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How to Become a Level 5 Leader

(posted: November 15th, 2011)

Leadership is one of my greatest passions! I am totally immersed in it. I love teaching it and I love learning from it!

And the more teaching I do on the subject of leadership, the more learning I receive from it. I learn from the process and from the wonderfully diverse people with whom I engage on the subject. This process helps me become a better teacher and trainer for the leaders that I serve.

For me, I believe if one wants to make a positive impact on their team, on their family, and in this world in which we operate, learning to lead better will help them raise their level of influence with those around them.

"Leadership is influence. If people can increase their influence with others, they can lead more effectively."

Leading Collaboratively

Leadership is a growth process, not just a position or title. Good leadership is not about advancing yourself. It's about advancing your team and the people you influence. Bring your team together because collaboration is the key to leading a successful team.

"Lead people well and help members of your team to become effective leaders."

When doing this, a successful career path is almost guaranteed for you and many others around your sphere of influence.

Growing by Leaps and Bounds

Individual and corporate transformation happens when leaders truly understand who they are through increased self-awareness that leverages their strengths and talents so everyone can capitalize on these.

"Do you have the potential and the passion to become a Level 5 leader? What is a Level 5 leader?"

In John Maxwell's latest book, "The Five Levels of Leadership," he helps you:

  • Identify your talents
  • Identify where you are on the ledership climb
  • Grow to the next level of influence

He talks about not only where you are, but where you could go.

"What is your leadership development plan?"

I believe the only way people can grow as a leader is when they have a clear action or game plan.

Maxwell's 5 Levels of Leadership

Level 1: Position

Position is the lowest level of leadership, the entry-level. The only influence a positional leader has is that which comes with the job title. People follow because they have to. Position is the only level that does not require ability and effort to achieve. Anyone can be appointed to a position. Position is the only level that does not require ability and effort to achieve.

"Position is a poor substitute for influence."

John Maxwell

Level 2: Permission

Level 2 is based entirely on relationships. On the Permission level, people follow because they want to. When you like people and treat them as individuals who have value you begin to develop influence with them. You develop trust. We all know how critical trust is to the overall results from the great Patrick Lencioni's book The Five Dysfunctions of a team.

Level 3: Production

Level 3 is based on results. On the Production level leaders gain influence and credibility, and people begin to follow them because of what they have done for the organization. Leading and influencing others becomes fun on this level. Success and productivity have been known to solve a lot of problems.

Level 4: People Development

Leaders become great, not because of their power, but because of their ability to empower others.

Dave Ramsey shares this in his book, EntreLeadership:

"Entreleaders know how to blend their entrepreneurial passion with a servant-like leadership that motivates employees through persuasion instead of intimidation."

That is what leaders do on Level 4. They use their position, relationships, persuasion, and productivity to invest in their followers. As well as develop the passionate and committed followers, who then become leaders in their own right.

Level 4 leaders reproduce themselves.

Level 5: Pinnacle

What do leaders do on Level 5? They develop people to become Level 4 leaders.

This is the highest and most difficult level of leadership. Level 5 leaders develop Level 5 organizations. Level 5 requires not only effort, skill, and intentionality, but also a high level of talent. Only naturally gifted leaders ever make it to this highest level.

"Level 5 leaders often transcend their positions, their organization, and sometimes their industry."

John Maxwell

A Clear Path for Action

What is your Game Plan?

I have discovered a great new DiSC leadership program being rolled out that complements John Maxwell's work and best practices. It's called DiSC Work for Leaders and it's a new approach to evaluating and instructing leaders.

This program was created to provide a personalized learning experience with a clear path for action and tangible steps directed at identifying your leadership potential and a game plan for working toward that Level 5.

"The higher level you go the easier it is to lead."

I realized this as I began utilizing these tools and thinking about my leadership along with those that I coach. So don't be satisfied with what level you are on.

"Reach, stretch, grow; you have great potential.

Help leaders who have potential who want to expand and go to a higher level in leadership. Leaders have potential not where they are, but where they could go.

Jim Collins states in his amazing book, Good to Great:

"Knowing who you are and what you are meant to do can make all the difference in moving from good to great."

Challenge Yourself
  • Where are you now? Level 1? Level 5?
  • What is your potential and how could you influence others as you expand that potential?

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