Sunday, April 29, 2018

The 5 Levels of Leadership: Proven Steps to Maximize Your Potential Paperback , 2013 by John C. Maxwell (Center Street)

John Maxell’s book, The Five Levels of Leadership, is an invaluable resource for organizations, ministries, families, and individuals seeking growth and development. Maxwell’s keen insights into the different levels of leadership, how to develop one’s self and others in each level, and the poignant personal evaluations for each reader are some of the reasons this book is priceless for everyone.

Maxwell begins with the premise that the purpose of leadership is to produce more leaders and to help each person move toward the highest level of achievement they can reach. Then he lists and explains the five levels of leadership that he has seen and experienced. They are first leadership by position, the lowest, weakest, least helpful, most self-centered form of leadership. The second level is leadership by permission, the first level of leadership which can only be earned. It is this second level which make the following three levels possible. The third level of leadership is production as a result of the respect earned in level 2. The fourth level of leadership is people development as a result of productivity. Finally, the fifth level of leadership is the pinnacle of leadership – that level when your leadership extends its influence beyond your own reach.

The fascinating value of this book is that Maxwell presents the information in such a manner that, though it is geared to positions of leadership within an organization, the principles it teaches are obviously intended for everyone’s personal development. The book banks on character, morals, and sound ethics. These principles are priceless for individuals of any society and in any relationship. One doesn’t need to hold a position of leadership in order to be a leader. In fact, Maxwell makes this point very clear when he advises that supervisors should promote the leaders present instead of attempting to make a leader out of the person they just promoted. Additionally, if every husband and wife utilized the information taught in this book, it would vastly improve their marriage through empowering each other and increasing mutual respect and trust. If parents would utilize the principles in this book, their children would potentially have a much greater relationship with their parents and other authority figures, have a healthier self-image, and live more productive, gratifying lives.

The Five Levels of Leadership should be required reading in every high school, college, pre-marital, marital, and parenting class. Of course, it should also be required yearly reading for every employee, volunteer, and public leader. The true value of the five levels is the outward focus the levels create, always seeking to help grow others and base one’s level of success on how well others succeed. It is a book of servant leadership – a counter paradigm to the “dog-eat-dog” world that often characterizes corporate America as well as the private lives of most cultures. The greatest internal recommendation for this book is in the author’s own words, “...there is no better way to increase your positive impact on the world and add value to others than to increase your leadership ability.” What better reason could one give for reading a book on leadership?

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