JMT Certified

Level 4 leadership

Who are you investing in?

Mozart is universally acknowledged as one for all types of music down the ages, Gershwin was one for popular music, Lonnie Donegan was one according to Roger Glover (bassist for Deep Purple) and Elvis Presley was one according to Rolling Stone magazine.    

What is this?

in·flu·ence – /ˈinflo͝oəns/
noun
The capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behaviour of someone or something, or the effect itself.”
~ Oxford English Dictionary

Who were your influences?  Who are the people that have shaped you into the person you are today?  I know who some of mine are. 

They include my mom, who inspired me to start learning the violin at the age of 8, and my dad, who inspired me to want to become an engineer.  They also include Andy who inspired me to start a career in sales, David who inspired me to actually get started on my public speaking career, and Annica who inspired me to write a book and get it published. 

The entire course of my life has been changed from time to time by someone who inspired me to do something new or challenging; something that I might not have even considered without their inspiration. 

Although I wouldn’t call myself an artist, every artist I know has their “influences” and typically will have many phases they journey through with their art.  They will also have people that are influenced by them, as they leave a legacy to their art.

It’s evident that leaders and leadership styles also have their influences and those they influence.  Some of these are good, and some less so.  We can see history littered with both types of role model at both extremes, and one thing is for sure. As John Maxwell says: “Leadership is influence”. 

“Leadership is the ability to obtain followers”
~ James C Georges

Maxwell has a model for what he calls the five levels of leadership, and this is really helpful in seeing how far someone has progressed in developing their level of influence. It also gives each of us a yardstick by which we can measure our influence in terms of leadership capacity. 

The level at top of the model describes those who have developed a reputation well outside their organisation or field.  Many of these people are legendary, and few of us would aspire to reach that level.  However, the other four levels are something to which we can all aspire. 

“Leaders become great not because of their power, but because of their power to empower others.”
~ John C Maxwell

The first level in this model is one of position, you get appointed to a position that carries a leadership title.  That’s really the doorway used by many people to enter the leadership space, and for some is as far as they’re ever going to get on that journey.  I know I can think of several people that stepped into this doorway and have never really moved any further than that.

The second level is one of permission, and this is where people lead because other people want to follow them.  For some people, this is actually where their leadership journey actually starts: people just start following them.  This level is all about relationship.  You connect with people and develop relationships, and without this foundation, any further progress is built on sand. 

The danger is that many people stay right there, and don’t progress any further.  The next level is one of production, getting things done; achieving results together as a team.  This is when the leader is gaining momentum, and they are becoming effective.  If the permission level has been skipped however then this is where the leader also fails, and one day they will find they have no followers. 

The fascinating thing here is to correlate these two levels (2 and 3) with the DISC personality types, (see Who do you think you are?) as these two levels of permission and production reflect the parameters of being either people focussed or task focussed.  The effective leader has to display both characteristics to be able to succeed and to progress on to the next level. 

“If your business is to grow and prosper, as a leader, you need to focus on people development.”
~ Robert T Kiyosaki

The next level, level 4, is one of people development and is where leadership actually starts to pay massive dividends, and where great leaders are recognised and acknowledged.  Now we get to a place where teams are empowered, where leaders are investing in developing other leaders, and these level 4 leaders start to develop a loyal following because of that investment.  This is a level to which some leaders are quite simply blind, and unable to see or recognise it. 

It is level 4 leaders who invest in those they are leading and help them to grow, and thereby they multiply their influence.  Not only do they spend time with those they lead, but they invest in them too.  It brings the language of business into relationships as we see an investment that reaps a reward; it brings a return on that investment.  This ROI is measured not in terms of personal gain, but in terms of impact, and relies on a demonstration by the leader of having credibility. 

If you don’t believe in the messenger, you won’t believe in the message
~ Kouzes and Posner

This is the level to which all potentially great leaders should aspire if they wish to be a master at their art.  This is the level where leadership has great influence, and with it comes great responsibility.  The question we are left with, is who am I investing in?  It will most likely start with just one person, and then maybe extend to two or three.

The other question that is perhaps just as important, who do I have that is investing in me; where do I look, and where do I go, to find those people who are investing in me?

About Roger Fairhead

Roger is a leadership specialist delivering Leadership for Business Achievement through Speaking, Training and Coaching to business leaders and entrepreneurs.

“He is articulate, tracks complex issues with ease and has an incredible gift for raising pearls of wisdom out of the murky depths of people and process.” His passion is to help people to learn effective leadership skills to lead their teams to capitalize on their strengths and passions to realize their dreams.

Leadership for Business also invests into the dreams of families in the world’s underserved communities to offer them small loans that empower them to invest in their future, to provide for their families and give back to their communities.