– John C. Maxwell
As a leader, you’ve probably had your share of unproductive ventures
when it comes to working with people. But have you ever thought about
what makes working with one person a successful endeavor, and another
an unsuccessful endeavor?
For any group of people to be successful in accomplishing a goal, they
must have good leadership. That’s a given. But leadership is often
misunderstood. It’s not holding a position. It’s not having
knowledge. It’s not even a result of success. Although a good leader
may be in a high-ranking position and have abundant knowledge and
success, what makes someone a leader is his or her ability to
influence others. Leadership is influence.
Many years ago, I developed a tool to help demonstrate how influence
works. It’s called the “Five Levels of Leadership.” Every
relationship in your organization fits into one of the five levels.
Picture them as a series of stairs, with the first step on the bottom.
As your relationships climb to higher levels, your measure of
Influence increases and you are able to accomplish more together.
Take a minute to study the levels of leadership and assess the level
of your key relationships.
1. Position – The lowest level of influence for any leader is the
Position level. That’s leadership based on a title or job
description. If people follow you only because you are their boss, you
are a positional leader and have limited influence in their lives.
People will follow you only because they have to.
2. Permission – This level is primarily based on the relationships
you have with others. As people get to know you and grow to like you,
they begin to follow you because they want to. When you have others’
permission to lead, the process is more enjoyable. But you have to
climb to the next level to reap the true rewards of influence.
3. Production – At this level, your influence is strengthened as a
result of what you and your people accomplish together. When others
see the positive results of your leadership, they begin to follow you
because of what you’ve done for the group or the organization. Moving
to the third level brings great rewards, but it does not insure
4. People Development – At this level, your influence changes from
merely inspiring followers, to developing and leading other leaders.
You strive to help others reach their full potential, and as a result,
they follow you because of what you’ve done for them personally.
There’s almost nothing you can’t accomplish at this level. However,
there’s still one more level that you can reach as a leader.
5. Personhood – Leaders who have spent a lifetime pouring their
lives into others sometimes find themselves on this level. Because
they’ve made such an incredible impact for a sustained period of time,
people follow them because of who they are and what they represent.
Not many leaders make it to this level but those who do are larger
than life: people like Martin Luther King, Jr., Mother Teresa, Bill
and Billy Graham.
If you work with people and want to be as effective as possible,
become an influencer. Start investing in yourself and the people
Learn to work your way up the levels of leadership and increase your
influence in other’s lives. As a result you will begin to make a
significant impact on your world.
Click here for more information about The Five Levels of Leadership
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The Ingredients of an Influencer – John C. Maxwell
As a leader, you will never escape the fact that there are people
whose feelings and well-being are within your influence. Have you
ever considered what allows you to have influence in the lives of your
Gaining an understanding of the key ingredients that make a person a
positive influencer will help you sharpen your ability to make an
impact in the lives of those you lead. As you read through the
following list, assess how well you are doing in each area.
An influencer . . .
1. Has Integrity With People – Dwight D. Eisenhower said, “In order
to be a leader a man must have followers. And to have followers, a
man must have their confidence. Hence the supreme quality for a
leader is unquestionable integrity.” Trust is the foundation of
influence. If people don’t trust you, they won’t follow you. (John
book on a leader’s character, The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a
Leader, which you can order at http://www.shopinjoy.com)
2. Has Faith in People – If you are afraid of people, you cannot
handle them. If you dislike people, you shouldn’t lead them. If you
look down on people, you will not respect them. Les Giblin said, “You
can’t make the other fellow feel important in your presence if you
secretly feel that he is a nobody.” Lifting people to a higher level
requires faith in them and in their ability to succeed.
3. Nutures People – The length and breadth of your influence on
others depends on the depth of your concern for them. Many leaders
love their position more than their people. When that happens,
leaders soon lose their position. But when leaders love their people
more than their position, their position is strengthened — and soon,
so are their people.
4. Listens to People – Stephen Covey noted, “Because you listen, you
become influenceable. And being influenceable is the key to
influencing others.” Listening to your people is one of the strongest
messages you can send to them that you care about their well-being and
5. Understands People – In a book called “Climbing the Executive
Ladder,” authors Kienzle and Dare note, “Few things will pay you
bigger dividends than the time and trouble you take to understand
people. Almost nothing will add more to your stature as an executive
and a person.” To understand the mind of a person you must know what
he’s already achieved. To understand his heart you must know what he
dreams of becoming. And if you help him achieve his dream, he will be
your friend forever.
6. Connects with People – You must connect to the heart of your
people before you ask for their hand. Joan Baez noted, “The easiest
kind of relationship is with ten thousand people. The hardest is with
one.” Connecting with people is the missing link with many leaders
because it means putting the agenda of others first. A leader who
connects with people has taken time to discern the common goals and
passions that exist between himself and his people. (For help in this
area, read Be A People Person http://www.shopinjoy.com)
7. Enlarges People – No one becomes rich unless he or she enriches
another. When you enlarge a person you help him realize his personal
potential. Alan Loy Mc Ginnis says, “There is no more noble
occupation in the world than to assist another human being — to help
8. Empowers People – When you empower people, you help them with
their organizational growth. John Craig said, “Now matter how much
work you can do, no matter how engaging your personality may be, you
will not advance far if you cannot do work through others.”
(Developing the Leaders Around You can help you develop in this area.
The greater your influence, the greater your opportunity for personal
and organizational success. It was Ralph Waldo Emerson who wisely
observed, “It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life
that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping
List the areas where you can improve in being an influencer, then take
the necessary steps to increase your impact in the lives of those
What Top Minds Think About Influence (Great Quotes!)
“A life isn’t significant except for its impact on other lives.” –
“The very essence of all power to influence lies in getting the other
person to participate.” – Harry Overstreet
“It’s when you rub elbows with a man that you find out what’s up his
sleeve.” – Unknown
“You have achieved excellence as a leader when people will follow you
anywhere, if only out of curiosity.” – Colin Powell
“It is wisdom to use your influence. It is criminal to sell it.” – Ed
“The important thing to remember is that if you don’t have that
inspired enthusiasm that is contagious — whatever you do have is also
contagious.” – Danny Cox