The Unpaved Path

Like climbing a mountain, the path to the top is neither straight nor free of obstacles.  It takes hard work, the ability to change and adapt, and the right mindset.  There are measurable markers along the way.

According to John Maxwell, in his book by the same name, there are five basic levels of leadership:

  1. Position – A person has been asked to manage a team.  This person might be considered a boss. They have the title and the subordinates. They can enforce rules and regulations. Yet, they may not have developed the leadership skills that cause them to be effective.
  2. Permission – This person begins to develop trust and respect from their team.  This is the start of leadership, where you build relationships and connections and start to develop influence.
  3. Production – This leader builds a cohesive team that gets things done.  They produce results for the organization while handling challenging situations.  At this point, true leaders start to emerge.
  4. People Development – This leader nurtures and mentors their team members, developing them into future leaders through observation, feedback loops and coaching.
  5. Pinnacle – Leaders at this level have mastered skills at the lower levels and are crucial figures in the entire organization’s success and even the industry.  They create opportunities for others and leave a legacy.  “Pinnacle leaders stand out from everyone else. They are a cut above, and they seem to bring success with them wherever they go.”

The pinnacle of leadership presence is the most successful point. Who you are and what it represents commands the respect of others.  You have the opportunity for fulfillment as you successfully establish a vision, live as an example that inspires others, and serve to achieve goals.

Reaching the pinnacle level requires much more than an MBA and hard skills; it involves taking risks and setting yourself apart through any number of ways.