4 Levels of Leadership, Part 2 of 2

Read Part 1

In Part 1, we examined the life of the young leader. We looked at his or her development from a life of frustration due to not being able to express themselves in a meaningful way to influence change, and then observed their transition into the first layers of management and positions of influence. We identified potential pitfalls in each area and gave insight into how the young leader can navigate through these rocky waters into the safe harbor of solid leadership. In the following levels, we explore the senior leaders and those that have transitioned into the rarest form of leadership and what the secret is for achieving that rarified status of Level 4. But before we do, let’s look a bit closer at what I refer to as Level 3.

Level 3: It is easy to see that this is where most leaders stop in development. The expression “the enemy of the best is the good enough” holds true here. Leaders in Level 3 have submitted to the process, and have become great and effective leaders inspiring with a sense of purpose and passion. There is a sense of humility with them as they have learned from experience the valuable lessons that only life can provide. They make a great impact to the organization in their station as they can get results. However, ignorance is what is limiting their development now. They have not been shown that there is indeed another level of leadership to strive for. It’s Level 4.

Level 4: In order to reach this most effective and impacting level of influence, something internally must first happen to the leader. At some point a leader realizes that there must be more to leadership than the driving and inspiring to achieve financial results. They come to the conclusion in the final tally it is about how we developed people that matters. They begin look for ways to impact peoples lives. It is this motivation, the investing in other people, that begins to compel this leader to lift those around him to be better than they thought possible. This leader sees opportunities to build people not just organizations or revenue. Obviously, building the organization and the increased revenue that accompanies it are important, but these leaders recognize there is a piece missing.

So quietly, this leader begins to invest himself or herself into the people they lead, then to those they work for, and finally to those they work with. The result is a dramatic shift in the leader’s environment. Politics and rivalry over time seem to disappear. Although they may still exist, this environment exposes those negative characteristics so clearly that positive peer pressure pushes it and those foul employees out. The organization or group begins to take a different, more positive outlook. The employees that remain have loyalty and a desire to make this leader successful. Individual passion and employee throughput increase. Above all, the people under the influence of this leader become indeed better and begin to emulate the leader. Imitation is the ultimate form of flattery. These employees look to begin helping others and a dramatic shift in corporate culture begins. Turnover rate drops, and other key talent and leaders are attracted to the organization. The final result is a healthy organization that breeds creativity and success.

If you are already pouring yourself into others, then I say, “Bravo”. Do not be concerned whether they will take credit or take advantage of that. In the end, it is you that has submitted to the process and have a level of leadership and influence that cannot be bought. And better yet, you can reproduce success anywhere you go. But if you find that you have not yet uncovered how investing in others can be rewarding, I recommend you start. In this you will find the true meaning of leadership.

Read Part 1

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