The 5 Levels of Leadership: Proven Steps to Maximize Your Potential

4.5 35 5 1
by John C. Maxwell



Condition: New

Sold by Christianbookbag

Seller since 2008

Seller Rating

Seller Comments:

New with remainder mark. Multiple copies are available.

Ships from: Westlake, OH

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

View More Purchase Options

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781599953632
Publisher: Center Street
Publication date: 09/03/2013
Pages: 289
Sales rank: 11,257
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

John C. Maxwell is a #1 New York Times bestselling author, coach, and speaker who has sold more than 24 million books in fifty languages. Often called America's #1 leadership authority, Maxwell was Identified as the most popular leadership expert in the world by Inc. magazine in 2014. And he has been voted the top leadership professional six years in a row on He is the founder of The John Maxwell Company, The John Maxwell Team, and EQUIP, a non-profit organization that has trained more than 5 million leaders in 180 countries. Each year Maxwell speaks to Fortune 500 companies, presidents of nations, and many of the world's top business leaders. He can be followed at For more information about him visit

Read an Excerpt

The 5 Levels of Leadership

Proven Steps to Maximize Your Potential

By John C. Maxwell

Center Street

Copyright © 2013 John C. Maxwell
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-59995-363-2


Leadership Level Characteristics

This first section applies to your leadership in general. Please read the following ten statements. Place a check mark next to each one that you agree is true for you. Answer using your first instinct. Please do not skip any questions, and do not go back and change any of your responses.

Level 1

• I don't have to remind the people who work for me that I am the leader.

• I think of each person who works for me as an individual person, not just in terms of his or her function or role.

• Most days I look forward to going to work.

• I recognize that the position I've been given is an opportunity to learn, not turf to be guarded.

• The people who work for me are willing to do work above and beyond their job descriptions.

• I know that dealing with people problems is a part of leading and have accepted that as part of the job.

• I possess the desire to learn more about leadership and become a better leader.

• I think of my job in terms of work to be accomplished and give very little focus to career path and the positions I desire to achieve along the way.

• One of my primary objectives is to assist the people who work for me.

• Most people find it easy to work with me.

If you marked eight or more of the previous statements as true for you, then you have probably already established yourself as a leader on Level 1 and have begun to move to the higher levels. Move on to the next section of the test. However, if you checked fewer than eight, then you have probably not yet mastered Level 1, and this is where you will probably begin your work in personal leadership development. Why? Because you are only as good as the lowest level you've mastered.

Level 2

• People outside of my department or area of responsibility respect my opinions and frequently seek me out for advice.

• I know my strengths and weaknesses and rarely get blindsided in my work.

• I genuinely like most people and want to help them.

• I am very consistent and even-tempered in my interaction with the people who work for me.

• When I say something to the people on my team, they always know they can count on it because I am trustworthy.

• I have developed solid relationships with all of the people who work for me.

• The people who work with me find me likable and pleasant nearly 100 percent of the time.

• When I need to have a candid conversation with team members to correct errors or take care of problems, I follow through and don't allow too much time to go by.

• I believe that employees desire more than just a fair day's pay for a fair day's work; most desire encouragement and I give it to them.

• I have developed relationships with everyone who works for me.

If you marked eight or more of the above statements as true for you, then move on to the next section. If not, you may want to save the rest of Part 1 of the test for later because your answers indicate that you've not yet mastered Level 2 and you don't yet think like a Level 2 leader. If you do decide to complete Part 1 at this time, please be aware that even if you mark eight or more statements true in subsequent sections, you cannot be on the higher levels of leadership because you have not yet won Level 2. This also applies as you answer the questions in subsequent levels.

Level 3

• I consistently hit targets and goals in my work.

• Good people always want to work with me and my team.

• People see me as an expert in my field and seek me out to learn from me.

• I am constantly setting and achieving higher goals for myself, even when my superiors don't set them for me.

• My performance in my work often carries the team to a higher level.

• I give my best to whatever I do.

• I am comfortable with the idea that others are watching how I perform and follow my example.

• I am known as a problem solver, and I often get difficult tasks done.

• My work is very consistent on a daily basis.

• I have systems and routines that help me perform at a very high level.

If you marked eight or more of the above statements as true for you, then move on to the next section. If not, your answers indicate that you've not yet mastered Level 3 and you don't yet think like a Level 3 leader.

Level 4

• I schedule and follow through with training and development for all the members of my team on a regular, consistent basis.

• When deadlines loom or work becomes urgent, we never cancel our training and development sessions.

• I consistently take risks by giving people responsibilities and authority that will stretch them.

• I spend a significant amount of time every month mentoring up-and-coming leaders.

• I know very thoroughly the strengths and weaknesses of all the people I lead.

• I individualize the way I train, develop, and mentor my people.

• I spend the most strategic and significant mentoring time with the people who have the highest capacity, talent, and potential.

• I have a history of moving people from position to position to help find their fit.

• I am continually giving people feedback, not just during formal reviews.

• My team or department is considered by others to be the best trained (or one of the best) in the organization.

If you marked eight or more of the above statements as true for you, then move on to the next section. If not, your answers indicate that you've not yet mastered Level 4 and you don't yet think like a Level 4 leader.

Level 5

• I can name several specific people whom I have encouraged to speak hard truths to me, and they do so regularly.

• I am using my influence to instill values in my organization.

• The course of my organization is set by me or by a team of which I am a part.

• I have developed many leaders who are developers of leaders.

• I enjoy the interaction and friendship of a small circle of leaders with whom I am taking the leadership journey.

• I am still at the top of my game, and the positive impact I am making is strong.

• I can name at least one person who would be ready to step in and take my place should I decide to leave my current position.

• I have influence outside of my organization.

• People from outside of my specific industry seek me out for leadership advice.

• I am using my influence and resources for causes greater than myself or my organization.

In leadership, you are only as good as the lowest level you've mastered. So I just want to remind you that even if you scored highly in one of the higher levels, if you scored poorly on a lower level, your leadership is actually on that lower level. That is where you will need to give your attention when working with people to improve your leadership ability.


Individual Team Member Assessment—Leader's Point of View

For each person you oversee directly (direct reports), please answer yes or no to the questions on the following worksheet. (Be sure to complete Part 2 before moving on to Part 3.)


Name of Team Member: Date:

Level 1

No This person acknowledges you as his or her leader.
No This person would agree that you are suited for the leadership position you hold.
No This person would acknowledge that you see your position as an opportunity to earn
your place at the leadership table, not as a privilege to be used for personal

Level 2

No You know things about this person's family and personal life outside of his or her work.
No You know this person's strengths and weaknesses.
No You know this person's hopes and dreams.
No You are committed to helping this person succeed in his or her work.
No This person trusts you and you trust him or her.

Level 3

No This person respects your professional ability and qualities.
No This person asks for your advice and expertise.
No This person has become more productive because of your influence.
No This person would acknowledge that the team is more productive because of your leadership.
No This person would agree that your team contributes to the vision and purpose of the organization.

Level 4

No You have given this person specific training that has helped him or her to perform better.
No You have mentored this person or put him or her in a development process that has helped
him or her to become a better leader.
No This person is now leading others because you have given opportunities and training for him or her to lead.
No This person is consistently loyal and supportive, and always gives you the benefit of the doubt.
No This person is not only leading others but has trained those he or she leads to develop leaders thanks to your input.

Level 5

No This person could step into your role with a very high probability of success if you were to step down.
No This person is your advocate and champions you with other leaders so that you gain others' respect even before you meet them.


You can learn two things from this assessment: First, you can understand where you are with each person on the 5 Levels of Leadership based on your answers. If you answered no more times than yes in a section, then you have not gotten to that level with that person. (Instead, you would be on the level below that one.)

The second thing you can learn is where you need to work to improve. A no answer to any statement indicates where you need to do some work.


Leadership Assessment—Team Member's Point of View

Ask each of the people who report directly to you to fill out the following worksheet for you. They may do so anonymously if they wish. Use the same criteria for evaluating this assessment as you used to evaluate the Part 2 assessment you completed.

Note that even if you are a very good leader, you may have an employee or volunteer who refuses to put you anywhere but Level 1. You can try to win over that person on Level 2 and then progress, but there are no guarantees that the person will allow him-or herself to be won over.


Name of Leader: Date:

Please read each statement and respond with yes or no in reference to the leader whose name is listed above. There are no right or wrong answers. This assessment is designed only to describe your interaction with the person. (If you wish, you may answer this assessment anonymously.)

Level 1

Yes No You acknowledge this person as your leader.
Yes No This person is well-suited for the leadership position he or she holds.
Yes No This person treats the leadership position as an opportunity to earn a place at the leadership table,
not as a privilege to be used for personal advancement.

Level 2

Yes No This leader cares about your family and personal life outside of work and regularly
asks you questions about them.


Excerpted from The 5 Levels of Leadership by John C. Maxwell. Copyright © 2013 John C. Maxwell. Excerpted by permission of Center Street.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments x

You Can Have a Leadership Game Plan for Your Life 1

You Can Learn Practical Leadership Tools 3

Overview of the 5 Levels of Leadership 6

Insights into the 5 Levels of Leadership 11

Leadership Assessment: How to Gauge Your Current Level of Leadership 21

Level 1 Position: It's a Great Place to Visit, But You Wouldn't Want to Live There 37

The Upside of Position: You Have Been Invited to the Leadership Table 41

The Downside of Position: True Leadership Isn't about Position 50

Best Behaviors on Level 1 How to Make the Most of Your Position 64

The Laws of Leadership at the Position Level: Lid, Process, and Navigation 70

Beliefs That Help a Leader Move Up to Level 2 73

Guide to Growing through Level 1 78

Level 2 Permission: You Can't Lead People Until You Like People 83

The Upside of Permission: The Workplace Has Become More Pleasant for Everyone 87

The Downside of Permission: The Pressure Is on You to Build Positive Relationships 95

Best Behaviors on Level 2 How to Gain People's Permission 105

The Laws of Leadership at the Permission Level: Influence, Addition, Solid Ground, Magnetism, Connection, and Buy-In 118

Beliefs That Help a Leader Move Up to Level 3 122

Guide to Growing through Level 2 126

Level 3 Production: Making Things Happen Separates Real Leaders from Wannabes 131

The Upside of Production: You Now Have Leadership Credibility 135

The Downside of Production: The Weight of Leadership Just Got Heavier 146

Best Behaviors on Level 3 How to Make the Most of Production in Leadership 151

The Laws of Leadership at the Production Level: Respect, Magnetism, Picture, Victory, Big Mo, Priorities, Sacrifice, and Buy-In 166

Beliefs That Help a Leader Move Up to Level 4 171

Guide to Growing through Level 3 175

Level 4 People Development: Helping Individual Leaders Grow Extends Your Influence and Impact 179

The Upside of People Development: The Potential of the Organization Just Got Greater 183

The Downside of People Development: Leading on Level 4 Requires High Levels of Maturity and Skill 195

Best Behaviors on Level 4 How to Develop People 203

The Laws of Leadership at the People Development Level: Process, Addition, Inner Circle, Empowerment, Explosive Growth, and Buy-In 216

Beliefs That Help a Leader Move Up to Level 5 220

Guide to Growing through Level 4 224

Level 5 The Pinnacle: The Highest Leadership Accomplishment is Developing Other Leaders to Level 4 229

The Upside of the Pinnacle: Your Influence Has Expanded Beyond Your Reach and Your Time 233

The Downside of the Pinnacle: You May Start to Believe It's All about You 238

Best Behaviors on Level 5 How to Use the Pinnacle as a Platform to Do Something Greater Than Yourself 243

The Laws of Leadership at the Pinnacle Level: Respect, Intuition, Timing, Legacy, and Explosive Growth 252

Help Others Move Up to Levels 4 and 5: Create Crucible Moments for the Leaders You Develop 256

Guide to Being Your Best at Level 5 266

Portrait of a Level 5 Leader: Coach John Wooden 271

Notes 287

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

5 Levels of Leadership 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 36 reviews.
AlVent More than 1 year ago
I will begin by saying that John C. Maxwell has always provided me with great information in all of his books, CD's and DVD's. Maxwell has helped me help so many others become better leaders through his material. That said, if you value leadership and to be a better leader, then buy this book. Id you know someone who wants to be a leader, buy this book for that person. If you know someone that fancies themselves a leader, but hasn't a clue, buy them this book. Quite frankly, you could tear page 6 out of the book and toss the rest away and you will be better off then you where. But don't do that. Each chapter gives you robust information, examples and sound advice to help you rise through the levels of leadership. Finally, when you get to chapter five, it will be the fifth course of a five course meal. It will be the dessert that you will want to savor. Not only will you want to become a Level Five leader, but you will only want to work with and associate yourself with these pinnacle leaders. Everything rises and falls on leadership. That is a phrase of Maxwell's I repeat again and again. This week alone I have given away four copies of this book. One to the general manager of my company, one to a college president, one to a business owner and one to a leader of a nonprofit I work with. If everything rises and falls on leadership, I want those around me to be at their pinnacle as soon as possible. Buy the book. Then you will buy more.
Bubba_Smith53 More than 1 year ago
Maxwell does it again! For those of you who know me, to say that I am a huge John Maxwell fan is an understatement! If John writes something or communicates something, I get it. I would recommend you do the same. The 5 Levels of Leadership was a great read. John Maxwell has been teaching the 5 Levels for over 30 years and finally put it into book form. Anyone who is a leader or desires to become one needs to read this book. John teaches us that there are 5 levels of leadership and we are all on different levels in our personal journeys and also on different levels with all of the people we lead. The 5 Levels: Level 1: Position (Rights) - People follow you because they have to. Level 2: Permission (Relationships) - People follow you because they want to. Level 3: Production (Results) - People follow you because of what you have done for the organization. Level 4: People Development (Reproduction) - People follow you because of what you have done for them. Level 5: Pinnacle (Respect) - People follow you because of who you are and what you represent. Think about people you follow. Aren't there some people you follow because you have to (they are your boss!). Aren't there some people you follow because you like them and naturally want to follow them? Then at another level, don't you follow people because of what they have accomplished in life? Then there are those we follow because they are willing to invest in and develop us (Level 4). Finally, there are level 5 leaders. Examples of level 5 leaders would be: Mandela, John Wooden, Mother Theresa, and Gandhi. We follow them because of who they are and what they represent. John walks you through the pros and cons of each level as well as how to grow to the next level in very practical steps. The book was eye-opening for me. For me, Getting to level 2 is easy, I am naturally great with people. However, To go to level 3 and 4, I am going to have to work hard to produce results and to develop people. As I continue to grow as a leader, I'll be coming back to this book often to help me grow to the next level of leadership with the people I lead. Bottom line: Get this book. Read it. Refer to it often.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm not in a leadership position at work, but this has helped me to look at myself. I know my faults, and I'm discovering my strengths. I hope to be ready for my first leadership position.
alunaCA More than 1 year ago
The first time I read one of Mr. Maxwell's books I was truly inspired! I could NOT put it down. It all made things perfectly clear to me. What I was doing that was keeping me from growing as a leader and what I needed to focus on to overcome these obstacles. Also, in past situations, where upper management could have definitely used this book to keep our working environment productive instead of destructive. I found myself carrying the book around just to show passages from the book to my friends and co-workers. I could not keep this to myself! John C Maxwell's books are a must have in your library if you want to be the best leader you can be! Give yourself a helping hand by reading this book! The future leader in you will thank you for it!
Adrian_B More than 1 year ago
Although the topic of leadership is around since the beginning of time and a lot of people had attempts to structure and give this soft skill a clear shape this still proves to be a hard task. However, The 5 Levels of Leadership unveils the mist from yet another area of leadership - Leadership growth. I'm using many of John Maxwell's tools John in my life, either at work or in interactions with other people and most of these tools focused around what does it mean to be an actual leader? What a leader should and should not do? But this is the first book the cleared out - What is you Leadership level, what are the drivers of your level what does it mean to take it to the next level, and most important it will enable a leader to guide the people around him on improving their own leadership skills. Thank you for the book, John.
ksturlaugson More than 1 year ago
Another great book from John Maxwell!!!! I recommend this and many of John's other books if you are interested in learning how to really improve your ability to become an effective leader.....
dwcj555 More than 1 year ago
This book has changed the way that I approach my leadership role at work. While it makes you take a hard look at yourself and it may not be pleasant doing so, I know that with the proper drive it will be the catalyst you need to reenergize your career into becoming a calling. I've now looked at what I thought was dead weight on my team and put their development ahead of mine. I've already seen results and I know that I haven't even changed Levels yet. I look forward to the benefits that will be reaped as we strenghten ourselves together based on the precepts within this tome of knowledge.
RolfDobelli More than 1 year ago
True leadership is a lifelong journey that requires constant learning. Best-selling personal development guru John C. Maxwell shows you how to understand your current level of leadership, and how to climb to the next rank, and the next. Maxwell defines the “five levels of leadership” as “position, permission, production, people development” and “pinnacle.” He explains that to advance to higher levels, you must go beyond Level 1, where you use your position to influence others, and grow to Level 2, building relationships; Level 3, producing results; Level 4, developing your employees’ talents; and Level 5, creating future leaders. Some of his advice seems clichéd, but Maxwell provides an easy-to-understand blueprint for leadership development. getAbstract recommends his book to current and aspiring leaders in any industry.
ReadersFavorite More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Lori M for Readers Favorite Seriously, who doesn't like a book by John Maxwell? As a business manager, I have read his previous business books. As a Christian professor in our college I use the John Maxwell Leadership bible. So I chose this audio book because I already knew what to expect - something great. Maxwell did a good job of narrating his own book and taking the listener first through an overview of the five levels of leadership, which did indeed turn out to be proven steps to maximize your potential. My main regret is that I was listening to the audio book while driving because I would have liked to have taken some notes and jotted down key phrases and lessons learned from this book. As I listened to the author describing the different levels, especially the one about getting permission from your followers before you can lead them, I recognized some of the past mistakes I've made as a manager. But what I learned is that it's never too late to be a good leader and apply the newly learned principles to an existing team or to a new team. Like they say, it's not too late to teach an old dog new tricks. Relatable, affable, easily understandable and definitely implementable, an excellent tool has been provided by Maxwell again for leaders and managers. He makes an excellent point that though you move on to levels 2 or 3, you're still building on level 1 and so never abandon lower leadership levels; just add to them.
gatoramos More than 1 year ago
There were many times in this book that I realized it was me that needed to change and grow. It inspired me to look in the mirror and challenge myself. It has helped me tremendously and is already showing positive outcomes in our workplace. I thank you very much John C. Maxwell, and more importantly, so does our team!
AKP_LTD More than 1 year ago
John Maxwell is one who has came to plenty of functions of ours for my LTD business & I must say this book has truly showed me what I need to do & what I should have been doing as a leader from the beginning. In order to lead you must first learn & growing is something that you never arrive at, it's something that you do daily to be a true leader. Seeing every single level & thoroughly going through the book is something I would recommend each person look in. I won't disclose what each level is, you have to read the book to know that for yourself, it's totally worth the read.
Ajit_Damodaran More than 1 year ago
In 2008, John Maxwell had written the book "Leadership Gold". "5 Levels of Leadership" is even more golden. I attend Dr. Maxwell's talks every year, and buy his books, CDs, DVDs .... over the years, John has inspired me and continues to inspire me to be a better person, a more successful businessman, and a greater leader.
JonDahl More than 1 year ago
John Maxwell has changed my life in many ways. The first was when I saw him live at a Spring Leadership Conference. His books continue to add value to my life everyday, and allow me to add value to many other people everyday. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is looking for their next leadership development book, or if you are just beginning your journey of growth!
JorgySJ More than 1 year ago
I strongly recommend this book for both new leaders and experienced leaders. There is truly a difference between managing a team and leading a team...the leader doesn't necessarily need to be the boss. Enjoy this great book which will guide you to be an incredible leader in any organization or life in general.
frederickaccountant More than 1 year ago
I have read several of John's books and this one rates right up there with the rest of them. I can't wait to finish reading it and to see if I can pass it along to someone else.
RainManRC More than 1 year ago
Whenever I see a new book by John Maxwell on leadership, I get excited as he is to me the ultimate leadership guru or rather the leadership guru of all the leadership gurus. If you want to learn on how to lead at every level in your organization or team, this book is a MUST read. One more thing, when you buy this book and read it, don't let it stop there. Apply the principles on leadership that John has so well outlined and you will see your leadership ability soar with wings like an eagle.
DONALDDODSON More than 1 year ago
I was one of the first ones to buy this book at LTD Summit 2011 in LOUISVILLE KENTUCKY on the 7-9 of october when he released the book a week early before he released it to the general public. and i can say that this book is awesome dont miss out on getting a copy. you be glad you did.
Liesy More than 1 year ago
This was the first book I read from the John Maxwell collection! I was given this masterpiece by a friend on my birthday and I have to say after I started reading it, I could not put it down. It keeps you motivated and ready to just take on the world!! I recommend it to everyone who wants to take their life to the next level! You won't regret it!!
LindaSCFWI More than 1 year ago
I am about half way through the book - I am reading a copy from my local library and need to restrain myself from underlining great points to remember! Thanks John Maxwell for the work you do! Awesome book!
sayno-bookvika More than 1 year ago
Extremely insightful. I preordered this book and thrilled to see it arrived.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very clear guide written in easy to understand manner.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
DonExec More than 1 year ago
After our senior management team heard John Maxwell at a Franchiee Conference in Las Vegas, a copy was purchased for every leader. Each VP is organazing it's study and use in their respective divsions. Great read. I studied the 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership in the U.S. Army. Practical leadership advice and insight for any leadership environment.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Discover1 More than 1 year ago
Whether you are a stay at home parent, a CEO, or anything in between, this book will encourage you to grow your leadership skills in a powerful way.