Key to Leadership

LEADERSHIP IS INFLUENCE - nothing more, nothing less. Just think about it - the more influence you have, the more people are willing to follow you. As the old maxim says, "He that thinketh he leadeth, and hath no one following him is only taking a walk."

One of the keys to becoming a better leader is understanding the five levels of leadership.

Level 1: Position

At this level, people may follow you, but only BECAUSE THEY HAVE TO. Influence is based on a job description, and people won't follow you beyond the bounds of your stated authority.

Level One is a great place to start, but a terrible place to stay. Leaders who stay on this level experience insecurity, high turnover and friction. As a positional leader focuses his or her energy on asserting their RIGHT to lead, their followers get frustrated and de-motivated. To achieve lasting leadership, he or she must move on to the next level.

Level 2: Permission

People will follow you BECAUSE THEY WANT TO. This phase of leadership makes work fun for everyone. Followers go the extra mile with a good attitude.

When leaders stay here and never advance to the next level, they find that they don't earn the respect they would like, and any highly motivated people on the team become restless.

Level 3: Production

People follow BECAUSE OF WHAT THE LEADER HAS DONE FOR THE ORGANIZATION. Momentum picks up speed as followers see the RESULTS their leader has achieved and make a conscious decision to "get on board." As a result, they catch the vision and act on it; they begin to share the success.

By the way, this is an important level, and many effective leaders remain here for a long time. But only at the next level can a leader help his or her people experience their own success.

Level 4: People Development

Leaders who practice people development make it their goal to REPRODUCE their own leadership in others. People follow BECAUSE OF WHAT THE LEADER HAS DONE FOR THEM.

The leader who reaches this level has accomplished a great deal. His or her followers feel a personal connection with them, and they continue to grow. In fact, most good leaders hope to someday arrive here. There is still one final level that only a small group of HIGHLY influential people ever achieve.

Level 5: Personhood

Few leaders reach this level. People follow them BECAUSE OF WHO THEY ARE AND WHAT THEY REPRESENT. Their reputation precedes them, and people flock to them and their organizations. Few make it here, but those who do are larger than me.

If you want leadership that lasts, take pro-active steps to move to grow to higher levels.

This article is used by permission from Dr. Dan Reiland's free monthly e-newsletter 'The Pastor's Coach' available at