When it comes to being a leader, we are all on different journeys and paths. But overall, most of us (or the leaders in our company) fall within one of three categories. And understanding what each category consists of will help us not only identify where our leaders are at present but also where they need support and development to grow in their positions. So, whether it is you or your key team members, understanding where you fall on the scale is the first step to becoming a better leader for your team.

Level One Leader

This is the leader who is just starting out. They're early in their management career and maybe this is their first real opportunity to be a manager. Maybe they supervised a few people prior but they really have not mastered the skills needed to be a manager, so they are learning as they go. And they may remain at this level for a while, depending on their desire and capacity for growth. Typically, a level one leader doesn't have a lot of reach or leverage in the company. Everything kind of revolves around them, and they can only affect those in their orbit. 

Level Two Leader

After a while, most leaders will reach level two. And at level two, they become a proficient manager. At this point, they're starting to have some control. They're starting to have an impact on the business and the outcomes they are responsible for. They're starting to be able to effectively direct other people to align with the business's goals and to harness and pull people in the same direction. But a level two leader typically has no depth in what they can control. The influence that they exert is because they're there in the system pushing and directing and playing the traffic cop. And it works to a degree. This is a solid manager.  But they're limited or constrained by themselves and are unable to affect global change within the organization.  

Level Three Leader

The third level of leadership is where we get the real leaders. This leader now is proficient. They're good at what they do. They're more than just a manager. At this stage, you have someone who's empowering their people, developing their people, directing their people, aligning their people, and doing all those right things. And at this stage they have depth in their leadership to make a big impact. Because they now have the leverage to not only grow as a leader but to help develop and grow other leaders in the organization. And this is where everyone is ultimately headed, the third level of leadership. 

This kind of leadership doesn't happen overnight, it takes years to get here, and some leaders never make it past the first or second level. Or they struggle for years before finding a manager or leadership coach who will help them grow and develop. And over time, with deliberate practice, they become more skilled and develop into the third level of leadership.