John C. Maxwell’s 5 Levels of Leadership

This post is inspired by Demond Crump a global leader in Network Marketing and a call he did on his leadership platform the Coffee Shop Call.


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During the call, Mr. Crump explains how true leadership works and how everyone is a leader in some aspect. The Five Levels of leadership is a must have leadership book by John C. Maxwell an internationally respected leadership expert, speaker, and #1 New York Times bestselling author who has sold more than 18 million books.

Leadership does not come from your title. In fact, being named to a position is only the first and lowest of the five levels every effective leader achieves. To become more than a boss people are required to follow, you must master the ability to inspire and build a team that produces not only results but also future leaders so explains John C. Maxwell’s 5 Levels of Leadership book.


Level 1: Position

This is the entry position on the leadership levels. Here people follow because they have to, not because they want to. People follow because they have to submit to this person. Followers have to adhere to rules, regulations, policies, a boss is a prime example.

The Positional Level did not require and effort or ability—someone simply believed in you and felt that you have leadership potential. At this level the person appointed is basically cracking the whip, it is highly recommended that the leader aims to grow past the level 1 position.



Level 2: Permission

This is now a qualified position being that true effort was put forth. At Level 2 this is the first true step into leadership. Here people follow because they want to not just because they are told to. People are following because the leader is making an effort to relate to them as people and because they feel loved, cared for, valued, included.

At this level, it is relationship, relationship, relationship. A relationship is formed and trust between both parties evolves. This is where your customer service skills come into play and one must practice the golden rule, treat others the way you would want them to treat you.


Level 3: Production
At the Production Level, the true leader emerges. This is where the leader works hard to make things happen and is not just occupying a given position. Now we have people following you because of what you have done as a leader for your organization or industry.

For example, because of the leader’s production and leading by example, people start to follow because of your track record. Many leaders do not move up past Level 2 Permission because they lack the skills, self-discipline, confidence, the work ethic required to step up to Level 3 Production.

Leadership Production creates momentum and is the foundation for team building. The downside to Level 3 is that Leadership Production requires continual attention to Level 2. At Level 3 you still nurturing your relationships while you are working on producing results. Here you are still required to build, maintain and strengthen.

The best way to build at this level is to go do it without others—build it and they will come. Do what you must, to move along, however, do not compromise your following at this level if things are not working for you then be willing to go out on faith that things will work out when you do this you are truly leading by example.



Level 4: People Development

Level 4 Leaders have the ability to empower others. People follow because of what you have done for them, spiritually, financially, mentally, physically—here people start to follow you because of your impact on them personally. A good leader recognizes that people are any organization’s most valuable asset and must transform from producer to developer.

A good leader on Level 4 People Development will invest time, energy, money and thinking into growing their followers and develop them until those followers become leaders in their own right. A result of investing in your followers, reproduction takes place and Level 4 leaders reproduce themselves.

Leaders on the People Development Level of leadership now will undergo a shift, the change goes to putting 80 percent effort to growing and developing leaders and only 20 percent of the leader’s effort is focused on personal productivity. This allows you to lead larger because you are sharing leadership with others—allowing you time freedom, time to concentrate on the most important things.

The People Development of Level 4 can be most personal fulfilling of all the levels since giving to others is one of the greatest satisfactions in life.


Level 5: The Pinnacle

Welcome to the legacy of leadership. This level is quite rear to reach because not only do you have to lead well for a long time but you got to this most difficult level requires that you lead and develop other leaders so that they reach level 4. At this level you, are truly a gifted leader.

This is a level where people follow because of who you are and what you represent. Level 5 Leaders are a cut above the rest, therefore, few leaders make it to this level. Level 5 Leaders often have so much influence allowing them to soar above any organization they work in or any industry they serve.

At Level 5 when others hear that you are involved they simply just want to get involved no questions asked. To arrive at the Pinnacle Leadership Level, you do so by showing that you care and it’s not just about the money. At this Elite Leadership Level followers have come to respect you and your brand. Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, President Barack Obama, Missionary Mother Theresa, he most successful investor in the world Warren Buffet, spiritual and political leader Mahatma Gandhi are some of the few leaders considered as level five leader.



So even if you feel that you are not born a leader we all are leaders in some way. John C. Maxwell’s 5 Levels of Leadership book demonstrates that by being willing to follow the advice in his book and by being willing to work and learn anyone can elevate to higher more fulfilling levels of leadership and have a much greater impact on their team or industry.

Is it possible to become a great leader? Oh yes. It’s about having a true passion-to-serve. It’s about being committed to lead others to attain a common vision and goals through influence.

Maxwell says only leaders can develop other people to become leaders. Nobody really understands leadership until he or she does it. It takes a leader to know a leader, it takes a leader to show a leader and it takes a leader to grow a leader.

What’s your leadership level?


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