5 levels of leadership — Book Summary

Learn about highly important leadership skills

A great leader is like the captain of a sailboat, able to navigate the stormy sea and keep the boat on course. Working under a great boss not only is great because your institution most likely will get where it wants to, it is also a pleasure.

A good leader is a visionary and forward-thinking. They know how to reach the right people and how to approach them. They are good at developing strategies and get things moving.

So can everyone become a great leader? The answer is yes because leaders are made not born. Learning the five distinct levels of leadership we’ll learn is like climbing a ladder, you have to master each step before you can climb higher.

Bring your personality and core values to your leadership role

Level one of the leadership ladder is the positional leader. A positional leader does not necessarily have any talent for leadership, he is just in a power position and thinks that is enough. If the only thing legitimizing your authority is your position then you have to spend all your energy defending your authority and even then your subordinates will likely not take you very seriously. It is not the best place to be in.

Positional leaders will order people around but their employees will often only do what is specifically expected. The key is to display your values and work practices so that your employees will respect you and work towards a common goal even if you don’t specifically tell them to.

Build trust and positive relationships

If leaders try to build healthy relationships and focus more on other people instead of trying to defend their power, the results are a pleasant workplace and higher productivity. Why? Because spending time with people we don’t like drains our energy. If we spend time with our best friends instead, it makes us feel inspired and energetic. The same happens in the workspace. So how can we implement this principle for our leadership position? The key is to ask people for permission to lead them.

Get people’s permission to lead them

If you ask people to lead them, showing them respect and valuing them, they will be more responsive and you’ll be able to connect with them. In other words, asking for a favor is more effective than just commanding them.

If the people around you feel appreciated, they will more likely give you permission to lead them and open up to a good communication.

Produce results with by building an effective team

A leader by himself cannot accomplish a goal alone. He needs a team otherwise he wouldn’t be in the leadership position. An effective team maximises the strengths and minimizes weaknesses. It is a finely calibrated balance of various skills and attributes. The team leader has to have a clear sight of the big picture and he has to be able to lead the team to the final destination in an effective way. That’s why it is crucial for a leader to build a good team.

Setting an example and showing the way to the team

If you show the way with your example and enthusiasm, you will be a good leader and people will follow you. Another great way to build positive momentum is by producing results. If your team gets results it will become even more motivated. This momentum will build a virtuous cycle which allows greater and greater momentum.

Foster personal development

Requirements change every year, adaptions are needed and that’s why great companies focus on improving their people. They give them room to grow. The next leadership step is to focus on people development. A true leader is like a mentor, giving others the possibility to transform with his help.

People’s development is extremely important for the long-term success of a company but it also transcends the organization. Personal development is a major human need and will greatly benefit the personal lives of the employees. The last step is to create a leadership culture.

Create a leadership culture

The traditional leadership models are compared by the author as a herd of buffaloes. Instead of blindly following the head buffalo, an effective organization looks for a style of leadership where everyone is involved. Because if only one person is responsible, the rest of the company becomes passive and dependent, not a good desired threat. Instead, a company culture where everyone is able to act autonomously is much more able to respond to challenges and produce work more efficiently. Helping others to grow and thrive is not only a tremendous source of fulfillment, by teaching others we also learn a lot ourselves.

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Also published on Medium.