Increase your Influence

5 levels of leadership

Increase Your Influence

About 2 years ago, I read the book, Five Levels of Leadership by John Maxwell. Recently, I have been reflecting on the importance of level 4. Level 4 is all about developing people within your organization. You have reached level 4 when people grow into leaders. Leaders must put aside their own egos to allow others to grow into leaders. This post is about challenging the importance you place on developing future leaders. The great leaders increase their influence by empowering others to be great!

Hayden Fry – Developer of Talent

First of all, I must admit that I am a lifelong Hawkeye Football fan. Having said that, I cannot think of a better example of a leader who understood the importance of growing leaders. Please take a look at all the college football coaches Hayden Fry directly or indirectly impacted (see below). While Coach Fry’s success in the win column was impressive, his legacy of developing leaders continues to make a huge impact. The number of universities who have benefitted from Fry’s belief in developing leaders cannot truly be measured.


What will your leadership tree look like when you retire?

 Leadership Flow Chart

Coach Fry career record: 37 Years, 230-180-10, .560 winning pct.

Great leaders realize their success comes from creating a team with spirited individuals ready to learn, follow and/or take the lead. Those selected individuals who wish to lead have to be fueled, empowered, recognized, and allowed to take risks so they can grow. The leader of a team must allow his or her people to take ownership and develop their own skills, so the whole organization can flourish.

If you are asking for teammates to support the mission then you must realize that you have to be ready and willing to add value to their personal development too. Sometimes this may mean you have to support them even if they outgrow your own mentoring or coaching capabilities. However, do not let this discourage you from pouring your heart and soul into creating passionate, bold, and influential leaders. After all, Hayden Fry created leaders who eventually grew beyond his field, but he can say he has had a hand in changing the world because of his coaching and mentoring.

JAck Welch

As always, I leave you with an exercise that you can do with your school staff to help remind educators why we are in the business of making the world a better place.

#Oneperson Action Item

If you are looking for a fun way to start or end a faculty meeting or professional development session, try the link below. This link allows you to do a quick game with your staff. We need more fun in our schools!



  1. Joel,

    This is phenomenal! I’ve often thought that leadership is not about being the smartest person, leadership is about putting people in spots to succeed and then believing in them.

    I emulate my leadership style as more of a coach and not a dictator. I believe in my teachers and I try my hardest to break down barriers and let them be the professionals.

    Two things that I will keep forever are: The first chart (5 levels of leadership) and the Jack Welch quote.

    Love this post! Thanks for sharing Joel.


  2. Joel, this is great stuff. I always enjoy the “family trees” we can identify throughout the sports world, the best of which lead to deep infuence and impact. The leadership role played by teachers does this with students. And when we move to the administrative ranks, the decisions we make and relationships we forge, while less direct, have a critical impact on a community of learners. This is why we must never take this responsibility for granted. Our influence will outlast out time and will become our legacy.

    I’ve been a huge “Jack” fan for a long time, not only for his no-nonsense approach in pursuit of organizational (team) excellence but for the manner in which he has done it – by putting others, first.

    Thanks for sharing!


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