Leadership is influence. That's it. Nothing more. Nothing less.
The Five Levels of Leadership
Through his years in leadership and the business of leadership, Maxwell has created a model reflecting the various levels of leadership. He has also created a teaching tool to assist others in understanding their levels of leadership so they can increase their levels of influence.
Level 1: Position
We covered this level last time. This is the basic entry level of leadership. The only influence you have is that which comes with a title. People who stay at this level get into territorial rights, protocol, tradition, and organizational charts.
We will take a brief look at the next four levels of leadership ....
Level 2: Permission
Fred Smith says, "Leadership is getting people to work for you when they are not obligated." People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care. Leadership begins with the heart, not the head. It flourishes with a meaningful relationship, not more regulation.
On this level, time, energy, and focus are placed on the individual's needs and desires. People who are unable to build solid, lasting relationships will soon discover that they are unable to sustain long, effective leadership.
Caution! Don't try to skip a level. The most often skipped level is 2, Permission. Relationships involve a process that provides the glue and much of the staying power for long-term, consistent production.
Level 3: Production
On this level things begin to happen, good thing. Profit increases. Morale is high. Turnover is low. Needs are being met. Goals are being realized. Accompanying this growth is the "big mo" - momentum. Everyone is results-orientated. In fact, results are the main reason for the activity.
This is a major difference between levels 2 and 3. On the "relationship" level, people get together jus to get together. There is no other objective. On the "results" level, people come together to accomplish a purpose.
Level 4: People Development
How do you spot a leader?
There is a clue: Since some people are mediocre, the true leader can be recognized because somehow his people consistently demonstrate superior performances.
A leader is great, not because of his or her power, but because of his or her ability to empower others. Success without a successor is failure. A worker's main responsibility is developing others to do the work.
Loyalty to the leader reaches its highest peak when the follower has personally grown through the mentorship of the leader.
The core of leaders who surround you should all be people you have personally mentored or helped to develop in some way.
The following suggestions will help you become a people developer:
- Walk slowly through the crowd.
- Learn names.
- Make yourself available for communication and conversation.
- Visit member of your crew during the shift.
- Develop key leaders.
- Communicate with the influencers within your crew.
- They will pass on to the others what you have given them.
Very few people will ever achieve this level, so Maxwell chooses not to discuss it just yet. Later, perhaps. Here are some additional insights on climbing the steps of leadership:
- The higher you go, the longer it takes.
- The higher you go, the higher the level of commitment.
- The higher you go, the easier it is to lead.
- The higher you go, the greater the growth.
- You never leave the base level.
- If you are leading a group of people, you will not be on the same level with everyone.
- For your leadership to remain effective, it is essential that you take the other influencers within the group with you to the higher levels.
Donald G Rosenbarger
Senior Vice President
Delta Companies Inc