The Five Levels Of Leadership

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Acquiring leadership skills improves leaders’ competency and earning potential, builds and sustains relationships within the organization and improves particular professional capabilities. Different ideas and theories of leadership have been developed to enable aspiring managers to comprehend the process and strategies of developing and strengthening quality leadership at the workplace.

One notable theory entails the Five Levels of Leadership developed by John Maxwell. This theory offers a roadmap for progressing from the first novel and non-influential leadership level to the last pinnacle of leadership. The levels illustrated by Maxwell are significant as they dictate the strength of network built in an industry, the extent of a leader’s influence, the chances of improving productivity, acquisition of leadership skills and success and the development of rapport with organizational members.

Furthermore, this theory does not entirely focus on moving from one level to another, since they all complement and build on each other each as a leader gradually improvestheir leadership skills. According to Maxwell’s theory, the five main levels of leadership encompasses position, permission, production, people development and pinnacle.
Level 1: Position
Position is the first level of leadership, and individuals follow leaders in this stage because they occupy managerial positions, and not necessarily due to their influence. In particular, persons who commence managerial jobs have positional power; hence influence their employees based on company regulations, rules, policies and rules. Leaders at this stage may not possess influential leadership qualities, and primarily inform their followers’ actions based on the authority they derive from their positions (Maxwell, 2011).

Furthermore, some supervisors and managers who fail to develop and improve on their leadership qualities at this stage can maintain this level for the rest of their tenure.

Mastering the position level helps in preparing leaders for the next level—permission. For instance, leaders can strive to comprehend management skills, concentrate on fostering their emotional intelligence, conform to their employees’ individual necessities and practice situational leadership. Additionally, leaders at the position stage should be empathetic to their followers, collaborate with employees, become more approachable, and frequently communicate employee appreciation and recognition(Wohllebe et al., 2022).

What’s more, it is essential to receive and deliver constructive feedback to aid progress, facilitate appropriate team communication to effectively perform tasks, and demonstrate an accepting attitude to elevate team motivation.Besides, performing these actions helps leaders at this level to grow, bearing in mind that individuals in high positions are not automatically quality leaders, and that their performance emanate from the effort and energy invested by their employees.

Level 2: Permission
In the second stage of leadership, individuals follow leaders because they are willing, and not due to any form of authority or compulsion. Employees therefore begin to follow their leaders as a matter choice. Leaders at this level get followed because their followers esteem the dynamics they share with them and value their leadership efficacy (Maxwell, 2011).

Additionally, this leadership level underscores the significance of fostering interpersonal connections to facilitate influence. Consequently, leaders supersede the constraints of authority and rely on developing good relationships.

Leaders at Level 2 need to perform particular actions to motivate employees to willingly follow them. For instance, they should concentrate on developing and communicating a clear mission and vision.

Additionally, listening to employees and comprehending their desires and preferences improves their loyalty. Managers should constantly observe the current location and actions of their workers to create a strong bond and relationship with them. Furthermore, transparent leaders uphold strong relationships with their employees, hence discussing key performance indicators (KPI) with them makes them feel as part of the goal-setting process and facilitates their loyalty (Wohllebe et al., 2022).

Besides, strong relationships can be fostered by frequently asking for feedback to gauge the employees’ perceptions and dissatisfactions, encouraging team members to support each other, weighing the consequences of their decisions on others, handling all workers equally, and holding employees accountable to their actions without prejudice. This helps in bolstering their influence in the organization.
Level 3: Production
Leaders at the production stage focus on getting things done and improving the productivity of their employees. In particular, production leaders deliver positive outcomes and develop notable impacts on their organizations’ progress (Wohllebe et al., 2022).

In this view, they can motivate their employees, engage in conflict resolution and offer appropriate advice, having gained their followers’ permission and loyalty. Considering that production leaders have developed excellent connections with the followers, they can rely on them to deliver commendable results. Besides, these leaders possess various leadership qualities, and can acquire more by maintaining their urge to improve and sustain employees’ productivity.

Leaders at the production level transform into change agents, in which they help attain goals, reduce turnover, improve profits, bolster employees’ morale, and get work done (Maxwell, 2020). The more leaders produce, the more they are able to overcome adversities and counter challenging issues affecting their organizations. Besides, by leading and influencing their employees, production leaders helptheir organizations to improve economically and promotes unity among the employees. Also, improving the workers’ skills and upholding consistent communication improves the efficacy of production leaders.

Furthermore, production leaders can master Level 3 in various ways. For instance, they can ensure that all workers are well-trained, embrace employees’ perceptions during decision making, listenand offerdirections, incorporate the emergent technologies and modifications in the industry and contemplate on the best approaches of fostering connections necessary for employees to feel empowered and engaged (Maxwell, 2020). This enables the production leaders to make individuals to desire and respect them for their technical skills, charisma and personality.
Level 4: People Development
Transformative leaders focus on nurturing their employees to become future leaders. In particular, people development leaders channel their finances, time and energy in improving the leadership skills of their followers.

According to Maxwell (2011), leaders at this stage spend 20% of their time on personal productivity and 80% on coaching their followers to become competent leaders. People development primarily entails reproduction, whereby leaders create a conducive environment for elevating their followers to occupy future leadership positions and emulate their learned management styles. Furthermore, the goal at this stage is to identify and create numerous leaders by investing in them and fostering a growth in their leadership skills.

Organizations that have more leaders can efficiently accomplish their missions. Individuals are likely to follow others when they acknowledge that their careers will advance due to the capabilities of the leaders.

The people development level encompasses different steps. The first step of people development entails leaders performing necessary skills independently while the employees observe (Maxwell, 2020). Afterward, the leader can carry out the tasks but tag the workers to perform them alongside him. The leader then operates as mentor by guiding their followers to independently perform the tasks, then helps them to master the learned skills. The final step encompasses instructing employees to perform the mastered skills alongside their colleagues to enable them share their knowledge and teach each other—thereby developing more leaders.

In this view, leaders focus beyond their immediate motivations and desires at this stage. When they develop more leaders, their legacy in the organization becomes imminent even after vacating their positions. This legacy is manifested in the type of leaders that the people development leaders create, the talent they train and the individuals they mentor.

To occupy higher leadership positions and master level 4, it is essential for leaders to create room for continual improvement and assist others to become leaders. Additionally, people development leaders create new managers by developing mentorship programs in which workers comprehend how to lead before getting into leadership positions. Furthermore, practicing delegation creates more leaders (Wohllebe et al., 2022). In particular, managers can assign managerial functions to upcoming leaders, which enables them to get additional time to identify and nurture more leaders.

People development leaders need to be easy to speak to, inclusive, honest and consistent. Furthermore, managers can create more leaders by recommending their workers for promotions, making fair decisions, willingly communicating to their teams on any issues and making clear their anticipations for employees’ functions early enough. Besides, people development leaders need to assist their former workers to improve their careers. This is because leaders at this level mentor skills in their team that last beyond the prevailing scope of functions. butterfly earrings
Level 5: Pinnacle
Pinnacle is the last level of leadership in which persons get followed based on their qualities and earned reputation. The pinnacle of leadership entails attaining a lasting respect obtained from the success of the leaders one has developed and mentored. Besides mentoring workers, pinnacle leaders possess the capability to assist others get to the people development stage to turn into excellent leaders themselves (Maxwell, 2011). These leaders escalate the reputations of their businesses— motivating the most innovative and talented persons to join their organizations.

Furthermore, pinnacle leaders majorly carry out workshops focused on leadership and workshops, coaching managers who will attain success themselves and further mentor the succeeding generation. In this level, leaders attain their success through the prosperity of the followers they mentor, which involves developing an emergent crop of leaders better than their mentors. Consequently, the attainment of pinnacle leadership is propagated by the selfless urge to mentor other individuals and not through individual ambitions.

Pinnacle leaders at level 5 carry out various functions alongside mentoring employees. For instance, they facilitate productivity by making any department or team successful, foster a climate that assists all employees and propel their success and elevate the reputations of companies (Maxwell, 2020). Additionally, pinnacle leaders keep their promises and exhibit prosperity, handle everyone with respect and with equality, and influence persons outside their companies.

The pinnacle of leadership can also be marked by leading individuals to attain excellent results and produce innovative products, permit their followers to make independent decisions, act ethically and exhibit honesty. Besides, leaders need to be adaptive to the changing market conditions and business necessities to maintain their pinnacle level.
In conclusion, Maxwell’s theory establishes that attaining pinnacle of leadership encompasses going through the five levels which complement each other. These levels encompass position, permission, production, people development and pinnacle. Leaders therefore progress from the first positional leadership in which they posses no reasonable leadership qualities and are not influential to pinnacle leadership where they transcend their industry, organization and position.
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  1. Maxwell, J. C. (2011). The 5 Levels of Leadership: Proven Steps to Maximize Your Potential. Center Street.
  2. Maxwell, J. C. (2020). Level up: keep climbing and conquer the 5 levels of leadership. Success, 32-34.
  3. Wohllebe, A., Gotz, A., Diez, E., Hoang, U. T., Radtke, U., Adam, D., Hammerstrom, L. (2022). Organizational Behavior and Leadership Theory in Practice. Hungarian University of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

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