What is your level of leadership? Are you focused on developing yourself personally or working on becoming a better leader? There are so many ideas around to practice or principles to apply sometimes its hard to know exactly what to do and what not to do.

What’s the difference between a practice and a principle you may ask? Well a practice is an action that may work in one situation but not another whereas a principle is an eternal truth which is as reliable as a physical law. Eg. It’s easier to catch bees with honey rather than using vinegar.

I would like to talk about 5 Levels of Leadership based on the book by the same name written by John C Maxwell and how they might apply to our leadership journey.

Level 1 – Position
The only influence a positional leader has at this level is that which come with a title. People will follow you because they have too. Now there is nothing wrong with this position but using this position to get people to follow you is wrong. Have you ever been under this type of leadership where the boss card has been played? “Do as I say because I am the boss”.

Position is the only level that does not require ability and effort to achieve. Anyone can be appointed to this position.

Level 2 – Permission
Level 2 is entirely based on relationships. People follow you because they want to.
When you like people and treat them as individuals who have value you will start to develop trust and your influence will begin to develop with that individual.

What’s the result of this level? The environment will become much more positive and culture becomes easier to develop.

This type of leader is not worried so much about preserving their position but more about getting to know their people and working out how to get along with them. This is also where solid relationships start being built.

Level 3 – Production
One of the pitfalls of getting to the permission level is that you may want to stop there. Good leaders don’t just create a good working environment, they also get things done. Level 3 is based on results. At the production level as you gain more influence and credibility people start to follow you because of what you have done in the organization.

Lots of positive things happen at this level – great morale, work gets done, more profit, staff turnover goes down and you will find that momentum starts to kick in.
At level 3 you can start to become a change agent, you can make tough decisions that will make a difference to your organization.

Level 4 – People Development
Leaders at this level don’t become great because of their power but because of their power to empower others.

They use their position and resources to invest in their followers until they become leaders. Ther result is reproduction. Level 4 leaders reproduce themselves. John C Maxwell says “Production may win you games but people development wins championships.”
2 things happen t this level:

  - Team work goes to a high level - Why? Because the invest in people deepens relationships and people get to know each other better.

- Performance increases - Why? Because there are more leaders on the team which helps improve every ones performance.
Level 4 leaders change the lives of the people they lead.

Level 5 – Pinnacle
This is the most difficult level to achieve as a leader. Most people can climb levels 1 – 4 but 5 requires not only skill but a high level of talent. Usually these are the people who are naturally gifted.

What do level 5 leaders do? They develop people to become level 4 leaders. Developing leaders at this level is hard work and most won’t do it. Developing leaders who develop leaders, while this is the most difficult task of all there are however payoffs – They create opportunities that other leaders don’t. They will create a legacy in what they do. People will follow them because of who they are and what they represent.