Personal Growth

john-maxwell-5-levels-of-leadershipJohn Maxwell: The 5 Levels Of Leadership Explained & Evaluated  I’ve talked with you before about what it takes to be a leader, and how to embody the spirit of leadership that will inspire others to want to work beside you and do great things. Today, I’d like to introduce you to what John Maxwell calls The 5 Levels of Leadership, and offer you important insight into moving up the ranks of leadership, to the become the most influential leader that you can be.

John Maxwell is a leadership expert, speaker, author, and coach who mentors on an international level, and has sold more than 19 million books on the topic of leadership. He is the founder of EQUIP and the John Maxwell Company, 2 organizations that train millions of leaders worldwide.

Each year, Maxwell speaks to Fortune 500 companies, United States Military academies like West Point, international government leaders, members of the NFL, and many other organizations in search of effective leadership skills – even the United Nations!

More than 30 years ago, Maxwell put in motion early efforts at developing The 5 Levels of Leadership, which is finally available in-depth in book form on and as a comprehensive video on YouTube. The 5 Levels of Leadership express Maxwell’s ideas for understanding and organizing your leadership growth.


In the book, Maxwell presents 5 integral levels of leadership that build upon one another, and he argues that you can only progress to the next level when you have mastered the current one. As you gain more insight, knowledge, and skills, and go higher on the leadership ladder, your influence grows and your leadership becomes naturally more service oriented.

Maxwell is quick to convey the message that the possibility of going down levels in leadership is real, so it is mission critical for you to forge the right kind of relationships with others to support you in any missteps that may occur.

In The 5 Levels of Leadership, Maxwell says that it takes longer for leaders to get to the Pinnacle than they may realize, and that patience and perseverance are absolutely required to get to this highest level.

Understanding the Characteristics of the Maxwell’s 5 Levels of Leadership :

  • POSITION. Maxwell’s 5 Levels of Leadership begin at the first level, Position. At this early level, he says that people follow you because they have to. You are influential because of your Position, or because of a title that you hold. You may have received your leadership position because of your potential, but you must commit yourself to becoming an influential leader to stay there. To move up from this level, you must realize that leadership is about relationships, so choose them wisely and cultivate them carefully.
  • PERMISSION. The second level of leadership is Permission. At this level of leadership, people follow you because they want to. You reach this level of leadership because of your efforts at developing relationships, communicating effectively with others, and offering a connection that begins with growing yourself first. This level of leader understands that he or she is responsible for his own actions and choices, and owns the results of his or her decisions.
  • PRODUCTION. Leaders who have reached the leadership level of Production realize that while it’s great to form meaningful and powerful working relationships, a leader also must get things done. A leader must set goals and reach them, provide tangible, positive results for their organization, and see that the entire group is meeting deadlines and producing. To get to the next level of leadership, you must be able to train and manage a team of producers.
  • PEOPLE DEVELOPMENT. The fourth level of leadership is focused on empowering others to become leaders themselves. Leaders are considered great because they develop a team of fellow leaders, which assures growth and positive results can be maintained for an organization. Leaders who reach this level are confident, self-assured, and willing to let others share in the role of leadership.
  • PINNACLE. The Pinnacle level of leadership is just as it sounds; the ultimate level of leadership that leaders and potential leaders should strive for if they wish to truly influence the world to greatness. Leaders at this level know that their task is beyond gaining followers at this point. A leader at the Pinnacle level is concerned with developing leaders that can create more leaders, which takes a life-long determination of focus, skill, and commitment. Level 5 leaders create opportunities on a grand scale. People choose to follow leaders at the Pinnacle level because of where they lead and what they represent.

As you go through John Maxwell’s 5 Laws of Leadership, in book form, on video, or in your own life’s experience, remember that the most important theme in Maxwell’s approach to leadership is personal growth, which is all about getting into the mindset of inspiring others toward a greater good by working on yourself first.

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