In an article published in The Last Days Newsletter in 1986 a story is told by Leonard Ravenhill that a group of tourists visiting a picturesque village saw an old man sitting by a fence. In a rather
patronizing way, one of the visitors asked, “Were any great men born in this village?” Without looking up the old man replied, “No, only babies.”
Isn’t that true? The greatest men were once babies. The greatest leaders were once toddlers. But the question is how does one develop into a great leader? What steps should one take? Are their special traits or principles that once acquired and practiced can make one move from being a mere follower to a great leader?
John Maxwell’s book Developing a Leader Within You answers these questions with a resounding yes. The book focuses on helping the reader learn how to lead. John says everyone can become a leader. He defines leadership as influence. It is the ability to obtain followers. He writes:
“He who thinketh he leadeth and hath no one following him is only taking a walk
Five levels of leadership
Great leaders take their influence from the basic level based on position or rank to the highest influence of personal-hood. If your power to influence is derived from appointed position or authority only, then you are at the foot of leadership. You are at the door to leadership because you cannot influence people beyond your stated position. John emphasizes:
“Real leadership is being the person others will gladly and confidently follow”
If you have developed relationship with your followers and you are able to discover and addressed their needs, you have moved to the second level of leadership called permission. Here your followers work for you gladly without being obligated. John repeates:
“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. Leadership begins with the heart, not the head”
The third level of leadership is called production. This is the level where you and your team are producing results and everyone is motivated to achieve more. Everyone is result oriented.
The fourth level is people development. Leaders who have achieved this level spend a great of time developing their followers. Here the people follow the leader because of loyalty. Why? You win people’s hearts by helping them grow personally. How much time are you spending on empowering your followers? John reminds us:
“A leader is great, not because of his or her power, but because of his or her ability to empower others. Success without a successor is failure”
The highest level of leadership is personhood. Here people follow you because of what you are and what you represent. It is not easily attained and those who achieve this level are large than life.
What leadership level you are now? Position, Permission, Production, People development or personhood? I would like to know.
In the next post, we will discuss John Maxwell’s nine principles of leadership? Here are the top five questions we will answer?
• What is the key to leadership?
• What is the most important ingredient of leadership?
• What is the ultimate test of leadership?
• What is the quickest way to gain leadership
• What is the price tag of leadership