There is always so much rich content in a John Maxwell book, and The 5 Levels Of Leadership is no exception. You can read my full book review by clicking here. These are a few of the quotes that especially caught my attention. Unless otherwise noted, these quotes are from John Maxwell.
“At any level, a leader doesn’t automatically stay at that level. You must earn your level of leadership with each person, and that level can go up or down at any time.”
“You have no control over how much talent you possess. You control only what you do with it.”
“Leadership is accepting people where they are, then taking them somewhere.” —C.W. Perry
“Often to make themselves look better or to keep people from rising up and threatening them, positional leaders make other people feel small. How?
- By not having a genuine belief in them.
- By assuming people can’t instead of assuming they can.
- By assuming people won’t rather than believing they will.
- By seeing their problems more readily than their potential.
- By viewing them as liabilities instead of assets.”
“Anytime you think you’ve arrived—whether your position is the lowest or the highest in the organization—you’ve lowered your expectations for yourself, sold your leadership short, and fallen into a no-growth mind-set.”
“Above all else, good leaders are open. They go up, down, and around their organizations to reach people. They don’t stick to established channels. They’re informal. They’re straight with people. They make a religion out of being accessible.” —JackWelch
“You see, when there is danger, a good leader takes the front line. But when there is celebration, a good leader stays in the back room. If you want the cooperation of human beings around you, make them feel that they are important. And you do that by being humble.” —Nelson Mandela
“People will not get ahead with others unless they are willing to work behind others.”
“[Good leaders] have more than an open-door policy—they know the door swings both ways. They go through it and get out among their people to connect.”
“If you want to be successful on Level 2, you must think less in terms of systems and more in terms of people’s emotions. You must think more in terms of human capacity and less in terms of regulations. You must think more in terms of buy-in and less in terms of procedures. In other words, you must think of people before you try to achieve progress.”
“Care without candor creates dysfunctional relationships. Candor without care creates distant relationships. But care balanced with candor creates developing relationships. …Caring values the person while candor values the person’s potential. …Caring establishes the relationship while candor expands the relationship. … Caring defines the relationship while candor directs the relationship.”
“Before having a candid conversation, make sure you can answer yes to the following questions:
- Have I invested enough in the relationship to be candid with them?
- Do I truly value them as people?
- Am I sure this is their issue and not mine?
- Am I sure I’m not speaking up because I feel threatened?
- Is the issue more important than the relationships?
- Does this conversation clearly serve their interests and not just mine?
- Am I willing to invest time and energy to help them change?
- Am I willing to show them how to do something, not just say what’s wrong?
- Am I willing and able to set clear, specific expectations?”
“If achieving the vision is worth building the team, it is also worth risking the relationship. Building relationships and then risking them to advance the team creates tension for the leader. That tension will force you to make a choice: to shrink the vision or to stretch the people to reach it. If you want to do big things, you need to take people out of their comfort zones. They might fail. They might implode. They might relieve their own tension by fighting you or quitting. Risk always changes relationships. If you risk and win, then your people gain confidence. You have shared history that makes the relationship stronger. Trust increases. And the team is ready to take on even more difficult challenges. However, if you risk and fail, you lose relational credibility with your people and you will have to rebuild the relationships. Risk is always present in leadership. Anytime you try to move forward, there is risk. Even if you’re doing the right things, your risk isn’t reduced. But there is no progress without risk, so you need to get used to it.”
“You can issue all the memos and give all the motivational speeches you want, but if the rest of the people in your organization don’t see you putting forth your very best effort every single day, they won’t either.” —Colin Powell
“The job of a leader is to build a complementary team, where every strength is made effective and each weakness is made irrelevant.” —Stephen Covey
“If you want to be an effective leader, you must move from perfectionist to pragmatist.”
“Since you can’t prevent mistakes, why not adopt and attitude in which you and your team learn from them?”
“The individual leads in order that those who are led can develop their potential as human beings and thereby prosper.” —Socrates
“The highest goal of leadership is to develop leaders, not gain followers or do work.”
“Leadership is an opportunity to serve.” —J. Donald Walters
“No matter where you are in your leadership journey, never forget that what got you to where you are won’t get you to the next level.”
“The reality is that no one is indispensable. Worse, allowing others to become dependent does little more that satisfy a leader’s ego. It is a very limiting leadership style that has a very short life span. The first step in developing leaders is to have a desire to develop people so that they can succeed without you. …If you want to develop people, you must help them discover and build upon their strengths. That’s where people have the most potential to grow. Helping to develop their strengths is the only way to help leaders become world-class.”
“What you do daily, over time, becomes your legacy.”