The 4 Levels of Effective Leadership

The 4 Levels of Effective Leadership

Effective LeadershipBefore we dive into this post, I believe that it’s very important to define what leadership is. So many people have this misconception that people are just natural born leaders and very rarely is this the case. Effective leadership is a skill set that is typically developed and nurtured over a period of time.

So what does it mean to be an effective leader?

Leadership is the ability to influence those around you and those that serve alongside you. In essence, leadership is really a matter of influence – effective leadership is influence.

In this post, I want to debunk some common myths about what a leader is and share the 4 levels of effective leadership.

Common Myths About Effective Leadership

As previously mentioned above, leaders aren’t born – leaders are developed and are constantly in a state of growth. The world is constantly changing and as leaders we must be able to adapt to the various changing environments.

Another myth and big misconception about being an effective leader is this notion that just because you’re not in a specific position of leadership or that you don’t have a certain “title” that you’re not a leader. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Leadership isn’t based on titles, but rather, one can only lead to the capacity in which other people grant them the authority to do so.

Let me say that again – One can only lead to the capacity in which other people grant them the authority to do so.

You may know someone that is in a position of authority (leadership), but the cold hard truth is a position will only carry that person so far.

The truth is, you can wait tables and be a leader. You can be scrubbing toilets and be leader. If you don’t posses the ability to influence others without dependency on a title, then it’s time to learn about effective leadership.

The 4 Levels of Effective Leadership

1. The first (and lowest) level of leadership is a positional leader. Positional leaders look at external factors to base their role as a leader on. This might be a position that you promote to or a specific status in your environment. Perhaps finally getting that corner office with a window or a fancy lapel pin. Many positional leaders made demands and have the attitude of, “I’m the boss and you have to do it because I said so.” Many people on the journey to effective leadership reach this position and stop growing. In the corporate world, positional leadership will work to an extent because people are dependent on a paycheck – but the number one cause of attrition can also be credited to the positional leader. I’ve always said that if you can lead a group of volunteers, you can be successful anywhere. But in order to obtain this type of leadership ability, you must grow into the 2nd level of effective leadership…

2. The second level of effective leadership is a relational leader. This is the type of leadership that people want to follow because there is a relationship there. It’s not just “this is my paycheck” or “because I have to” – there’s a desire and a sense of comradery and a sense of community. It’s more than just a paycheck and it’s more than just work or a job. When you grow into a relational leadership role, you now have the ability to take people higher and begin to lead others at a higher level. A relational leader is servant leader. They don’t ask others to work for them, but rather, they ask others to work with them. One of the misconceptions about this level of effective leadership and being a relational leader is that you have to be “Mr. Nice Guy” and that people are going to walk all over you. Actually, I have found the opposite to be true. Because of the relationship and trust I’ve built with my team and those that I serve, they have granted me permission to speak into their lives – and THAT’S powerful!

Relationsl Leadership3. The third level of effective leadership is an operational leader. So you’ve laid down this foundation…you’re a positional leader and have grown into the 2nd level of effective leadership and have learned the relational skills to become a relational leader. These things are great…but now you have to be able to take your team somewhere. An operational leader is the person who begins displaying operational proficiency in their given area that gets his or her team to actually produce results. Whether you’re in ministry, real estate, network marketing, or any other kind of business or organization, YOU WANT TO PRODUCT RESULTS! Whatever our goals, we have to be proficient enough in what we’re doing to take the relationships we’ve build and take our team to the next level. The hallmark of an operational leader is continued education an self/personal development.

4. The fourth and top level of effective leadership is the developmental leader. Developmental leaders take the value they have and what’s on the inside of them and they deposit that value into others and raise them up. This level of effective leadership is the level of leadership that works themselves out of a job. As leaders we must reach a place where we are raising people up and duplicating ourselves. Without duplication, growth cannot and will not occur. Secure leaders are excited about raising other leaders up that ultimately may even do a better job than they did – and this is a testament to the type of legacy they will leave behind! Developmental leaders understand that success is not about them, but rather, it’s about depositing something on the inside of others to take them to the next level of success in their lives. In doing so, success then become a byproduct and is a 100% guarantee.

So again, the 4 levels of effective leadership are:

1. Positional Leader

2. Relational Leader

3. Operational Leader

4. Developmental Leader

If we’re going to be successful in our business and see the results we’re looking for, then we’re going to have to learn how to become effective leaders. My recommendation is to start by serving others. Reach out to someone and start building a relationship with them. Read books to start learning more about leadership. A book that I highly recommend is The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John Maxwell. Become a student of leadership and start taking small steps today towards becoming an effective leader. Realize that it’s not going to happen overnight and that there is no end in leadership – only growth.


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Committed To Your Success,


Leigh Ellis










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About The Author

Leigh Ellis

Just a decade ago in 2002, Leigh was a broke unemployed skeptic living in his car and bumming showers off of any friends that would let him over to clean up. Fast forward several years later, Leigh has seen success by building 2 successful traditional businesses of his own as well as obtaining leadership positions in 2 network marketing companies. With simplistic and practical application, Leigh mentors others on the true value of Attraction Marketing and teaches people exactly how to succeed in their business. Connect with Leigh on Facebook or . If you'd like to know more about how Leigh can help you build your business, then contact Leigh by Clicking Here

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