Why I follow and teach John Maxwell’s 5 Levels of Leadership
Many years ago, John Maxwell developed the idea of the 5 Levels of Leadership in his book, Developing the Leader Within You. Why? In his experience, no matter who you are – from parent to executive – leaders of all kinds ask the question, where do I stand in my leadership development and how do I get to the next level?
In my experience, I’ve seen how everything is influenced by leadership, good or bad. And I’ve seen every level of leadership. The best leaders inspire their teams to action; the worst, to inaction – or even to move in reverse.
John Maxwell is not only one of the world’s best leaders, but one of the world’s best leadership expert because he understands a deceptively simple truth: to know how to get where you’re going, you have to first know where you are.
To become a true leader – a leader who is capable of inspiring transcendence – you have to follow an evolution of growth, starting first with yourself, then with your relationships, then with your own productivity, and finally, of other people. John Maxwell’s 5 Levels of Leadership present a simple philosophy with easy-to-understand stages, or levels, to help you along your leadership journey of growth.
Level 1 – Position
People at this level of leadership are simply in a position – or possess a title – to be a leader, but are not one yet. If you have followers, it’s because it’s a requirement for them, or because they have something to lose (a paycheck) if they don’t follow you.
The good news is, this is the entry level and the perfect opportunity to begin investing in yourself and leading yourself to grow to the next level.
Level 2 – Permission
Level 2 is all about your relationships with other people: about influencing other people to follow you because you want to. Why would they do that? When you build positive relationships, you show that you value those other people, building trust, mutual respect, and for you, positive influence.
Level 3 – Production
This level is all about motivating people to accomplish their tasks and: getting things done. When you demonstrate a positive work track record yourself, you’re able to influence the work of others and grow positive momentum.
Level 4 – People Development
At this level, you start to focus less on your own work and more on growing other people as leaders. When there are more leaders, higher goals can be accomplished and the organization’s future looks clearer and brighter.
Level 5 – Pinnacle
At this final level of leadership, you’re here because you have dedicated your life to serving the lives of others. It’s here where you’re able to transcend your job and even your organization and create a lasting legacy.
Note that I said that these levels are easy-to-understand, not easy-to-attain. You can spend your whole life working to advance to the next levels, but if you’re truly devoted to becoming the best leader you can be, that work is always worth it.