Are you struggling with building up your leadership abilities? Do you wish to grow your understanding of leadership? Then John Maxwell’s book, “The 5 Levels of Leadership: Proven Steps to Maximize Your Potential,” is an excellent source to learn from. Maxwell presents his five levels of leadership in an easy to understand paradigm and offers some useful tools for understanding where you fit within the five phases.

Maxwell strategically moves through the levels starting at level 1 and up to 5, detailing the pros and cons of each level as well as the limitations on each level. The author guides you onto a clear path on how to soar up the levels and grow and develop your leadership abilities, ultimately empowering you to take on any leadership position you choose.


Overview of the 5 Levels of Leadership

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Level 1: Position (The Boss)

The position is the lowest level you will find within the 5 levels of leadership presented by John Maxwell, in which your only influence comes from your job title. In other words, position and job title determine and influence one's rights. Therefore, people normally follow because they must do so. You can learn everything related to Level 1 insights. Almost anyone can receive a position, a promotion or a title.

Since it is relatively little to no effort to achieve this level, many individuals may be tempted to stay at this level and choose not to progress any further. However, there are drawbacks to not developing your leadership skills past this level. For example, individuals who are in this position usually have difficulty working with volunteers, younger people, and highly educated individuals.

In other words, they often have trouble developing and maintaining healthy and strong relationships with their team. Sadly, individuals at this level are never true leaders. They are known as bosses. In addition, these individuals tend to be more independent, have subordinates and rely on rules, regulations, policies and organization charts to control their subordinates.


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Level 2: Permission

Unlike being at the position level, the permission level is not only the second level among the 5 levels of leadership, but it bases its main focus entirely on relationships. Meaning that people will follow individuals at this level simply because they want to; not because they have to such as in the first level. The benefit of this level is that you begin to develop a sense of trust and a profound amount of influence when you focus on building a solid, long-lasting relationship with your team or colleagues.

The goal of this level is to not necessarily preserve your position, but to figure out how to work well with your team and to treat them as individuals. Anyone within this level can learn how to develop trust and relationship, and this level requires no special talent. However, keep in mind that this phase requires you to like the people you work with well enough to lead them; and your team must like you well enough to follow.


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Level 3: Production

Production is the third level presented within Maxwell’s 5 levels of leadership. The author characterizes this level by its ability to get things done. Within this level, you learn how to gain considerable influence and credibility over your team members and inspire the productivity within the team you lead. Due to the groundwork set in the previous levels, leaders become proponents of change at this level.

However, with each rise in level comes more responsibility. Leaders at the production level often make difficult decisions that ultimately affect your team as well as the results of goals previously set. On a positive note, level 3 leaders can take effectiveness and productivity to an entirely new level; which is why morale and meeting goals tend to improve at this level.


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Level 4: People Development

Within the 5 levels of leadership, as presented in Maxwell’s book include the fourth level characterized by people development. Those within this level use their position, relationship, and productivity to invest in their followers while also inspiring leadership in others. Teamwork at this level will be highly achievable as well as natural. Your team members will want to work with you because they like and respect you.

Also, performance levels from your team, as well as loyalty, will grow and strengthen automatically. As you grow and develop your leadership abilities within this level, you will change the lives of people they will lead while also building lifelong relationships. High investment into people will deepen the relationship you have with them. Moreover, it will set you up for the final level within Maxwell’s 5 levels of leadership.


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Level 5: Pinnacle

The Pinnacle level is the final level within the 5 levels of leadership. Moreover, it is also the most difficult level of leadership to obtain. This level not only requires skill and effort, but it also requires a large amount of talent.

Those that are naturally gifted leaders can make it to this level. Also, they are often responsible for developing other leaders that reach level 4 leadership abilities. Furthermore, most leaders who reach level 4 tend to not go any further because of the amount of work, time, and talent they need to achieve level 5 abilities.


Summing It Up

To conclude, Maxwell details and outlines his 5 levels of leadership in an easy to understand way. The author organized the book's chapter in chronological order, starting with 1 and ending with 5. So, anyone who wishes to develop and hone their leadership abilities can easily learn to do so with Maxwell’s book as a tool.

The author will guide you through each level of leadership. He will also teach you the steps necessary to grow and develop leadership within yourself as well as within your team members. Give this book a try; it may change the way you approach leadership altogether.


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