I am attending the 2011 Chick-fil-A Leadercast today where more than 85,000 people are participating world-wide. I will be posting summaries of the speakers over the next several days.

Here is the first post from John Maxwell’s talk this morning.

John Maxwell

Leadership Expert & Best-Selling Author of The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership

John spoke this morning on The Five Levels of Leadership from the new book he is writing that will be released under the same title in October of this year.

Here are the highlight of his talk.

5 Levels of Leadership

1. Position Level

2. Permission Level

3. Productivity Level

4. People Development Level

5. Pinnacle Level


  • Everything rise and falls on leadership
  • Leadership is influence
  • If you increase your influence you increase your leadership
  • Leadership and influence are the same
  • Teach people how to increase their influence then they will increase their level of leadership
  • Leadership is verb not a noun, it is an action word, leadership is action.

Level 1-Position Level-this is where people follow us only due to our position in the organization.

  • We all start here, bottom level
  • Least amount of influence at this level
  • Follow due to position
  • It is here where you just became a leader, you got a position, now what
  • Many people come to me telling me they just became a leader, I know what they really mean is that they just got a position and thus think they have instantly become a leader.

The position does not make you a leader!

  • This is where we shape and define ourselves as leaders, where we learn and identify our abilities in the leadership arena.
  • Downside: the people who follow you will give you the least amount of their energy, trust,  devotion, time, ability and minds.

People don like to follow people because they have to!

  • These followers,  follow you just do so to get paid

What does a level 1 organization look like?

  • With the Level 1 leadership you will find people who are doing these activities at the end of the day:  At 4:30 everyone is clearing desk, 4:45 saying goodbyes, at 5:00 don’t want to be incumbered by anything, no personal relationship stuff on personal time,  4:50 going to restroom, must pee on company time, 4:55  changing shoes, at 5:00 everybody is gone!
  • How can people leave so fast? In organizations where positional leadership is in place people are careful with how they park,  they back in so they can get out of their fast.

Why am I not getting the best out of my people?  This is because of you are still at Level 1 displaying Positional Leadership!

Level 2-Permission Level: The key word at this level is relationships.  People follow you because they want to!

  • You have connected with your people
  • You like them and they like you
  • You are a supervisor that people like
  • Many in these positions are not likable
  • It is tough being in people business and have people not like you
  • Leadership is influence
  • Hard to influence someone if they don’t like you

3 Key Practices to Level 2 Leadership

  1. Listen-walk slowly thru crowd and hear what your people are saying.
  2. Observe-conscious of your teams members, understand who they are, how they think, what their strengths and weaknesses are.
  3. Learning-Leaders are learners, you must be learning and growing in order to become someone worthy of being followed.

Level 2 Leaders begin to display an attitude of Servanthood, they are becoming people who love to serve!

Level 3-Productivity Level

  • At this level you start to become an effective as a leader
  • Produce results at this level
  • Produce by example

People do what people see!

Too many leaders are like travel agents telling people to go where they have never been themselves!

  • As a leader you must be continually modeling things.
  • This is where you are becoming productive as a leader.
  • Here you become attractive to productive people

Law of Magnetism=We attract people who are like we are, not what we want!

  • Do you possess those qualities that you desire?
  • Who you are as a leader are the people you attract?

The more you grow, the easier it becomes to lead!

  • This is level where many of your problems are solved
  • Your problem is not your problem, not having momentum on your side is actually the problem.

Leaders create momentum!

Momentum is a problem solver!

  • Momentum and Level 3 leadership solves 80% of your problems

Prior to level 3 you spend much of your time solving problems

Level 4-People Development Level-the critical practice at this level is your ability as a leader to reproduce yourself in others by intentionally developing your people.

  • Most important asset to organization is your people
  • Leaders grow their organizations by growing their people
  • As your people  increase their capacity, the capacity of organization grows.

Keys to Great People Development

1. Recruitment-better person you bring in the more you can do with them

  • 80% of you success in equipping is in the front door, on who you bring
  • Must have the clear picture of what you are looking for.
  • Qualities
  • Character

2.  Positioning-put in the right place( Jim Collins, Good to Great, Bus illustration, right people on the bus in the right seats)

  • This is huge part of your success in developing your people!
  • Successful people have always positioned themselves well, put themselves in the positions where their strengths are.
  • Successful people are always working in their strength zone.
  • Successful leaders position other leaders well
  • They place their team members in positions to be successful by putting in  a position that fits their strengths.
  • Always observing other people and learning what they do well and don’t do well (see above about walking slowly through the crowd, your people, listening and observing them and learning about who they are)
  • Basketball scrimmage illustration: His high school coach always started year off by holding a scrimmage between the 1st and 2nd teams.  He always had the 1st team play out of position, eg, center play point guard and vice versa. He then had 2nd team play their natural positions. The 2nd team always beat the 1st team in this situation.
  • Having team members playing out of position weakens your team and frustrates them because they can’t be successful in such a situation.

If you are out of position you will never reach your full potential!

 Essential to Equipping Your Team Members Well

  1. I do it alone.
  2. I do it and you are with me. (you are watching me and learning from me)
  3. You do it and I am with you. (watching you and tweaking, fine tuning you, coaching you along the way, developing you)
  4. You do it alone, you don’t need me anymore.
  5. You do it and do it with somebody else.
Compounding begins when you have trained somebody who has trained somebody!
Level 5-Pinnacle Level-(Respect Leadership) At this level you have done so well with so many for so long that you are followed and respected just because of who you are.

People follow you just because of who you are!

  • Leadership is an always ongoing journey, it is always a learning process.

Take Home Exercise: Take  the people who you lead, put their names down, and then score yourself with each one of your people and determine what level you are on with each one.

  • This will enable you to know how to lead them.

Your people don’t see you from your perspective. Your people’s view of you and your directions is seen from the perspective of where they are on the leadership level grid.  Their reactions will each be different depending on where they are on the leadership level grid. You must take this into consideration as you lead and develop them.

  • Their reactions will vary according to their perspectives
  • Leadership is influence, increase your influence and then you increase your leadership
  1. Don Hornsby says:

    Thanks for posting notes. It was a great day.

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