I am going to continue on the topic of Leadership. I love to lead people and have been doing it for 25 or more years. There’s nothing more fulfilling than leading people and seeing them grow and become the best version of themselves. Maybe some of you are starting your journey of leadership or perhaps you have been leading for quite some time and recently you have looked over your shoulder and noticed that there is nobody following you. And that might be because you are not a leader, YET.
And then, there’s this question: WHY AREN’T PEOPLE FOLLOWING ME?
It’s because you haven’t located where you are as a leader, you have not located your level of leadership. I am pulling straight from John Maxwell, the leadership guru of all time. And he gives us the gift of identifying 5 Levels of Leadership. If you want to be a leader, have people follow you… you should first identify where you are at. And then attempt to level up in your leadership skills to become the most effective.
Levels of Leadership
This is the lowest level of leadership. This is the only level that does not require any ability or effort to achieve it, in truth. You are a leader because you are given a position. Now, of course you could earn a position. Regardless, positional leadership: people follow you because they have to… you are the boss, your the head honcho, and you are in charge. Positional leadership is following you because they believe they have to, not because they want to. This is often the position when someone gets it and they look over their shoulder and wonder… Why isn’t anyone following me? It is because you are only at the first level of leadership.
YOU DON’T WANT TO STAY THERE… LEVEL UP!
If you are in a position, maybe you are young, just stating and you want people to follow you. What do you do when you’re a positional level leader and you don’t have experience or you’re gaining credibility. You have not had the time to prove yourself just yet. The good news is that the only way to go is up (I mean, I guess you could go down if you drop out of leadership completely). Here’s what I encourage you to do… If you identify with this positional leadership, and you say, “hey, this is where I am at. I have a position, but I haven’t proven myself, I haven’t been tested, I haven’t had enough time…” Here’s how you grow at level 1, you pour into yourself more intentionally than you ever have:
DEMONSTRATE THAT YOU ARE COMMITTED TO YOUR OWN GROWTH
If you are a positional level leader and you’ve got nowhere to go but up!!
Why is it called permission? Because at this level, it is based on one thing: relationship. People are now following you at the second level of leadership because they give you permission to lead. You lead them. They don’t follow because they have to. They follow because they want to. At the second level of leadership, this is where if you read the blog from last week or maybe one of the other weeks, I talked about the five healthy functions of a team and the foundational level is trust. This is it! So you’re not really getting into leading like you would when leading a team until you build that trust.
When you build trust, respect is grown and trust leads to them giving you permission and they will follow you because they want to.
Level three happens because you have proven yourself and produced results. People can look at your leadership and say, “Hey, when that person is leading morale goes up, results go up, revenue goes up and overall people are happier. And on the flip side: paid sick days, excuses and complaints go down.” People want to be on your team, they want to be winners and winners attract winners.
You can be a really good person, but not be good at getting results. If you identify or you know someone who could identify with this statement… “I’m a good person. People love me and they want to be on my team, but there haven’t been results produced…” Again, whatever level you are at, you can level up. Here’s my rule in reading and growth, READ WHAT YOU NEED. If you are not good at building trust, read books: How to Win Friends and Influence People or The Five Dysfunctions of a Team. If you are ready to produce results, start reading books about how to produce results as a leader. You can grow in these skills.
This is when you begin to see the diamonds in the rough, and you see the opportunity to pour in. If you want to sum up this level in one word, it’s reproduction. You begin to reproduce yourself in other people. And you begin to grow the organization. Iff it’s not your own organization, you begin to become an invaluable asset to the greater organization, because you are able to not just do what you do, but reproduce people who do what you do at people development. You can lead leaders. You can lead teams of leaders and you begin to bring massive value to whatever organization you’re a part of. At this level, you don’t lead by doing stuff; you lead by other people doing this stuff and you lead them.
Some call it pinnacle, but I think more aptly personhood leadership. Now, when you, if you want to identify who is a pinnacle level leader, think about a guy like John Maxwell. Think about the founder of your company who’s been leading for 20 years and getting the results people love and people trust. Think about a person. I’m grateful to say I have several of these kinds of people in my life. When they walk into the room, in walks influence and authority and credibility and respect, and people want to honor and serve. That his personhood, when they walk into the room, leadership walks into the room.
Now we’re not all going to get there, but I will tell you if you want to lead it, that kind of level, make it a lifetime journey. There’s no fast track to pinnacle level leadership. But if you’re asking the question, why aren’t people following me? Look at these levels.
Are you just at the beginning?
Are you in positional leadership?
Have people given you permission to lead them?
Are you producing results?
Are you developing people around you?
Maybe someday you can get to that pinnacle of personhood leadership.
Ultimately, you need to identify where you are at in your level of leadership. It’s very possible that you might be a level below the level that you think you’re at. If you’ve got some good people in your life who trust you and love you, and you can be vulnerable with you might ask them, Hey, where do you think I’m at on these five levels of leadership and get some honest feedback that locate where you are currently and where you can grow. Then you can get the tools to move up the levels of leadership. Time to go out there and give our greatness to the world because somebody needs what’s on the inside of you! Go lead them, inspire them, be a person worth following.