Reaching for Level Three Leadership

Level one leaders operate from position or title. Productivity at level one is short-lived, turnover is high, and trust is lacking. Level two leaders operate relationally, building relationships that garner respect. Leaders who rightfully earn the respect of their workers (volunteers) will also gain permission to lead for effective results. So, how does a leader move from relational to higher levels of leadership and more effective results?

Because of the relationships built and trust earned, a leader can move to the next level of leadership which is “gaining momentum” or as John Maxwell justly calls it, Production. In this level, we begin to see teamwork surfacing. People are now coming together for a cause. Workers (paid or volunteer) desire coming together to accomplish the tasks at hand. Effectiveness as a team emerges overtaking individual exploits.

Level three leaders observe and act in ways that will build the team as well as individual members of the team. Level three leaders are results oriented – but not by force. Leaders at this level have and continue building relationships and involve workers in determining and resourcing for effective results. Workers, who have been included in the decision and fact checking process (research and reviewing statistics, facts, and products) are more likely to strive to accomplish desired results. Therefore, creating a team effort for effective results.

At level three, people follow because of proven results – results that the team and you have accomplished. A level three leader will pass the credit of success to lower levels of workers. (Level one leaders want the credit; “It’s what I did”). The more a leader will pass the credit and shoulder responsibility, the greater effectiveness he will become as a level three leader and preparing him for level four. Here is an example:

“It is true we did not reach all of our goals for this month as a team. However, every one of you performed well and we’ve seen growth because of it. I am proud to tell others that I am on the same team with you. I take full responsibility for our team not reaching “xyz” and I know that if we pull together we will do our best to overcome that obstacle next month. You did well. Let’s keep the momentum going this month.”

Even if he/she has done the major share of the work, a leader who always passes the credit, will have no issues with people giving their best to accomplish goals and tasks. On top of passing the credit, a leader who will carry the responsibility of shortfalls on his shoulders instead of “passing the blame”, will gain followers that will not easily be dissuaded.

Be a leader who not only builds relationships with everyone on your team, but one who strives to build individuals into effective productive teams – teams who desire to be together to accomplish a task or take on a specific cause. Swallow your pride and self-centeredness and begin passing the credit of all success and accept the responsibility of losses or failures as your own. After all it is your watch, you are the leader. You can build a team of effective production and momentum beyond any individual glories.

George Yates is a Life Purpose Coach and Church Health Strategist assisting individuals, churches, and organizations in fulfilling their God-given purpose in life. Visit SonC.A.R.E. Ministries online and see the leadership resources available.