Becoming a Leader

Last week I was blessed with the opportunity to tag along with Arlin Sorensen at their quarterly HGT Peer Groups meeting held in Dallas, TX.  At first I was I was hesitant to take the opportunity, but after careful thought I decided that I needed to attend.  The fifth law in Bob Burg and John David Mann’s the “Go-Giver” is the Law of Receptivity.  Simply stated:  “The key to effective giving is to stay open to receiving.”  Arlin presented me an opportunity by offering me his time and the ability to observe what they have created.  WOW!!!  I would have made the biggest mistake of my young career by not attending.

One of the key focus points this quarter with the HTG Peer Groups was on leadership.  Over the years I have become more and more fascinated with this topic.  What truly makes a good leader?  Maybe we first need to stop and consider what type of leader that we want to be?  One of the speakers on leadership during my time in Dallas was Chris Fuller, who is a Regional Affiliate on Leadership Development with the John C. Maxwell Company.  He gave an amazing talk about his leadership experiences both good and bad.  He was both funny and to the point on how leaders need to lead.  Unfortunately, it was only 3 hours long.  Apparently, he must give 5 day courses and if ever presented the opportunity I would sign up in a heartbeat.  I can’t even begin to summarize what he addressed in those 3 short hours with us.  One of the main focuses though was on the book “5 Levels of Leadership: Proven Steps to Maximize Your Potential” by John C. Maxwell.  These are pretty simple, but I never put much thought into it until listening to Chris. 

The 5 Levels of Leadership are:

Level 1 Position: People follow you because they have to.  This is the lowest level of leadership.  You tell people what to do because you are the one with authority.

Level 2 Permission: People follow you because they want to.  This level is about relationships.  You have good relationships with your people and thus they want to come along for the ride.

Level 3 Production: People follow you because of what you have done for the organization.  This level is about teamwork and teaming with others to accomplish the task at hand.  If you can’t scale a business and put together a team to run it with you then the business is going nowhere.

Level 4 People Development: People follow you because of what you have done for them personally.  This level is about mentoring.  You teach people the trade to pass along knowledge and empower them.  You are replicating yourself so you can step away when needed or retire when the time is right.

Level 5 Pinnacle: People follow because of who you are and what you represent.  This is the ultimate level.  Do I have my employees want to?  Do I have to push the organization or do I have everyone pulling together with me? 

To add to the confusion, your relationship with each employee or anyone that you may come into contact with could be anyone of these levels.  Talk about confusing, but it makes sense.  I am sure in any organization we all have employees that we have to threaten, while there are others we empower and build.  So my challenge to you is to figure out what sort of leader are you?  Make a list…what is the culture of your organization?  What do you believe in? What are your core values?  Then in another list ask yourself what type of leader you want to be and are you fulfilling all of those things?  If so, great job!!  If not, then just like me you have a lot to work towards.  I consider myself a life-long learner, meaning that there is always room to improve if I am willing to continue to learn.  A great quote that I read this morning by Marilyn vos Savant: “To acquire knowledge, one must study: but to acquire wisdom, one must observe.”  Leadership is built upon years of wisdom and practice, you set out with a plan, but the reality is that there are many ups and downs that may come with it.  So don’t delay and get started today.

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