John C. Maxwell is a bestselling author, coach and motivational speaker with over 24 million books sold. Combined with work and a willingness to learn, John assures readers that his advice can guide anyone to rise to a higher and more effective level of leadership and thus make a greater impact.

The main purpose of the book is to identify and describe the 5 levels of leadership, while helping leaders graduate from one level to the next. The author provides the up and down sides to each level of leadership, the best behaviors and laws of leadership at each level, the guide to growing through each level and the beliefs that help a leader get to the next level. The book explains how Position is the first and lowest level of the 5 levels of leadership in which all effective leaders achieve, but one must master the ability to inspire and build a team that produce results, and most importantly- future leaders.

The book starts off with a leadership assessment to help the reader understand which level of leadership they currently practice. Each section of the book gives further insight into the 5 levels of leadership.

The first and lowest level is Position or Rights: People follow you because they have to. It’s a great place to visit, but you wouldn’t want to live there. The second level is Permission or Relationships: People follow you because they want to. You can’t lead people until you like people. The third level is Production or Results: People follow because of what you have done for the organization. Making things happen separates the real leaders from wannabes. The fourth level is People Development or Reproduction: People follow because of what you have done for them. Helping individual leaders grow extends your influence and impact. The fifth and highest level of leadership is Pinnacle or Respect: People follow you because of who you are and what you represent. The highest leadership accomplishment is developing other leaders to level 4. These leaders are more likely to leave a legacy.

Maxwell has presented an intriguing process in which to become the best leader one can be. Although it will take dedicated application, the 5 Levels of Leadership helps any leader in all parts of their leadership journey. He tells the leader what they can accomplish in each level, and also what they may lose — even if it’s just an attitude or thought pattern. Leadership is a process, not a position.” (Maxwell, 4.) Many leaders get stuck in their position and think they can bark around orders and have a successful running organization. Maxwell lets readers know that position is only the beginning of leadership, and one must build relationships and gain trust. They must produce individually and collectively by training, encouraging and leading by example, and choosing the top 20% of leaders to spend 80% of time and resources on to ensure continued growth and success. Though never judgmental of the leadership level, Maxwell is clear on what it takes to become the best by climbing the ladder from level 1 to 5. He explains that one cannot graduate to the next level without first mastering the previous one; In addition, one can’t operate on a higher level while trying to ignore a lower level. All steps must be completed. He details the process of obtaining a leadership role to maximizing one’s own skills, utilizing others to achieve results, and putting the best team players to work, retaining only the best to lead. He emphasizes throughout the text that the greatest leaders are selfless, releasing individualistic desires for group success as they grow. He does a great job of helping people to realize their strengths and weaknesses through assessment and detailed information about the psychology behind the leader-follower relationship.

I highly recommend leaders of businesses, organizations, sports teams, schools, and of any sort to read and understand the 5 Levels of Leadership. Once you learn on which level you currently reside, you can utilize the information presented in this text to maximize your potential and thus the potential of your business or organization.

References:
John C. Maxwell. 5 Levels of Leadership: Proven Steps to Maximize Your Potential Hachette Book Group, 2011. Print.

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