Saturday, January 21, 2012

What kind of leader are YOU? Part two.

John Maxwell's Five Levels of Leadership.... tips from a leadership expert

This is part two of the Leadership posting. Last post I shared a summary of John Maxwell's levels of leadership, so clearly defined in his new book The Five Levels of Leadership.  Maxwell offers a few tips for leaders in these different levels. First, is that it is not a given that all leaders will transform through these levels. I have worked in organizations, and have met lots of leaders who are still in a positional leadership level despite having been a leader for 15 years. They have not transformed, nor has their team. They use their position to lead people. You would hear language like “I’m the boss”, or refer to employees as subordinates (not team members). You can like the people that you are leading however; you cannot effectively lead people that you as a leader don’t like. This is an important concept as I have heard many leaders say things like “I don’t have to like people on my team” or “I don’t have to like them, I just have to respect them.” The challenge is for leaders to find something that they like or appreciate about the team members, otherwise it will shine through.

Leaders will be well served to create a good environment and great relationships, and of course, get things done. This ensures that profits go up while turnover and team issues go down. The bonus is that leadership and work becomes more fun and leaders become agents of change because they are making difficult decisions that ultimately create big outcomes. As a corporate trainer and consultant I have seen many leaders shy away from important decisions, because, it may not be a favorable decision. Ultimately this can hurt their credibility, the relationship and the culture of environment of the team. Making these decisions requires some risk taking.

Empowering others, your team, will serve you well as you refine your leadership skills and approach. Empowering others allows leaders opportunity to “reproduce” themselves as they make a high investment in others’ development which also deepens relationships. Essentially as Maxwell explains, leaders change the lives of those they lead!

Maxwell talks about three types of values: ethical values (doing the right thing for the right reasons), relationship values (how to build an atmosphere of trust and respect for others), and success values (deciding on the goals that are worthy of spending your life on). These are great questions to explore as a leader, “am I doing the right thing for the right reasons?”, “how do I build and maintain an atmosphere of trust?”, and “what goals are worthy of me spending my life and time on?” The concept of values is a frequent discussion topic in corporate training and the team building processes I facilitate. And, values are often at the root of many workplace challenges and communication challenges.

This week, what are three actions you can take to empower others, build relationships and create an environment where the team becomes champions for the corporate goals and mission?

To add this book to your leadership training program or corporate library shelves, visit: