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The 5 Levels of Leadership: Proven Steps to Maximize Your Potential

4.28  ·  Rating details ·  3,898 ratings  ·  250 reviews
True leadership isn't a matter of having a certain job or title. In fact, being chosen for a position is only the first of the five levels every effective leader achieves. To become more than "the boss" people follow only because they are required to, you have to master the ability to invest in people and inspire them. To grow further in your role, you must achieve results ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published October 4th 2011 by Center Street (first published January 1st 2011)
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Robert Stump
Feb 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
Homo Homini Lupus

The Five Levels of Leadership does one thing that just makes me batty: the five levels all start with the same letter, P. Why do you have to do that? The five P's of leadership. It sounds dumb because it is a dumb idea. Let's consider the 5 P's to see why this approach is so silly. Position, Permission, Production, People Development, and Pinnacle. Two of these descriptors fit their levels, three are misnomers. Position, dead on, this level is all about the position that a per
Kimberly Smith
Nov 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
I REALLY enjoyed this book of John Maxwell's, in fact it's my favorite book of his that I've read so far. I know one of his best sellers of all time is the 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, which I've also read. THAT book was more like a portrait of a leader in that if you ARE a true leader, these 21 Laws are the attributes you would possess.

THIS book is much more clear in how to identify where you're at, and how to improve and move up to the next level. There are practical applications for an
Oct 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
What makes a good leader? A title? People skills? Getting work done? How about all of the above. In John Maxwell's new book, he explains what he calls the Five Levels of Leadership - position, permission, production, people development, and pinnacle - and tips for achieving each of these different levels in your own leadership roles.

I really liked how organized this book was. The first few chapters provided the background behind the five levels of leadership and then the subsequent chapters wal
Melike Beykoz
Oct 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
"Learn,earn,return" , this summarizes best the maturity jouney of leadership
Malik Aljabri
Oct 02, 2017 rated it liked it
Finish it ad AudioBook, you need to read/listen if you will gone to implement the steps.
Aug 14, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction
I am not really a Maxwell fan. He provides surface level information and stories. This book was no exception. I've been reading this for a work thing and we've gone over it every month since October of last year. Each section we have done invites a little bit of discussion but not enough. It's only the surface of leadership. He tries to pack in a ton of stuff but doesn't give enough examples. I prefer Simon Sinek's works to Maxwell's. It wasn't the worst book ever, but it definitely was not the ...more
Jacob Bowes
Dec 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
A phenomenal book and a must read for those wanting to growth in their leadership abilities. This book keeps a very complicated topic simple and yet leaves the read with a clear idea of how to improve. This is another book that I will probably read over and over again.

The book is a little repetitive, but I felt this was done deliberately to drive home the author's main points. It was done effectively and didn't take away from the book's quality.
Sep 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: self-improvement
Great book on improving yourself as a leader. Can be applied to all kinds of leadership positions. I found insights that will help me as a mother, Cub Scout leader and school volunteer. The five levels of leadership are position, permission, production, people development, and pinnacle.

Some of my favorite quotes:
"Good leaders are always good learners." p. 44
"Successful leaders work hard to know themselves." p. 46
"To be effective, leaders must always be learners. If you're thro
Oct 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
5 stars!
I listened to the audiobook.

You can’t go wrong with Maxwell! This book is full of leadership gold. Maxwell has an uncanny ability to get at the heart of the best leadership principles and state those principles in simple terms.

My main criticism is that I would have liked him to dive deeper into some of the ideas. To me this felt like more of an introductory book because he goes into a lot of what you should do, but not a lot of “how.”

Definitely worth the read (or list
Joseph Santora
Feb 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Leadership has always been a topic that interests me. I've read several of John Maxwell's books, and each time, I learn something new. The 5 Levels of Leadership outline actionable items on each level to help you improve as a leader. The author uses personal stories to help you understand the significance of their lesson. If you are interested in improving as a leader, or even just self-improvement as an influencer, this book is for you.
Jun 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: leadership
Readable, practical, and insightful. Rather than some generic mishmash of principles, Maxwell offers a roadmap that any person in any organization can follow to maximize their leadership—to grow and serve others.
Matt McAlear
Jul 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, business
Awesome book, with many takeaways. Talks through the 5 levels and makes a great argument for why each level is important and how to move up the leadership ladder.
Chanh Nguyen
Apr 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing

Overview of the 5 levels

Level 1: Position: People who make it to this stage are the lowest stage and may not be leaders but just bosses, J. Maxwell noted.

Level 2: Permission: People follow the leader at this stage because they want to. To back this point, he said one can like people without leading but an individual cannot leader people well without liking them.

Level 3: Production: This stage is based on the result. People follow based on what leaders have done for the organization. Leaders at this stage become change agents.

Level 4: Peop
Soundview Executive Book Summaries
The 5 Levels of Leadership: Proven Steps to Maximize Your Potential by John C. Maxwell was chosen by Soundview Executive Book Summaries as one of the Top 30 Business Books of 2012.


John C. Maxwell remains one of the most popular authors whose books have been summarized by Soundview Executive Book Summaries. When one considers the reasons why Maxwell strikes a resonant chord time and again, a trio of potential answers become readily apparent. Maxwell’s books include straightforward advice, a s/>THE
Gloria Washington
Jul 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is excellent for dual purposes. Personally and for developing your team.
A great read and study.
Visnja Zeljeznjak
Apr 11, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great inspirational book about leadership and a good first book to read on the subject. Made me aware (again) of my many mistakes in the past, and made me aware of the importance of investing time in people. "Decide that people are worth it" is the key. People who think in short-term only will have a hard time accepting that it can take a lifetime to reach the pinnacle in your leadership career.

To make the book perfect, there would have to be more examples and more stories (althoug
Apr 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Unquestionably, an amazing leadership book!

The content was mostly solid material laid out in a simple way.

Loved how he elaborated well on the height of leadership is to develop and lead leaders, not merely collect more followers.

I highly recommend this book not only to established leaders, but to everyone in a position of leadership, to every teacher and every caretaker in all walks of life.

Apr 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An amazing look into John Maxwell's levels of leadership. From leveraging your position or title to relationships to productivity, these platforms provide a way for leaders to evaluate their style of leadership and are given guidelines to move up the levels and take on more responsibility and influence. Maxwell succinctly describes how he believes leadership is a verb that follows a dynamic process, a process I will spend the rest of my life attempting to learn.
Antoine Jackson
Feb 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Very insightful book. It takes elements of many other books I've read and put together succinctly with good stories to give context. It also has homework around self assessment and/or continuous improvement, so you can go back to this book over and over as move up and change jobs in your career.
Tõnu Vahtra
Jan 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Great assessment for your leadership level and identifying gaps in your development as a leader, I will definitely be referring to this model in developing the leaders around me.

1.) LEADERSHIP BASED ON POSITION. Leaders who act as this level need their title to get things done and spend most of their time protecting their turf by playing political games.

2.) LEADERSHIP BASED ON PERMISSION. On this level, you find leaders that have learned that relationships are important to be able t
Michael Liebler
May 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tim Lindsay
May 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
5 Levels of Leadership
„Leaders become great, not because of their power, but because of their ability to empower others.“ - John Maxwell

The 5 levels of Leadership is about the journey of empowerment. Many books show you what empowerment is, few show you how to get there. This one does.

Maxwell not only shows the reader what the levels there are but also the kind of thinking, beliefs and practices needed to grow, level by level, to empower others.

My biggest learning
Rashida Serrant-Davis
Feb 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Amazing! I discovered reading this that at this point, I've only ever been to Level 2. The good thing is that I also learned that Level 2 is an important springboard for when you reach Levels 4 and 5, and that if you're good at Level 2 (which I am) then you can excel at the upper echelons (which I'm sure I will). No spoilers, if you ARE ALREADY A LEADER or HAVE BEEN A LEADER and see more leadership roles in your future, this book is definitely for you. It's like a cold shower - you thought you h ...more
Colin Owen
Jul 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is not one of John Maxwell's best-known titles, but I thought it was fantastic. I hope to re-read many times over my life. It's even better if you've previously read the 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership as it draws from those principles.

The 5 levels of Leadership are (1) Positional, (2) Permission, (3) Productive, (4) People Development, and (5) Pinnacle. Leaders are able to evaluate on which level they are as a whole, and also where they are individually with those they are le
Oct 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book rekindled a drive that I thought I had lost: a desire to positively impact the people I encounter in my life. It lays out pivotal leadership qualities in a logical and imitable manner, all while revealing the authenticity of the author’s character. Because of this book, I am able to articulate my gratitude to my mentors, and my understanding of their influence on my life. To them, I say thank you. To this book, I say thank you.
Renee Rubin Ross
Jan 08, 2018 rated it liked it
A few helpful ideas in here: that strong leaders need to master relationships (level 2), and then master generating results (level 3), and then master developing people (level 4).

A lot of fluff in here. On the positive side, one can read the headings and get the idea!

His writing was more clear in the first half of the book, when talking about levels 1-3. When he gets to developing people and teaching those people how to develop others, his suggestions were less concrete a
Danielle Gawronski
May 09, 2018 rated it did not like it
Great motivational book if you are just beginning your leadership journey. I thought he wrote an outline then filled it in with talking points. It’s a light easy read. Level 5 is almost only achieved after years at level 5. It is not quick for people to get promoted and to give back. Sometimes it’s just the way the company is set up. I felt it lacked depth and substance.
Barb Stuhlemmer
Jan 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
One of my all-time favourite books. I use the concepts to help my clients create great strategies to grow strong businesses filled with leaders. I recommend this book more often than any other I've read because the skills are key to understanding how you can have teams of committed and valuable people around you all the time.
Jul 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
5 stars for the content. I normally deduct points for writing that isn't stellar, however the content was that valuable. The writing (or the voice) can be read as conservative, religious, and patriarchal. But I believe as the reader one can still learn from the specific voice and glean the essential components of leadership and how to develop oneself (and others) over time.

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John C. Maxwell is an internationally recognized leadership expert, speaker, and author who has sold over 16 million books. His organizations have trained more than 2 million leaders worldwide. Dr. Maxwell is the founder of EQUIP and INJOY Stewardship Services. Every year he speaks to Fortune 500 companies, international government leaders, and audiences as diverse as the United States Military Ac ...more
“Nobody achieves anything great by giving the minimum. No teams win championships without making sacrifices and giving their best.” 5 likes
“The challenge of leadership is to create change and facilitate growth.” 5 likes
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