The 5 Levels of Leadership is almost here, and I’m excited. This is my best material, and it’s been tested and proven for over 30 years. I know the 5 Levels work.
Here on the blog, I’ve been going over the levels, and this week it’s time for Level 3: Production.
But before I get into the definition and value of production in a leader’s life, I want to clarify how the levels work. Remember the graphic? The 5 Levels are like a building – all the higher levels rest on the lower ones. Every leader must pass through every level to get to the next one. Level 2 builds on Level 1. You can’t be a Level 3 leader until you’ve mastered Level 2: Permission. But once you’ve built a relationship with your people, you’re ready to focus on producing results.
The Production level is where leadership really takes off and goes to another level. Production qualifies and separates true leaders from people who merely occupy leadership positions. Good leaders always make things happen. They get results. They can make a significant impact on an organization. Not only are they productive individually, but they also are able to help the team produce. This ability gives Level 3 leaders confidence, credibility, and increased influence.
No one can fake Level 3. Either you’re producing for the organization and adding to its bottom line (whatever that may be), or you’re not. Thomas Watson, the founder of IBM, noted, “The outstanding leaders of every age are those who set up their own quotas and constantly exceed them.” That is a good description of Level 3 leaders. They are self-motivated and productive. As a result, they create momentum and develop an environment of success, which makes the team better and stronger.
Another benefit of leadership on Level 3 is that it attracts other highly productive people. Producers are attractive to other producers. They respect one another. They enjoy collaborating. They get things done together. That ultimately creates growth for the organization.
Leaders can get to Level 1 for an almost endless number of reasons: They show promise. They have connections. They play politics. They have seniority. The organization is desperate. You name it, and someone has probably become a leader because of it. Leaders who are naturally good with people or who take pains to learn people skills can move up to Level 2. But some people never move up from Level 2 Permission to Level 3 Production. Why? They can’t seem to produce results. When that is the case, it’s usually because they lack the self-discipline, work ethic, organization, or skills to be productive. However, if you desire to go to higher levels of leadership, you simply have to produce. There is no other way around it.
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