Many Aspire, But Few Make it to Level Four

In this series on the five levels of leadership we have thus far looked at the lower three levels:

1)      Positional leader – This leader operates from an authoritarian stance. He uses his position or title as the authority to get things done. This is the lowest level of leadership and actually the least productive of all. (See the post titled “Your True Leadership Style is the Behavior Pattern Others Perceive” for more on this leadership level)

2)      Relational level – This leader gets buy-in from team members and employees by building relationships across all lines, ethnic, socio-economic, gender, age, and work ethic. Production comes when people feel the leader cares enough to positively encourage workers by getting to know each one. (See the post titled “Moving Up the Ladder of Influence and Leadership” for more on this second level of leadership)

3)      Gaining Momentum – The level three leader has built relationships, gained respect and now employees and team members are motivated around a specific cause. Individual interests are put aside for the good of the team producing greater effectiveness. (See the post titled “Reaching for Level Three Leadership” for more on this leadership level)

While many aspire towards level four and five, few ever truly make it. Level four leaders are developing leaders from within his/her team (be it paid employees or volunteers). This is where the cream rises to the top. True leaders are assisting their team members in personal growth. Not in only the yes men and women of the team – but every member. People want to follow a level four leader. They are not running away or leaving the organization.

It is true many people are not certain how to assist others to grow. Others, like level one leaders are threatened by the possibility of subordinates or employees and volunteers. “After all, if that person grows in leadership ability, he might expose me or take my job.” While they will never come out with those words, a level one leader would rather attempt to hold someone back and even take credit for what others do. Level four leaders do the opposite. They want to see every person in the organization grow and reach his/her full potential.

I love John Maxwell’s statement, “A leader is great not because of his or her power, but because of his ability to empower others.” There is so much providential truth in that statement that I encourage you to read it again – and again.

Unfortunately, too many leaders have a false sense of level four leadership. We have level one leaders in churches and other organizations masquerading, pretending to be level four leaders and never facing reality.

Level four leaders understand their main responsibility is to assist in the development of all team members (not a select few who agree with the leader)  to accomplish the work at hand and to grow beyond the scope needed for this task. Level four leaders will see their team members rising above, receiving promotions, and leading others.

Don’t be a “in my own mind” level four leader. You will run your best people away. Instead strive to become a true level four leader by building the requirements of levels two and three. Then do everything in your power to help all your team members (employees and volunteers) to grow beyond your own leadership. This requires vulnerability and humility. And this is truly a level four leader.

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.