Maxwell’s 5 Levels of Leadership in a Nutshell

I recently had the opportunity to hear Dr. Elad Granot, the Dean of Ashland University’s MBA program speak on Maxwell’s 5 Levels of Leadership.

Striving to be an effective leader is one of the greatest personal challenges one can undertake.  It’s important to regularly reflect on your effectiveness as a leader, and attending these events, such as this hosted by the Greater Cleveland Partnership, has helped me grow and develop as a leader.

Maxwell’s 5 levels are focused on the reasons WHY people follow leaders.

The 5 levels of leadership are:

  1. Position
  2. Permission
  3. Production
  4. People Development
  5. Pinnacle



If you are given a position of authority, such as a manager, supervisor or sports team coach, then you are a leader. People listen to you, but only because they have to listen.  If you are awarded this opportunity (dare we say privilege), you need to quickly advance to the next level, or you will not be a leader for long.


You make this leap when people follow you because they want to follow you.  You accomplish this by successfully building relationships with your team. You must earn their confidence and demonstrate that you have the experience and knowledge to lead them.

I think this is the most important step and one that requires the most personal focus and development.  This is where leaders and non-leaders are sorted out. 


A leader must be productive.  A leader must be able to take those trusted relationships and direct them towards a goal.  This requires the ability to develop and communicate the actions required to succeed.  If you are unable to do this, then you will lose the support of the organization and your team. At this level, people follow you because you get things done.

People Development

The next progression of a leader is to create more leaders.   A leader must devote a significant portion of their time to personally developing each of their team members skills and abilities. People follow you because they know you care about their success. 


The is the leadership equivalent of achieving total enlightenment.  You are respected by your people and they follow you because of who you are and what you stand for. 

This is a great tool for personal reflection and challenging yourself to improve as a leader.  What level have you achieved?


Brian Lennon is CEO & President of General Die Casters, Inc. headquartered in Twinsburg OH, USA. In his role at the 60+-year-old company, Mr. Lennon leads a professional team manufacturing die cast parts for such industries as automotive, appliance, lawn & garden and transportation. Operating two facilities with upwards of 200 employees has helped Mr. Lennon sharpen his leadership skills while continuing to run a profitable manufacturing company. For more information visit

By | June 24th, 2019 | Categories: die casting, Leadership, Management Uncategorized | 0 Comments

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Brian Lennon