In leadership, you are only as good as the lowest level you’ve mastered- John Maxwell.
When one assumes a leadership position, one assumes a position to influence and lead people; thus, developing essential leadership skills is critical for leadership growth and development. This applies to all leaders - no matter the leadership level.
Why is this important?
In a leadership journey, we all start from somewhere in an attempt to have an Influence in leadership. To use the analogy of a swimming pool, the shallow end is the first port of entry for amateur swimmers.
At this end, the chances of drowning are minimal; hence great for beginners. There is nothing much to learn or to respect for swimmers at this stage. Over time, one refines their swimming skills, gains confidence, respect, and progressively learns how to swim with confidence at the deeper end.
Leadership abilities mirror this progression. Unless one is born with natural leadership ability, we all have to learn the fundamental of leadership through initiatives such as coaching and mentoring relationships and programs such as executive coaching for leadership development.
John C. Maxwell, a leadership expert, and author, developed 5 levels of leadership to explain how one can rise in their leadership journey and how to develop important leadership skills. We shall explore the levels, how each is earned, and how you can use it to gauge your leadership level.
According to Maxwell, there are 5 levels of leadership, each representing a different stage of growth and development of a leader. These levels are Level 1: Position, Level 2: Permission, Level 3: Production, Level 4: People Development, and Level 5: Pinnacle.
He conceived these levels as a practice that could be used to lead more effectively.
His international best-seller book The 5 Levels of Leadership: Proven Steps to Maximize Your Potential explains these leadership levels.
This is the lowest level of leadership(entry-level). A person assumes this role when given a leadership role or title, e.g., head of marketing or director of strategy.
At this level, a person has the authority to lead based on their position, but they have not yet earned their team's respect or trust.
At this leadership level, people follow you because they have to, whether they like you or not, as they see you as the boss by your job title or company regulation. This means you can tell people what to do, enforce rules, etc.
Maxwell argues that:
"People who make it only to Level 1 may be bosses, but they are never leaders. They have subordinates, not team members. They rely on rules, regulations, policies, and organizational charts to control their people. Their people will only follow them within the stated boundaries of their authority. And their people will usually do only what is required of them. When positional leaders ask for extra effort or time, they rarely get it."
To master the position level of leadership and move to the higher levels, do the following:
At this level, a person has earned their team's respect and trust and developed good relationships with them. As a result, their team is willing to follow them because they want to, not just because they have to.
This level of success is based on relationship building that fosters trust and confidence. When this level is attained, it creates positive energy in the team, and members feel valued.
A leader should not be preoccupied with preserving this position but with building a solid and long-lasting relationship with the team.
To ensure success at this level, do the following:
Production-level leaders produce results. This gives the leader credibility and influence as it confirms leadership ability and management skills to team members. This means that momentum has been achieved. In such a work environment, work gets done, deadlines are met, morale improves, and team motivation is high.
At this level, production leaders focus on developing the skills and abilities of their team members. They invest in the growth and development of their team, communicate expectations, and develop influence. This makes their team becomes more capable and independent as a result.
To master the production level and produce results, do the following:
At this level, leaders become great, not because of their delegated positions but their capacity to empower their team members through prior relationships and productivity that shape followers into leaders in their own right. This way, they can extend their influence and impact.
Level four leaders change the lives of their team members, and as such, there is an uptick in productivity, as there are more leaders in the team that helps improve every-ones performance.
To master People development, do the following:
This is the highest and most difficult level of leadership to attain. Pinnacle leaders can inspire and influence others beyond their immediate team extending through the entire organization or industry. This separates true leaders from the rest.
pinnacle leaders stand out and are mostly found in elite organizations such as fortune companies.
Through delivering results and nurturing other leaders, they have developed a strong reputation and can achieve results through the efforts of multiple teams and organizations.
This way, they can develop leaders to be level 4, multiplying leaders and creating a cycle of positive change.
To get to this leadership level, one needs to have intentionality, a growth mindset, master the right leadership behaviors, and show evidence of past accomplishments, skills, and talent.
According to Maxwell, the goal of leadership is to progress through these 5 levels of leadership and reach the pinnacle, where a leader can achieve significant results, influence people, and make a lasting impact.
This way, followers get to follow the leader not because of their position levels of leadership but because of who they are and what they represent. This way, they can leave a lasting legacy.
To master the Pinnanciel level of leadership and consistently deliver results, do the following:
According to Maxwell, the 5 levels of leadership are related in the following ways:
To achieve the 5 levels of leadership, do the following:
Setting goals for yourself and working towards them consistently can help you achieve the 5 levels of leadership. Setting specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals can help you focus your efforts and track your progress.
It can also help you stay motivated and committed to your leadership development.
As you work towards your goals, it is important to be consistent and persistent in your efforts. This may involve setting aside time to work on your goals, seeking resources and support to help you achieve your goals, and staying focused and motivated even when faced with challenges or setbacks.
In addition to setting and working towards personal goals, it is also important to align your goals with the goals of the organization and the needs of your team. This can help you create value and make a meaningful impact as a leader.
Seeking out leadership training and development opportunities can help you achieve the 5 levels of leadership. There are many different types of leadership training and development opportunities available, such as:
Seeking feedback from others and being open to learning from your mistakes is an important part of achieving the 5 levels of leadership. Feedback can help you identify improvement areas and give insights into how others perceive your leadership style and effectiveness.
It can also help you develop a growth mindset and a willingness to learn and adapt.
There are many ways to seek feedback from others, such as:
Building strong relationships with your team is an important part of achieving the 5 levels of leadership. Strong relationships can foster trust, respect, and collaboration among team members, leading to improved communication, increased productivity, and positive work culture.
Here are some ways to build strong relationships with your team:
Leading by example and being a role model for others is an important parts of achieving the 5 levels of leadership. As a leader, your actions and behaviors set the tone for the team and can significantly impact team performance and morale.
Here are some ways to lead by example and be a role model for others:
Focusing on continuous learning and personal growth is an important part of achieving the 5 levels of leadership. As a leader, staying current and continuously improving your skills and knowledge is important to be effective in your role.
This can involve seeking learning and development opportunities, reading leadership books and articles, and participating in professional development programs.
Here are some ways to focus on continuous learning and personal growth:
Effective communication is an important part of achieving the 5 levels of leadership. As a leader, it is important to communicate consistently and transparently with your team to foster trust, collaboration, and alignment.
Here are some ways to communicate effectively and transparently with your team:
Being accountable for your actions and the outcomes of your decisions is an important part of achieving the 5 levels of leadership. As a leader, it is important to take responsibility for your actions and be willing to answer for the results of your decisions.
This involves being honest and transparent about your mistakes, acknowledging your areas for improvement, and taking steps to address any issues or challenges.
Here are some ways to be accountable as a leader:
Fostering a positive work culture and environment is an important part of achieving the 5 levels of leadership. A positive work culture can foster collaboration, innovation, and engagement among team members, leading to improved performance and success.
Here are some ways to foster a positive work culture:
Recognizing and celebrating the achievements and contributions of your team is an important part of achieving the 5 levels of leadership.
Acknowledging your team's hard work and dedication can help boost morale, foster a sense of accomplishment, and encourage team members to continue giving their best effort.
Here are some ways to recognize and celebrate the achievements and contributions of your team:
At Highrise, we are all about developing growth-minded professionals in fast-paced industries. Part of this is developing leadership skills important in Leadership and management roles. This encompasses further dwelling into the 5 levels of leadership and how you can grow into each, no matter the leader's position.
Schedule a demo with us and learn how you can make a positive difference in your organization by becoming an effective leader.