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WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE A GOOD LEADER? A LESSON IN LEADERSHIP
Recently, we’ve had to do a lot of team rebuilding. This has left us a little short-handed at times. If you’ve called the office a couple of months ago and were not able to get through, or your call was not returned as promptly as in the past, I sincerely apologize. Please know that we have recently made some stellar hires, and we are building our team bigger and better than ever. In order to be a better practice and better serve our clients, I am also working to become a better leader. As with anything you want to do in life, the first step is to learn. Fortunately, there’s a book on just about any topic. To be a better leader, I’m getting expert advice from great leaders across industries. Since I don’t have much time to read, I often listen to audiobooks in the car. Lately, I’ve been listening to John Maxwell’s “The 5 Levels of Leadership.” Maxwell is a speaker, pastor, and leadership expert. He wrote this book after studying leadership at tons of different organizations, as well as in the United States Military and the NFL. Maxwell found that, no matter how different a company or organization may be, there are specific characteristics and habits certain leaders have that determine their success. These are the Five Levels of Leadership. Level 1: Position This is the lowest form of leadership. On this level, people are just banging their fist on the table and saying, “I’m the boss. I have this position so you have to listen to me.” I think everyone has had this kind of boss or supervisor. When you work for someone like
this, you’re not eager to do more than the bare minimum. There’s no mutual respect, and neither the boss nor the company they are running will ever grow if they remain at this level. Level 2: Permission At this level, people follow their boss because they want to. Leaders at this level have been able to establish relationships with the people they’re managing and earn their trust. Level 3: Production If I had to guess, I would say I’m at this level as a leader. This is where people follow you because of what you’ve done for the organization. These are leaders who are able to get results. Level 4: People Development At level four, leaders go beyond just improving the company. They are able to help the people who work for them improve themselves. In the book, Maxwell says that leaders at this level are successful because they remember that people are not machines; they are people, and people are not perfect. People need to be developed, and sometimes this can get messy. He quotes the late Billy Graham, who once said, “Everybody has a little Watergate in them.” People are going to make mistakes. Rather than condemn someone for their weaknesses, strong leaders mentor, celebrate, and improve each team member’s strengths and look for ways to support those who are willing to
work hard and improve themselves. The goal is to develop team members into leaders themselves so the organization can be more effective and grow. Level 5: Pinnacle This is the level every leader should strive for. At this level, people follow you because of who you are and what you represent. They respect you. These are the kind of leaders people from every industry can look to and learn from. I’ve listened to a couple of audiobooks on leadership recently, and this one is my favorite. I plan on revisiting it again many times. The thing about each of these levels is that, if you as a leader aren’t constantly working to improve yourself, you’ll drop down. Even leaders who are at the pinnacle can backslide if they get complacent. I want to be a better leader. I know I have a lot of learning and some growing to do, but listening to “The 5 Levels of Leadership” made me realize that I can get there. In fact, one of the points John Maxwell makes is that if you think you have nothing else to learn, you are finished. It’s exciting to think about seeing how my new leadership skills can translate into continued improvement on the execution of our main mission: to help those whose lives have been disrupted by serious injury restart and reshape their future.
If you belong to a union or other labor-related group and want to schedule my presentation at your group’s speaking arrangement, you can do so by calling 888-694-7994 . The presentation is free of charge, offers important information for taking appropriate action in Virginia workers’ compensation cases, and everyone in attendance gets a free copy of my book, “10 Traps and Lies That Can Ruin Your Virginia Workers’ Compensation Case.” Education is the best way to protect yourself from making a mistake. So call now, before it’s too late.
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