I enjoy John Maxwell’s leadership books. A friend gave me The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership when I graduated MBA school and I’ve been hooked ever since. Imagine how thrilled I was to hear Maxwell recently on the Chick-Fil-A Leadercast. The live event was held in Atlanta May 6. I was in the Tri-Cities at the fourth largest simulcast location in the country. What resonated as Maxwell spoke about his five levels of leadership is that, “Leadership is influence. Influence people and increase your leadership.” Then he asked us to draw out five stair steps as he talked through each of the five levels of leadership. As you read, think about where you are on the levels.

1- Positions: “Rights” You’re the boss. People have to follow you. He amusingly spoke of organizations that are run by people with “positions.” They’re the kind where everyone has their running shoes on at 4:45 because they will be sprinting out the door at 5 pm.

2- Permission: “Relationships” People follow you because they want to. You’ve connected with them. He notes that you cannot influence someone that you antagonize. Keys here: listen well, observe, learn.

Have an attitude of servanthood. “Be a tour guide, not a travel agent,” says Maxwell. He adds,  “we attract who we are, not who we want.”

3- Production: “Results” help the bottom line. You produce, lead by example and gain momentum.

4- People development: “Reproduction” Successful leaders position others well. You recruit well, position well, equip well. You can come alongside others and help to develop and train them.

5- Pinnacle: “Respect” You’ve done so well with so many, that people follow you.

Maxwell adds, “leadership is ongoing learning.”

Where are you on this chart? Where would the people you lead say that you are?

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