The Five Levels Of Leadership - Level 4: Development




If you gain influence with your team on Levels 1, 2, and 3, people will consider you a fantastic leader. You will get a lot done, and you will be considered successful.

But there are higher levels of leadership, because the greatest leaders do more than just get things done. There are so many different kinds of leaders, both male and female.

They come in all shapes and sizes, ages and degrees of experience, races and nationalities, from genius to average intelligence.

What separates the good from the great? Leaders become great not because of their power but because of their ability to empower others. Success without a successor is ultimately failure.

To create anything lasting, to develop a team or organization that can grow and improve, to build anything for the future, a leader’s main responsibility is to develop other people: to help them reach their personal potential, to help them do their jobsmore effectively, and to help them learn to become leaders themselves. This kind of people development leads to reproduction.

Leaders Become Great Not Because Of Their Power But Because Of Their Ability To Empower Others.

People development has a multiplying effect. Teams and organizations go toa whole new level when leaders begin developing others. One team develops enough leaders to create additional teams.

One division, operation, or location develops enough leaders to create additional ones. Because everything rises and falls on leadership, having more and better leaders always leads to having a better organization.

The People Development level has another positive side effect: loyalty to the leader. People tend to be loyal to the mentor who helps improve their lives.

If you watch a leader develop influence through the levels, you can see how the relationship progresses. On Level 1, the team member has to follow the leader.

On Level 2, the team member wants to follow the leader. On Level 3, the team member appreciates and admires the leader because of what he or she has done for the team.

On Level 4, the team member becomes loyal to the leader becauseof what the leader has done for him or her personally. You win people’s hearts and minds by helping them grow personally.

Not every good leader works to develop influence on Level 4. In fact, most leaders aren’t even aware that Level 4 exists.

They are so focused on their own productivity and that of their team that they don’t realize they should be developing people.

If that describes you, I want to help you. I’ve created some questions you should ask yourself about developing people that can help position you for success on Level 4:

1.Am I Passionate About My Personal Growth?

Only growing people are effective at growing others. If you still have that fire within you, people will feel it around you. I’m seventy years old, and I’m still fixated on growth.

2.Does My Growth Journey Have Credibility?

The first thing people ask themselves when you offer to help them grow is whether you have anything to offer that can help them. The key to that answer is your credibility. In their book The Leadership Challenge, James M.

Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner expound on what they call the Kouzes-Posner First Law of Leadership: If you don’t believe in the messenger, you won’t believe the message. They go on to say of credibility, “Loyalty, commitment, energy, and productivity depend on it.”

3. Are People Attracted to Me Because of My Growth?

People want to learn from leaders they see growing and learning. One year at theLeadership Open, which my nonprofit organization EQUIP hosted at Pebble Beach, many people remarked about the incredible growth they were seeing in Mark Cole, my CEO. That kind of dramatic yet humble growth is very attractive to people.

4. Am I Successful in the Areas Where I Want to Develop Others? 

You cannot give what you do not have. When I develop people, I try to help them primarily in areas where I’m successful: speaking, writing, and leadership.Do you know the areas where I never give advice? Singing. Technology. Golf. Nobody wants to hear what I have to say about these subjects. I’d be wasting their time and mine.

5. Have I Crossed Over the Spend Time / Invest Time Line? 

Most people spend time with others. Few invest time in them. If you want tosucceed at Level 4, you need to become an investor in people. This means adding value but also expecting to see a return on your investment not inpersonal gain but in impact.

The return you’re looking for is in people’s personal growth, the betterment of their leadership, the impact of their work, the value they add to the team and organization.

I learned this lesson at age forty when I realized my time was limited and I could not work any harder or longer than Ialready was. (I’ll tell you more about this in the second lesson.) The only solution was to reproduce myself by investing in others. As they got better, the team got better. And so did I.

6. Do I Have a Teachable Way of Life?

Teachable people are the best teachers. To develop people, I need to remain teachable. That means wanting to learn, paying attention to what I learn, desiring to share what I learn, and knowing with whom to share it.

7. Am I Willing to Be a Vulnerable Role Model and Coach?

Developing people by investing in them doesn’t mean pretending you have all the answers. It means being authentic, admitting what you don’t know as much as what you do know, and learning as much as you can from the people you’re developing. Learning is a two-way street. Continuing to develop myself as I develop others brings me great joy.

8. Do the People I Develop Succeed?

The ultimate goal in developing people is to help them transform their lives. Teaching may help someone’s life improve. True development helps an individual’s life change. How can you tell if that’s happened?

The person you’ve invested in succeeds. Not only is that the greatest sign of transformation, it’s the greatest reward to a leader who develops people.




John C. Maxwell, 10 Lesson Developing The Leader Within You, pg. 28-31



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