Maxwell’s 5 Levels of Leadership

The Best 30 Minutes You'll Spend This Week

Leadership is a subject about which you can never know enough.

One of the best concepts about leadership comes from none other than leadership expert John Maxwell, who presents a view of leadership that one might liken to an elevator with multiple levels.

elevator with 5 levels

I recently came across a great video of Maxwell speaking about his concept of The 5 Levels of Leadership at the 2013 Chick-Fil-A Leadercast, an annual leadership conference hosted by the company. This is really good.

Before showing you the video, let’s take a moment to review the 5 Levels of Leadership to learn what Maxwell is talking about. 

The Five Levels of Leadership

  • Level 1: Position – This is where you are a leader by virtue of position (i.e., you’re the boss). People must follow you, so that’s the extent of your leverage with them.
  • Level 2: Permission –This is when people want to follow you, and they believe in you.
  • Level 3: Production – This means you can motivate those you lead to produce results. You’re creating success for the organization.
  • Level 4: People Development – At this level, you developing the people you lead and empowering new leaders.
  • Level 5: Pinnacle – This is the most difficult level to achieve. People don’t just follow you at this level because of any technical or practical reason, but because of who you are. These leaders create new leaders who, themselves, create leaders themselves.

That’s a brief summary of an excellent book that I may review in full at some point in the future. Keep these levels in mind as you watch the video and consider what it takes to grow to being a Level 5 leader.

Presentation at Chick-Fil-A

Now, that said, put 30 minutes aside and watch this video of Maxwell presenting the 5 Levels to the Chick-Fil-A conference in 2013. I promise it’s worth the small investment of time.

Here it is:

Question: What qualities do you feel are important in a great leader? Leave a comment below!