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5 Levels of Leadership

John C Maxwell
Disclaimer: Some of the points may contradict and are too idealistic. Pick out the
ones you find relevant, try them out and make yours a leader of your own.
Level 1: Position
People follow you because they have to.
Beliefs to follow:
1. Titles are not enough. Leadership is above creating positive change.
2. Peoplenot positionare a leaders most valuable asset
3. A leader doesnt need to have all the answers. One how tries to be know
everything is merely insecure. A leaders job is not to know everything but
to attract people who know things that he or she does not.
4. A good leader needs to be willing to put his selfish ambitions aside for the
sake of the team and the vision of the organization. Being something
greater than yourself.
5. Remember to think about what kind of leader do I want to be? What are
my values? Who am i?
a. Herb Keller (CEO of Southwester Airlines): My best lesson on
leadership came during my early days as a trial lawyer. Wanting to
learn from the best, I went to see two of the most renowned lawyers
in San Antonio try cases. One sat there never objecting to anything,
but was very gentle with the witnesses and established a rapport
with the jury. The other was aggressive. And both seemed to win
every case. Thats when I realized THERE ARE MANY DIFFERENT
WELL. People with different personalities, different
approaches, different values succeed not because of one set
of values or practices is superior, BUT BECAUSE THEIR
Level 2: Permission
People follow you because they want to. You have developed good relationship,
built trust and treat people as individuals with value. The environment becomes
much more positive.




makes work more enjoyable

increase the energy level
opens up channels of communication
focuses on the value of each person
nurtures trust

1. Appears too soft for some people

a. Firm/hard decision-making for productivity sake is required
2. Can be frustrating for achievers
3. Can be taken advantage of
a. If the lost is not too great, do not think too much about it.
4. Requires openness to be effective
Best behaviors:

Connect with yourself

Develop a people-oriented leadership style
Treat others as you want others to treat you
Become the chief encourager of your team
Be caring and strict.
a. There are some things that people should not be allowed to do.
Discipline, rules should be upheld and enforced.
b. Colin Sewell: Leaders have to make the best decisions for the
majority. Thus, leaders cannot just cater to an individual if it hurts
the team or the organization.
Level 3: Production

It is about getting results and helping the team produce.


A productive leader has credibility

Is able to lead by example
Brings clarity and reality to vision
Solves a multitude of problems
a. Builds confidence, positive effects, creates momentum

1. Requires making difficult decisions. Going first is not easy, but it is an
requirement of leadersit paves the way for people to follow and increase
their chances of success for completing the journey.
a. Be successful before you try to help others be successful
b. Hold yourself to ahigher standard than you ask of others
c. Make yourself accountable to others
d. Set tangible goals and then reach them
e. Accept responsibility for personal results
f. Admit failure and mistakes quickly and humbly
2. Heavy responsibility

Level 4: People Development

People are a companys most valuable asset. Your task is to seek out the BEST
leaders and FOCUS on developing them. Follow the 20/80 rule; pick only the best
and the number that you can manage.


You leave behind a legacy. The leadership is sustainable.

It is different (a higher level) than production level
By empowering others to fulfill their leadership responsibilities, you are
performing your role as a mentor.
People development allows you to lead larger
o Be pragmatic, if somebody is quite good at something, let
him/her do it

How to develop people

1. Recruiting-Find the best people possible (tells you what kind of
attributes the superiors value most/look out for in their
o Chemistry
o Character
o Capacity (potential)
Stress Management
o Contribution
2. Positioning-Placing the right people in the right position
o How people work together as a team and make the most
o Their strengths and weaknesses
3. Modeling-Showing others how to lead
o You must be:
Embrace servanthood (seriously?!)
Maxwell: If you want to become a great (not
successful?) leader, serve the people you lead. Make
their success your success. Clear the way for them to
achieve. Invest in them so that they succeed. Maintain
the mind-set of a servant. Many people pursue
success. Few pursue success for their people. >> I
guess it is possible, if I really feel for the people that I
am leading.
Have the passion
Be successful yourself
Encourage others to be successful
Oversee their growth
4. Equipping-Helping others do their jobs well
o Give a man a fish, he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish, he eats for
a lifetime. And when he teaches others to fish, you get a fishing
Step 1- I do it
Step 2- I do it and you are with me

Step 3- You do it and I am with you

Step 4- You do it
Step5- You do it and someone is with you
5. Developing-Teaching them to do well in life
o Assessment (of someone who isnt performing). To strengthen him
and help him or her succeed.
When does this person do well?
When does this person stumble?
Where are this persons blind spots?
Where are his sweet spots?
Why isnt this person reaching his potential?
What does my intuition tell me is off in this persons
Who is this person following who might be leading him or her
in a wrong direction?
o Challenge. It is through challenges that people learn and grow to be
Take on new and challenging tasks in their sweet spot
Practice difficult disciplines that slowly build character
Meet me on regular basis for mentoring
o Support
The primary way I do that is by allowing the people I mentor
to request a meeting with me whenever they need it.
On occasions, they are to drive the agenda by asking specific,
difficult questions. I answer them as best I can and, the next
time we meet, I ask that person how they have applied what
they learned.
It is difficult for someone to make the most of their leadership
potential when the rest of their life is wreck. Good life skills
help a person to create a strong foundation upon which to
build a family, career and spiritual life.
6. Empowering-Enabling people to succeed
o Empowerment: Helping people to see what they can do without
your help, and releasing them to do it. As you release the tasks to
them, you need to trust them (creates a bond), believe in
them (motivates them) and hold them accountable (ensure
that they focus on the task and achieve results).
7. Measuring-Evaluating those whom you develop to maximize their efforts
o Independence
Lower level: Look into something. Let the manager know
what you intend to do and do it unless he say no.
Higher level: Take action. Let the manager know what you
Things to do to help develop leaders:
1. Creating a leadership culture
Level 5: The Pinnacle

Pinnacle leaders stand out from everyone else. They are a cut above the rest,
and they seem to bring success with them wherever they go. Leader ship at this
high level lifts the entire organization and creates an environment that benefits
everyone in it, contributing to their success. Level 5 leaders often possess an
influence that transcends the organization and the industry the leader works in.
Most leaders who reach the Pinnacle do so later in their careers. But the Pinnacle
level is not a resting place for them to rest their laurels. It is reproducing place
from which they make the greatest impact of their lives. Thats why leaders who
reach the Pinnacle should make the most of it while they can. With gratitude and
humility, they should lift up as many leaders as they can, tackle as many great
challenges as possible, and extend their influence to make a positive difference
beyond their own organization and industry.