Jan 24, 2024
John C. Maxwell’s 5 Levels of Leadership

John C. Maxwell’s “5 Levels of Leadership” provides a framework for understanding and developing leadership skills, progressing through distinct stages. Let’s delve into each level:

1. Positional Leadership (Level 1):

Overview: At this basic level, leadership is based on the title or position one holds. People follow because they have to, not necessarily because they want to.


– Limited influence.

– Relies on authority.

– Minimal trust from team members.

Example:A newly appointed manager leading a team due to their job title, but team members may not be fully committed.


2. Permission Leadership (Level 2):

Overview: Leadership is built on relationships and trust. Leaders at this level focus on creating a positive environment and connecting with team members personally.



– Builds relationships.

– Listens and values input.

– Begins to earn trust.

Example: A supervisor who fosters a supportive work culture, listens to team members, and encourages collaboration.


3. Production Leadership (Level 3):

Overview: Leadership is based on results and the ability to accomplish tasks. This level involves proving one’s competence and effectiveness.


– Emphasis on achievement.

– Demonstrates competence.

– Gains respect through performance.

Example: A team leader who consistently delivers successful projects, gaining credibility and respect from team members.


4. People Development (Level 4):

Overview: Leadership shifts from focusing solely on personal achievement to developing and empowering others. The leader becomes a mentor and coach.


– Invests in team members’ growth.

– Encourages and empowers others.

– Builds a leadership pipeline.

Example: A manager who actively mentors and develops their team members, fostering an environment of continuous learning and growth.


5. Pinnacle Leadership (Level 5):

Overview: The highest level of leadership where the focus is on developing leaders who, in turn, develop other leaders. The leader’s influence extends beyond their immediate team or organization.


– Creates a legacy of leadership.

– Develops leaders at all levels.

– Leaves a lasting impact on the organization.

Example: A visionary CEO who not only leads their company successfully but also actively contributes to leadership development in the industry, leaving a lasting legacy.


Understanding and progressing through these levels helps leaders grow and adapt, ultimately fostering more effective and impactful leadership.


About the Author

1000X Results Coaching Programme

Felix A. Duyilemi is the author of the Award-winning book, “How to Borrow God’s Brain to Succeed” and other top-rated books and has giving more than  5000 talks on subjects ranging from Success Ideation, Mindset, Leadership and Potential Maximization. His latest book is “How to Monetize Your Brain.”

When he’s not learning, or coaching or speaking, he’s at home enjoying the company of his amazing family!

Reach him at [email protected]

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