The Five Levels of Leadership
People tend to overestimate themselves very often. They think they have many positive traits and they think that others like them. Accordingly, when it comes to leadership, people tend to think they are good at it. It seems so easy when the person supervises others, he or she automatically deduces to be a good leader. I was a vivid example of that mindset too. Nevertheless, now I know that it is not always true. The video of John Maxwell came as a revelation to me. I have never thought of a leadership in that way before. I have to admit this video broadened my horizons and taught me a lot.
First, I learned that leadership is always a process of learning. It appeared that each leader is supposed to go through the five succeeding levels to become great at what he/she does. What I realized is that leadership demands making efforts all the way. Of course, there are people who believe that holding a leadership position is enough. They do not do their best to lead others. The only advantage they have is their position, nothing more. Nonetheless, they would never have great influence on their followers. The example of the first level leader is the character of Reagan Ronald in “Dark Angel” by James Cameron. Though he is the boss of a courier company, nobody respects him. The workers often tease him and do not take him seriously. Still, he is a demanding leader, and keeps on repeating that he is the boss, and that the workers should do everything to please him. He demonstrates his power by constant threats of firing people. It helps for a while, but the employees are not inclined to cooperate with him. They do not want to obey him but they have no other option.
Leaders should try to take it further and move on to the second permission level. At this point, the followers obey their leader because they want to. In turn, the leader makes certain effort to become likeable. It appears to me that the main quality that the second level demands is the flexibility. Good leader has to be flexible, in order to learn from what they see and what they hear. Inflexible, arrogant leaders are unable to do it because they believe that they know better. Knowing better deprives them of the necessity to learn something new. They should learn to serve even if it means they have to become more humble. The example of the second level leader is John Wooden, the successful basketball coach at UCLA. His coaching is so successful because he observes his players at first. Then he learns from what he sees. Wooden tries to make the most of his player’s strengths, so he turns their weaknesses into strengths.
Third level requires even more efforts. At this level, leaders are going to become proactive. Passive observation and listening are not enough. A leader has to act. Furthermore, according to John Maxwell, leadership is not a noun it is a verb. The entire leadership is all about action. Hence, at the third level, leaders produce an example for others. It takes a lot of courage, efforts and energy to work on oneself. As I see it, leaders should self-improve all the time. In that way, they acquire more influence, as people do what they see. The example of the third level leader is Oprah Winfrey, as she is the embodiment of leading by example. She always strives to improve professionally and personally, which inspires people to take her advice in hard times.
After leaders discover how to develop themselves, they can make a step forward to develop others; of course, it takes even more efforts. A leader’s responsibility is not only to find good people, but also to put them in the right places. I realized that it implies some kind of good leader’s intuition. Those who are leaders have to foresee future results of their actions. Apart from that, a leader has to show his/her followers that he or she is there to help them get better. To my mind, the example of the fourth level leader is Barack Obama. He has the ability to inspire and motivate his followers, and demonstrates concern for their needs.
Meanwhile, the fourth level of leadership is not the last one. Leaders should strive for more. Hence, true leaders aim at reaching the final fifth level of leadership. This level is called the pinnacle level. People are ready to follow their leader because of who he is and what he represents. I realized that few people reach this level but it is worth it. At this level, leaders enjoy the respect of others as a reward for all their previous efforts. Thus, one can deduce that all the leader’s efforts constitute a contribution to his or her respectful position in future. That is when the leaders can get most of their followers. The example of the fourth level leader is Steve Jobs, as people followed him because of who he was and what he represented.
John Maxwell managed to command respect in me. I agree with all he said. It seems that he knows what he is talking about. It looks as though he has been dealing with leadership his entire life. Still, I do not see how to achieve every next level of leadership in practice. I got the general idea of the video but Maxwell does not mention any steps necessary to become a good leader. What he does is rather describing the levels of the leadership than explaining what to do. I realize that he is limited in time, yet, I would like to hear how to become a likeable person. He gives some hints but he does not give specific examples. Therefore, his video is like an introduction to the further research of the leadership topic.
I learned from this video that I am at the first level of leadership. To tell the truth, I have never thought that leadership demands the leader to do so much. I though the position is enough for other people following you. Besides, there are not as much people under my influence as I would like to have. From time to time, I can become a situational leader and make decisions for other people. However, situations like that are infrequent. I would prefer to be at the third level. I do not dare to think of the higher levels, but the production level would be enough to me. Besides, it resonates with my worldview. I believe that self-improvement is the driving force in the human’s life. I spend much time struggling with my negative traits and I cherish my positive sides, as well. What I appreciate most of my surrounding is the feedback I get. I prefer to hear critical remarks to the praise. Grounded in the critical observations of others, I get the direction of self-improvement. In terms of leadership, I am ready to become a better person in order to be the best example for my followers.
I hope to benefit from what I heard in the video. At first, I will invest into my relationships with other people more. After viewing this video, I reconsidered my beliefs on how to treat other people. Earlier, I was more goal-oriented and now I am going to be more people-oriented. Now, I realize that nothing compares with the positive attitude, inspiration and servantship. To achieve the desired third level, I want to become more likeable in the eyes of others. Now I try to get rid of some habits that annoy others, I try to control my intonation and manners. Besides, I am ready to share this knowledge with other people. I taught some of my friends about this video. They watched it too, and admitted that it was extremely useful in their private life and career prospects. We inspire each other to move to the further levels of leadership.
Apart from that, I can use information from the video of John Maxwell in my future nurse career. Being a nurse means working with people, ranging from the patients to staff members to the doctors. From my perspective, bring a senior nurse requires many leadership characteristics. These include problem-solving skills, maintaining group effectiveness, passion for their work, motivational influence on other people, being solution-focused and seeking to inspire others. If senior nurses apply these characteristics to their work, they can win trust of other team members. Applying the knowledge from the video, I can successively move from the first to the last level of leadership in my nurse career. As a senior nurse, I am going to develop other staff supporting others with coaching and supervision. I am going to set a good example of a medical worker, in order to influence others. It will help me to win respect at the last level of leadership and contribute to the development of clinical practice in future.