Posted in leadership

5 Levels of Leadership

Good leadership isn’t about advancing yourself, it is about advancing your team. Lead people well and help members of your team to become effective leaders, and a successful career path is almost guaranteed.

  • Lowest – Position (The lowest, there is only influence because of the job title. Positional leaders usually have difficulty working with volunteers, young people, and highly educated. Positional leadership is the only level that does not require ability and effort to achieve. Anyone can be appointed to a position.)
  • 2nd – Permission (Based on relationships; people follow you because they want to.)
  • 3rd – Production (Moving up, leaders gain credibility and influence because of results and relationships)
  • 4th – People Development (Leaders become great because of their ability to empower others; using their positions, relationship, and position to invest in others to become leaders.)
  • 5th – Pinnacle (Level 5 leaders develop level 5 organizations; they create a legacy in what they do.

Once you’ve climbed up to higher levels of leadership, the ones below you become your safety net. The more you advance, the more secure you become.

Your effectiveness in getting things done and your ability to work through others is always limited by your leadership level.

Every time you begin a new job or begin with new people, you begin your leadership climb from the beginning. Position leaders are reluctant to start over. For them, leadership is a noun, not a verb; and they don’t want to begin again. There hope is to do it once and be done with it. Good leaders are willing to re-earn their way back up the leadership chain because they understand that life is always about starting over again.

Reference: Maxwell, John C. (2011). The 5 Levels of Leadership: Proven Steps to Maximize Your Potential. New York: Center Street Publishing



Dr. Sheila Embry is a govie, author, pracademician, sister, aunt, cousin, and friend who loves to read, write, think, and laugh. Many of her blog postings are summaries or excerpts of books that she read and wants to share to encourage others. An author with more than 25 years experience within the legislative and executive branches of the U. S. federal government holding 3 accredited degrees: Doctor of Management in Organizational Leadership, Master of Arts in Human Resources Development, and Baccalaureate of Business Administration, she believes in continuing learning both on and off the job. She has been recognized with multiple professional and writing awards for her peer-reviewed, publications. Click the bibliography page above for a listing of all the publications.

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