasn’t until I learned the art of inspiring people that my leadership influence began to grow.

5. Staying authentic in all relationships: Think about this; when you describe someone, it is often in one sentence. “He is a great guy” or "she really knows her medicine” or “are outstanding leaders.” How are you described by your workforce or peers? Stay true to who you are and more importantly to all your relationships.

Good Leaders Ask Great Questions

It seems a leader always needs to have the answers, but instead of answers, we need to ask more questions that assist others in finding the answers. Asking questions is a great way to connect with people, collaborate with team members, build ideas, and of course develop people’s leadership.

Maxwell writes, “Good questions inform; great questions transform.” With the current state of EMS transformation, leaders not only need to ask those tough questions for professional growth, but also growth of our career.  

Asking questions, instead of giving direction transformed my ability to lead. Not only did this give me a better overview of a particular situation, but it also gave me the opportunity to grow other leaders in the process. As you ask questions, it gives others the ability to analyze, use critical thinking skills, and find answers they had inside them the whole time. As the future of EMS presents itself, are you asking the questions, which will move your organization and workforce forward?

Professional development is a must for the EMS leader of today to transform the EMS field of tomorrow. Developing a library of leadership references is a good way of developing skills, learning best practices, and discovering your inner leadership potential.

What leadership references are on your bookshelf? 

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