I came up with the idea of five distinct levels of leadership many years ago, and first described the concept in a book in Developing the Leader Within You. Making the shift from Position to Permission brings a person’s first real step into leadership. When people feel liked, cared for, included, valued, and trusted, they begin to work together with their leader and each other.
Production qualifies and separates true leaders from people who merely occupy leadership positions. Good leaders on Level 4 invest their time, energy, money, and thinking into growing others as leaders. Like his books, all of John Maxwell’s leadership development and personal growth articles are easy to understand and easy to implement. Levels of Leadership, 5 Leadership Levels, 5 Levels of Leadership, Maxwell Levels of Leadership -In my opinion - the most powerful Leadership Model. Along with the 5 Levels of Leadership came a new definition of Leadership – that Leadership is Influence. Chris Fuller is by far one of the most effective speakers I have had the pleasure of listening to. I have always been keen student on the topic of leadership as corporate executive and entrepreneur. The model as described by Jim Collins in his book “Good to Great” gives you some insights on the 5 levels of leadership. This entry was posted in Corporate Executives, Entrepreneur, Leadership and tagged 5 levels of leadership, Behaviors, Good to Great, Jim Collins, Motivators, Personal Talent Assessments.


And in 2011, I devoted an entire book, The 5 Levels of Leadership, to exploring the levels – their upsides, downsides, the best behaviors for that level, the beliefs that help a leader move up to the next level, and how the level relates to the Laws of Leadership.
Leadership is influence, and when a leader learns to function on the Permission level, everything changes.
The ability to create a high-productivity team, department, or organization indicates a higher level of leadership ability than most others display. Not only is leadership at this level a culmination of leading well on the other four levels, but it also requires both a high degree of skill and some amount of natural leadership ability.
For direct access to new leadership articles each month, subscribe to John's blog, John Maxwell on Leadership. Your ability to influence others is a huge part of being successful not only in business, but life.
This means that position is a fine starting point, but every leader should aspire to grow beyond Level 1.
But to reach the upper levels of leadership that create elite organizations, leaders must transition from producers to developers. Leaders on the People Development level of leadership shift their focus from the production achieved by others to the development of their potential. It takes a lot to be able to develop other leaders so that they reach Level 4; that’s what Level 5 leaders do. Leadership at this high level lifts the entire organization and creates an environment that benefits everyone in it, contributing to their success. For permission to reprint or reproduce any content in these articles please complete this Copyright Permission Form.


One of the simplest definitions of Leadership, as defined by John Maxwell, is influence or the ability to get followers.
They rely on rules, regulations, policies, and organization charts to control their people.
When that is the case, it’s usually because they lack the self-discipline, work ethic, organization, or skills to be productive. And they put only 20 percent of their focus on their personal productivity while putting 80 percent of it on developing and leading others.
The individuals who reach Level 5 lead so well for so long that they create a legacy of leadership in the organization they serve. Level 5 leaders often possess an influence that transcends the organization and the industry the leader works in. Not only are they productive individually, but they also are able to help the team produce. This can be a difficult shift for highly productive people who are used to getting their hands dirty, but it’s a change that can revolutionize an organization and give it a much brighter future. With gratitude and humility, they should lift up as many leaders as they can, tackle as many great challenges as possible, and extend their influence to make a positive difference beyond their own organization and industry. Either you’re producing for the organization and adding to its bottom line (whatever that may be), or you’re not.



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