INWE 34 | Leadership Lesson


We’ve all experienced difficult leaders, and hopefully, you’ve been able to enjoy incredible leadership as well. So, what kind of leader are you? Tune in to hear about the leadership revelations that changed the way I do business.

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The Leadership Lesson That Changed My Life

One night we took our kids to the county fair, the demolition derby. If you’ve never done a demolition derby or something along that line, you truly missed out on a unique experience. The boys were loving it but Kara and I were getting sprayed with mud. It’s a super loud and very interesting crowd, to say the least, that I don’t quite know if we fit in well. We embraced it and the whole county fair experience with all the treats. That was one cheat day. I’m going to take it usually per year, where it’s a massive fail intentionally. Do you like fair food? How do you not love it?

They got steak tips. That’s got a huge long line every year. We do the fries. You got the elephant ear, big lemonade, and freshly squeezed kettle corn. I did it all. I’m not going to lie. I paid the price after but the promise was worth the price. Make sure that you are sticking to your plans and disciplines but every now and then, it’s okay to live a little bit.

In this episode, I’m going to talk to you about The 5 Levels of Leadership. This changed my life. It’s by John Maxwell. The date is November 17, 2012. I can’t believe it has been many years ago when Brad Harris, one of my mentors, gave me this book. It was life-changing. Although this is a wealth creation and finance and investing show, it’s also entrepreneurialism.

All Great Leaders Are Learners

Along with that, I believe that in entrepreneurialism, to earn the most you are capable of earning, leadership development is crucial. Leaders get the pay. All great leaders are readers. I know somebody will be like, “I don’t like to read. I like to listen.” That’s fine too. You are learners. All leaders are learners. Before I dive into this book, if you are getting value out of this show, there are a couple of things that you can do for proper value exchange.

This is the only way that it should work, share, like, comment, engage, and give a five-star review. If you are getting value as you come away with from an episode, you are like, “That was insightful. That was helpful. That gave me a whole new perspective. I learned about a new investment strategy. I learned about a new way of thinking and being,” any of that, please share the show. That’s the only way that this is going to grow for me to reach more people.

I’m not doing this show for money. I don’t have any problem with anybody that does. I, in fact, will monetize this platform at some point. That’s not the goal. The overriding goal is to make a difference in other people’s lives and to mentor younger men and women on how to become more successful in life, business, and finance. That’s the way the game of life should be played. If there’s value exchanged, the value should be rewarded.

Reward me with some shares engagement. There’s nobody that I haven’t responded to that I’m aware of that has asked a question on the platform or my Instagram account. Any engagement in any part of my platform, I will respond. What I’m here to do is to help serve you. Let’s dive into The 5 Levels Of Leadership. This was incredibly impactful.

I remember I was struggling in business at this time. In 2012, I wasn’t getting any traction. I wasn’t growing. I was very disillusioned and discontented and knowing that I had a lot more potential but I seemed stuck and flat. I met with Brad Harris, who’s on my show. He did the Leadership Gold, and it was life-changing. I wanted to share that lesson with you.

Positional Leaders

I’m going to go through the five levels. The first level of leadership is called Positional Leadership. This is where you have rights. The main theme here is that people follow you because they have to. Think about who you see as a level-one leader in your life. I’m sure that your organization is a part of your teams, in your company or in your job. I’m sure that you could recognize this right away when we describe them. The position is the lowest level of leadership.

“People follow because they have to.” This is based on the rights granted by the position and the title. Nothing is wrong with having a leadership position but everything is wrong with using a position to get people to follow you. The position is a very poor substitute for influence. People who make it to level one are probably bosses. They have subordinates and don’t have team members.

Position is a very poor substitute for influence. Share on X

They rely on rules, regulations, policies, and org charts to control their people. The only reason that anybody will do anything is that it’s required. Positional leaders have difficulty working with volunteers with younger people, with the higher educated because these people usually tend to be more independent. I was stuck as a level 1 leader, even though I thought I was a level 3 or 4 leaders, because I skipped a step.

Permission Leaders

What was transformational for me is that to move up the levels of leadership, then you need to be thinking about, embracing each one, and mastering each level before you are able to move up. This was the level that I skipped. It’s called level two Permission. This is based on relationships. On this level, people are giving you permission to lead them. They follow you because they want to. When you like people and treat them like individuals who have value, you begin to develop influence. You develop trust. The environment becomes a lot more positive.

Production And Results-Oriented Leaders

The agenda for leaders on level 2 is a lot different than level 1. They are not there at level two to preserve their position. A true level two leader takes time to get to know their people and figure out how to get along with them. They find out who their people are. They build solid, lasting relationships. This is where I was skipping this level to go to level three, which is the Production or the Results. I was a very production and results-oriented leader, and I still am to a certain extent. I value results, hard work, and high levels of effort.

I don’t have much time, energy or care to devote to people that aren’t putting their everything into whatever they are doing. I feel that’s a lack of discipline and laziness. I don’t have any room for that in my life in my businesses. One of the sayings on level two is that, “You can like people without leading them, but you cannot lead people well without liking them.” When I was skipping over this level, I was focused on the numbers of production that I was doing that I was like, “Why are you guys not doing this? Why are you not following me? Why are you not growing?” because they didn’t think that I cared.

One of the things Brad said was, “Here’s what you got to do. You may not be getting along with this person or this person on your team. Throw all that out, send them a message, and tell them how much you care, believe, and how proud you are of them. You don’t have to do all those in one message but start reaching out proactively and turn yourself into the chief encouraging officer instead of where you think you are as the chief executive officer.”

That’s what the real deal is with the CEO. I’ve embraced it. It’s the Chief Encouraging Officer. I know I got to get better at this. I know anybody who works with me is probably like, “You don’t lay enough praise on.” I’m sure I don’t. I’m better than where I was many years ago on November 17th, this pivotal crucial conversation. I’m 100% clear. I’m 500% to 1,000% better than where I was then.

One of the dangers of getting to the permission level is that you couldn’t be tempted to stop there. Good leaders don’t create a pleasant working environment. They get shit done. That’s why you’ve got to move up to level three, which is based on results. I love that word. That’s probably one of my favorite words. I loved it when I went to James Ray’s seminar many years ago. He was on my show, The Business of Redemption, the title is From $20 million Debt & Darkness… Meet The Comeback King. That was a super incredible interview from a man who was on the stage of Oprah Winfrey to the darkest solitary confinement prison hole that you can possibly conjure up.

One of the things he said is that, “No results do not equal results, plus a good story.” It’s either result, there are results or there are no results but you can’t say, “I didn’t get this result because of this,” the good story. It doesn’t produce results for you. On level three, you don’t have a good story. You don’t have any excuses. You produce results. That creates influence and credibility, and people begin following you because of what you’ve done for the organization.

INWE 34 | Leadership Lesson

Leadership Lesson: Don’t have any excuses. Produce results. That creates influence and credibility.


Many great things happen to people when they get to level three. More work gets done, morale improves, and profits go up in a business. Unless you are a charitable organization, profitability is paramount. You can sustain an unprofitable or even low-profitability business for too long. Even if it’s in your passion zone, you are going to get burned out.

You are going to start questioning what you are doing. Everybody needs to generate profits to sustain an organization. Turnover goes down. More goals are achieved. When you hit this leading and influence, others become a lot more fun. As legendary NFL quarterback Joe Namath said, “When you are winning, nothing hurts.” That’s true. Winning solves so much for me and then leads to level four. You start producing results.

People Development Leaders

Level four is called People Development. Leaders become great not because of their power but because of their ability to empower others. That’s the main goal of this platform. It’s not the profitability of the platform. Although I absolutely need to start generating some revenue to build a platform at this level of what I’m doing, with all the things that go into it. You would be surprised how many things I add up to build a platform like what I’m building but I do need to generate revenue and profits to be able to sustain this. That’s not the main goal. The main goal is to develop other human beings.

Leaders become great because they hit level four. They use their position, level one. They use their relationships at level two. They use their productivity at level three to invest in their followers, the people that they are leading to develop them until those followers become leaders on their own. The result of level four is reproduction. This is where you are able to reach thousands of people. Some directly through your message and direct influence.

You multiply yourself exponentially because you are reaching people with your message and philosophy through the leadership of other people reaching more people whatever religion that you follow. I embrace everybody on this platform. This is not a specific ideology in terms of religion. There’s certainly what everybody to feel comfortable being on this platform, no matter what those beliefs are.

If you look at Jesus Christ as an example, he developed twelve leaders. It started with 12 but went down to 11. Even out of that, there were 1, 2 or 3 that were most instrumental in passing the Christian message along. One leader who reproduced and duplicated himself into other people now has millions of people around the globe that have been reached by that philosophy and message. “Production can win games but people development wins championships.”

Production can win games, but people development wins championships. Share on X

There are two things that always happen when you reach or someone reaches a level four level of leadership. First, teamwork goes to a very high level. Why? The high investment of people deepens relationships, helps people to know one another better and strengthens loyalty. Second, performance increases even to a higher level. Why? There are more leaders on the team, and they help to improve everybody’s performance.

If you want to have a business or an investment that has true passive income, where you don’t have to be involved in day-to-day operations, and you don’t have to be sucked into the day-to-day grind, then the only way for that to happen is that there has to be a leader running the show. I think about my favorite investment, self-storage. I love self-storage because it’s such a passive investment for me but why? It’s because the leadership team that’s running the limited partnership fund that I’m invested in that’s going out and looking at 100 deals, only finding one that works.

That’s renovating the abandoned Kmarts, turning them into this incredible cashflow-producing storage lockers. That’s got the connections to sell the storage units out to these big investment hedge funds and retirement funds. He is creating these huge profitable exits at the end. There’s a leadership team in place. There are great leaders that are running that operation. I’m not that guy. I’m investing in the leadership team that’s running that operation.

Level four leaders change the lives of the people that they lead. How is that storage unit team not glamorous? If I say that, you are like, “That’s not glamorous by any stretch.” They are changing my life because they are giving me the ability to create passive income so that I can stay focused on doing what my zone of genius is and what I’m great at. That is pouring into other people, teaching finance, relationships, and leadership development, pouring in, and empowering. I’m trying to work on that level four people development right here on the show.

Pinnacle Leaders

That leads to level five, The Pinnacle. This is where very few people reach. I don’t know that I will ever reach this in my lifetime. I’m going to strive to do it. If you think about level five pinnacle leaders who come to mind, for me, it’s Jim Rohn. This is the highest and most difficult level. It requires a high level of talent but not only that. Effort, skill, intentionality, and only naturally gifted leaders ever make it to this high level. What do the people do on level five? They develop people to become level-four leaders.

If people are respectful, pleasant, and productive, they can establish a degree of influence with others and gain followers with relative ease. There’s never anything easy about leadership but developing followers to lead on their own is very difficult. It takes much more work. Developing leaders to the point where they are able and willing to develop other leaders is certainly the most difficult task of all but this is where you create a legacy.

INWE 34 | Leadership Lesson

Leadership Lesson: Developing leaders to the point where they’re able and willing to develop other leaders is the most difficult task, but this is where you create a legacy.


I don’t know who you ultimately want to be. I can tell you this. You want to start thinking about where you are on these five levels of leadership. One of my teammates sent me a text, “Is this person that I’m working with a level one leader?” I’m like, “They are. That’s pretty obvious.” No relationships. There’s very little productivity. Certainly, hasn’t developed anybody as a leader and maybe could take credit for that but that has never been the case. Somebody else developed them as a leader.

That leader has stuck at level one and probably always will be until they embrace the fact and become self-aware that they need to grow. Part of this exercise is to start thinking about for yourself. Where do you fall? It can also vary in terms of looking at different people like, “Where do you fall in line with certain people in your life?” There are certain people that probably, there’s a handful that I would say I’m close to a level five leader. Maybe I could count to five. They might not even say that. That’s the way it’s occurring to me as I talk this through.

I’ve helped some people to develop their leadership so that they become leaders of others. There’s probably more like a level four. Level five is you show up. It’s who you are and who you’ve become. That makes all the difference in the world. I know that there are people, though, who have a level-one style of leadership because they didn’t like what I had to say when things didn’t go their way. I responded, and they responded in a certain way and said, “Don’t respond that way.” Now, we don’t have any relationship.

They don’t care about the production that I’ve done. I’m back to a stage one leader with that person. That’s going to happen. That’s okay. I will embrace that. I always do the very best that I can with everybody that I’m leading and then let the pieces fall where they may. Think about this. Where are you overall do you think about these stages? Where are you at with individual people? Start thinking through people in your life like, “Which level am I at with them? Am I level one? Am I a positional leader with them? Maybe I’m a level four. I helped them to develop their leadership to where they are developing other leaders as well.”

I hope this helps you, guys. I wanted to crank out some real value for you guys before I went off. I’m taking the family to Ohio to visit my parents. It has been a long time since we’ve spent some time with them, a couple of years pre-COVID. I’m super excited about that. I’m going on a fishing trip. As soon as I get back, we are taking our kids out for one last hurrah before school starts.

I hope this made a difference to you. I appreciate the kind words that you are sharing on social media and some of the texts that I’ve received about the show. I value that kind of feedback and that encouragement. That’s the fuel and energy I need to keep me going. I love you all. Have a great day. We will see you in the next episode.


Important Links

  We’ve all experienced difficult leaders, and hopefully, you’ve been able to enjoy incredible leadership as well. So, what kind of leader are you? Tune in to hear about the leadership revelations that changed the way I do business. — Listen to the podcast here   The Leadership Lesson That Changed My Life One night we took […]