“Developing the Leader Within You” lays a solid foundation of principles in which to personally grow as a self leader. Leadership is a characteristic that can be learned and acquired. While there are those that we would consider to be “natural leaders,” most of them still require the development and cultivation of their skills in order to become effective leaders. This books provides very informative, and basic steps in order to master the skill of influencing others for the better. After all, that’s exactly what leadership is; influencing others to accomplish a common goal!
Listed in the book, there are five levels to leadership. Imagine a staircase that you must climb in order to be most effective as a leader; the very bottom is our start in developing the leader within you.
1) Positional Leadership: This is the level at which people follow because they have no other choice. You are given a position of leadership, and they are made to follow your instruction and guidance. At this level, your influence will not exceed your job description. The longer you remain at this level, the higher the turnover will be and the lower morale will become. Motivation to follow at this level is short lived.
2) Permission Leadership: The second level of our leadership staircase is that of permission. This requires establishing relationships with those in whom you are entrusted to lead. These folks will follow you because it is evident you care for them, and they want to. They will also go further and do more for you than is stated in your authority. However, staying too long at this level with motivated people will cause them to become restless.
3) Production Leadership: Production leaderships stems from the leader’s results and accomplishments made for the organization. People follow at this stage because they see how you have made the organization better. I think of Lt Col. Spears from Easy CO during World War II. At first, the men of Easy CO followed him out of fear. However, after numerous times of seeing the sacrifices he made for them, and the example he personally set; they began to follow him simply because of his ability to get things done and what he did for the unit as a whole. This level of leadership not only demands respect, but deserves it!
4) People Development: This level of leadership requires reproduction. In order to be and effective leader, we must be reproducing ourselves in others. Being able to invest in others, train them to become leaders, then they in turn train others begins the process of multiplication. This requires a leader to be selfless and secure in who he is in Christ. During this stage, the leader will push others to the “spot light” instead of taking it for himself. He will have followers that are loyal because of what he’s done for them personally. This is a vital stage in the cause of world evangelism! Being able to train others to do what you do, and better; they will in turn teach others also. (II Tim 2:2) Leaders must not be consumed with “all eyes on me!” If our leadership only serves to promote self, then we will not be very effective at reaching the overall objective, reaching the world with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
5) Personhood: At this level, people will follow you because of who you are and the ideals that you represent. This step is reserved for leader who have spent years growing people and organizations. Very few make it to this level. It is not done over night, and it takes years of cultivating relationships, reproducing other leaders, creating an effective work environment within the organization, and promoting the cause of the organization. I like to think of it as being able to have a vision, sharing the vision, having others get behind your vision and make it their own, then seeing the vision become a reality.
Vision for the World