John Maxwell’s 5 Levels of Leadership – The 5 Levels You have to Go Through to Become a Better Leader

A great leader is not made overnight. He gains experience over time by learning how to lead people into different situations and challenges. Over time, he gains the respect of his employees and colleagues.

John Maxwell, a leadership author, has developed the 5 Levels of Leadership that helps people see how they grow as a leader. Each level is a stepping-stone to the next one, and moving on to the next level would entail mastery of a previous one.

By using the 5 Levels of Leadership, a manager or a business owner gauge his growth as a leader.

John Maxwell's 5 Levels of Leadership

Read on to find out which level of leadership you’re operating on, and how you can move on to the next level.

1.     Position

At this level, people simply follow you because they have to. The position gives the power to influence other people. Without the job title, people would not follow you. Although it is not per se bad, a good leader should not be comfortable enough to stay in this level. You should strive to grow!

Being a leader means building strong relationships with other people, including employees and other stakeholders of the company. As a leader, developing relationships should always be your goal, not to be followed by subordinates just because you have the authority to have them kicked out of the office.

2.     Permission

Your subordinates follow because they like the direction you are headed. This level is about building relationships with others. It opens up communication, and focuses on the value of each person or employee. If you are at this level of leadership, that means you are beginning to get to know your inner self, and because of that you are starting to learn how to connect with others.

A leader in this level sees that to make a difference, he must be the first one to change. He knows most problems could be solved if he served as an example for others to follow.

 3.     Production

At the production level, a leader recognizes that relationships with others are not enough to get this done. Production level leaders are followed because of what they have done for the business. At this level, the influence comes from the leader’s credibility to get things done. However, we all know that most organizations won’t measure your success a leader through your own contributions.

If you are at this level of leadership, you must use your ability to get things done to spur others in your team. Serve as a good example of hard work by working hard yourself. Let your job title serve as an inspiration, something your team could work hard to achieve one day.

 4.     People Development

A good leader is able to produce and influence other people to be good leaders. People follow leaders at this level because of what they have done for their subordinates or team members. This is the level where a leader’s growth can be sustained, by reproduction. They are able to empower others to follow suit and be leaders, as well.

 5.     Pinnacle

Maxwell said that only about 1% of all leaders reach the Pinnacle of the 5 Levels of Leadership. A leader, at this level, is followed because of who he is, and what he represents. He does not need to gain more followers or more work, because at this stage, he is only concerned of producing and developing other leaders. A Pinnacle leader does not just focus on getting the work done or just fulfilling a company’s vision, but to create more opportunities for other leaders to develop themselves.

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Paul Bailey

Paul is a highly experienced Business Coach, Mentor and Personal Development Specialist. He works with people to enhance business and personal performance through a process of supported self-awareness and self- development. Paul is the Co-Author of the book 80 Tips.