The 5 Levels of Leadership: Quotes by John C. Maxwell

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "The 5 Levels of Leadership" by John C. Maxwell. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

Like this article? Sign up for a free trial here .

Are you looking for The 5 Levels of Leadership quotes by John C. Maxwell? What are some of the most noteworthy passages that highlight the author’s key ideas about leadership?

In his book, author John Maxwell describes five leadership levels, a roadmap to help you reach your full leadership potential. The following The 5 Levels of Leadership quotes highlight some of his key ideas about what makes a great leader and how to move up the leadership ladder.

Keep reading for The 5 Levels of Leadership quotes by John C. Maxwell.

The 5 Levels of Leadership: Quotes to Know

 In The 5 Levels of Leadership, John Maxwell gives a shape and form to something seemingly indefinable and provides a roadmap to help you reach your full leadership potential. You’ll learn how to go from being a boss to a real leader, how to get people to follow you, and how to use your leadership to build a legacy that stands the test of time. Below are a few quotes discussing some of his key ideas about leadership.

“Position is a poor substitute for influence.”

According to Maxwell, the position is just the starting point of leadership, not the destination. Positional leadership merely gives you a job title but no real influence—people only follow you because they have to.

The longer you remain a positional leader, the harder it is to break free from a no-growth mindset. To help you move beyond positional leadership, keep the following beliefs in mind:  

  1. A title is just a starting point. Having “CEO” or “PhD” attached to your name doesn’t mean much if you don’t add value. True leaders do good work even when they remain unrecognized because the impact of their work on others is its own reward. Stop chasing a title and start creating positive change.
  2. People are more important than position. Use your position to improve people, not the other way around. It takes time to polish people skills, but one thing you can start doing immediately is show interest in and appreciation for the people you work with.
  3. Showing weakness is OK. You don’t have to pretend you know everything. Your job isn’t to have all the answers; your job is to harness the power of the people around you so you can find the answers together.
  4. Collaboration is key. Leadership isn’t a solo act but a group effort. Communicate, collaborate, and send a strong message that your people are working with you, not for you. 

“When you like people and treat them like individuals who have value, you begin to develop influence with them. You develop trust.”

According to Maxwell, the key to developing influence is to connect with your subordinates on an emotional level. When you focus on communication and connection, it makes your people feel valued and included. This encourages them to go from compliance to cooperation and collaboration. Here are some tips to help you get there:

1. Know thyself. Before you can connect with other people, you need to know and like yourself. When you’re grounded in a strong sense of self, you don’t take other people’s opinions or criticisms too personally, which enables you to communicate more effectively rather than defensively.

2. Include people in the equation. While it’s good to fine-tune systems and processes, your progress ultimately lies in the people who run them. Even the best systems in the world won’t be successful if your people don’t buy into them. Once you understand what motivates your people, it will be easier to lead them.

3. Treat people as you want to be treated. Make sure you don’t cross the line from motivation to manipulation by keeping this Golden Rule in mind. It’s a core teaching in many cultures and religions for a reason—it makes each person feel respected and valued.

4. Lift people up instead of tearing them down. Be generous with praise. When people bask in the glow of your encouragement, they don’t want to disappoint you and are inspired to work hard.

5. Find the balance between caring and being candid. While it’s important to let your people know that you care about them, it’s just as important to let them know that they are still accountable and that you are invested in their growth. 

“Decide that people are worth the effort:”

People are an organization’s greatest asset. Tap into their potential and bring out the best in them, and you also bring out the best in the organization. The time you spend developing others will pay off not just by multiplying production but also by giving you the greatest fulfilment.

The 5 Levels of Leadership: Quotes by John C. Maxwell

———End of Preview———

Like what you just read? Read the rest of the world's best book summary and analysis of John C. Maxwell's "The 5 Levels of Leadership" at Shortform .

Here's what you'll find in our full The 5 Levels of Leadership summary :

  • How to go from being a leader in title only to a true leader
  • How to create a legacy as a leader
  • Why you have to help others move up after you've evolved as a leader

Darya Sinusoid

Darya’s love for reading started with fantasy novels (The LOTR trilogy is still her all-time-favorite). Growing up, however, she found herself transitioning to non-fiction, psychological, and self-help books. She has a degree in Psychology and a deep passion for the subject. She likes reading research-informed books that distill the workings of the human brain/mind/consciousness and thinking of ways to apply the insights to her own life. Some of her favorites include Thinking, Fast and Slow, How We Decide, and The Wisdom of the Enneagram.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.