Book Review: The 5 Levels of Leadership
Written by Writer and Author, William Ballard
As you already know, I have been an avid reader and student of John Maxwell’s books and leadership philosophies for some time now. At the end of this review, I will be sharing some links to other review post that I have done on some other books of John Maxwell. However, until then, I want to give you my honest opinion about John’s book, “The 5 Levels of Leadership”.
This book is actually one of John’s most important works to date and is one of his most requested speaking topics, which has been taught to Fortune 100 companies and leaders in countries around the world.
I truly believe that true leadership is not a matter of having a certain job title or position. In fact, being chosen for a certain position is only the first level of the five levels of leadership that every effective leader achieves. To become more than just “the boss” that people have to follow because they are required to, you must invest in your people relationally and learn how to inspire them effectively. In order for you to grow further in your position or field, you must achieve positive results and develop a team that produces as a natural way of life. As a leader, you need to help people develop their skills to become leaders in their own right. Moreover, if you have the skill and persistence to succeed, you can reach the pinnacle level of leadership. And you can find everything you want to know about this “pinnacle level” of leadership in The 5 Levels of Leadership.
The 5 Levels of Leadership Are:
Using humor, in-depth insight, and examples, John describes each of these stages of leadership. He shows you how to master each level and how to rise up to the next to become a more influential, respected, and successful leader.
I will start by saying this is a wonderful leadership book! As I have stated before, I have read many of John’s books and sometimes I get the sense he’s recycling information. However, for this book it appears that he has been saving some rock solid information. The content was mostly new material laid out in a simple way. I found Maxwell's theory about there being five leadership levels quite solid and he does a great job of explaining them. With that said, I do have quite a few critiques of the book. Though I will list these concerns below, I still recommend the book to every leader.
If you know Maxwell at all, you know he has no shortage of confidence. As is usual, that comes across in his writing, which can at times seem arrogant. In my personal opinion it does not appear that he has almost nothing good to say about levels 1 and 2 (position and relationship), perhaps because he sees himself so far beyond those levels. This could be discouraging to new leaders who will naturally start at level one. Maxwell can make it sound as though you're insignificant until you reach the upper levels of leadership.
Then, once he gets into describing the upper levels of leadership, he has almost nothing bad to say about them. In my opinion, this is where Maxwell sees himself as he shares most of his stories in these last sections of the book, so he may look past the negatives to these levels.
The outline of the book is to explain a level of leadership, discuss the advantages to that level, list the negatives of that level, and then give tips as to how to reach the next level. With the upper levels, I felt he was unbalanced when describing the negatives and positives. In other words, he leaned more to the positives and less on the negatives when describing these higher levels.
Perhaps to match the flow of the book he lists a few weaknesses, but they are mostly hypothetical for levels 3 and 4. One of these is the production level, yet Maxwell never deals with the negative of time demand, always being called in or asked to work over, or being flooded with too many tasks. Level 4 would have been a great place to discuss burn out or the struggle to start all over with new members on your team. Maxwell fails to include these (or any solid negatives) as he seems to see these highest levels of leadership as the holy ground.
Maxwell does not take into account that not everyone has his personality. Maxwell is very extroverted and charismatic. This makes much of what he suggests natural for him; I just wish he had taken the time to walk slower through the material that may not come so easy for those different from him.
Considering all those, the material was still very sound.
Maxwell explains well that the height of leadership is to develop and lead leaders, not followers.
I personally believe that he has always provided great information in all of his books, CD's and DVD's. That said, if you value leadership and desire to be a better leader; then buy this book.
If you know someone who wants to be a leader, buy this book for that person. If you know someone that fancies themselves a leader, but hasn't a clue, buy them this book.
Frankly, you could tear page 6 out of the book and toss the rest away and you will be better off then you were. However, don't do that.! Each chapter gives you robust information, examples and sound advice to help you rise through the levels of leadership.
Finally, when you get to chapter five, it will be the fifth course of a five-course meal. It will be the dessert that you will want to savor. Not only will you want to become a Level 5 leader, but you will only want to work with and associate yourself with these pinnacle leaders as well.
Everything rises and falls on leadership! That is a phrase John uses again and again. If everything rises and falls on leadership, I want those around me to be at their pinnacle level as soon as possible.
If you would like to benefit off the teaching and material that is in this book please click on the following link:
The 5 Levels of Leadership
For you information, I am recommending and sharing this book as an affiliate promoter, which means I do get some percentage of the sale that is made. With that said, I do appreciate anyone and everyone who supports my work by buying through my affiliate links, but if you do not desire to support what I am doing here that is fine too. I trust that you know how to get to Amazon and purchase the book on your own.
Other Reviews I've Written on John Maxwell's Books:
The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership
The 360 Degree Leader