The Five Levels of Leadership” by John C. Maxwell

Rating: 4/5

There are so many books on leadership that it can be hard to know where to start! If you are looking for a solid framework on leadership, a way to assess where you are at (the book includes a leadership self-assessment), and a description of what leadership growth and development could look like, then this book might be for you. I love that Maxwell sees leadership as a process, and not a position and that your first leadership role is only just the beginning of your development journey (i.e., it should not be your career end point!). He believes that leaders who don’t take the time to intentionally think about their leadership growth will likely never move beyond level 1. This book defines each leadership level in a practical and snackable way. I appreciated how Maxwell consistently described the upsides and downsides of each level as well as the steps you can take to move through a level. It was a useful framework for specifically thinking about leadership growth and development. My key takeaways:

  • You can move up a level, but you never leave the previous one behind.
  • You are not on the same level with every person you interact with; people will respond to you based on the level of leadership you are at with them.
  • The higher you go the more time and commitment is required to win a level.
  • Moving up a level happens slowly but going down a level can happen quickly!

Oh, and in case you are wondering what the 5 levels are, here you go:

  • Level 1 – Position: people follow you because they have to
  • Level 2 – Permission: people follow you because they want to
  • Level 3 – Production: people follow you because of what you have done for the organization
  • Level 4 – People Development: people follow you because of what you have done for them
  • Level 5 – Pinnacle: people follow you because of who you are and what you represent