Level Up, Week 3: PositionBy
Welcome to Week 3 of our group study of The 5 Levels of Leadership! This week we are studying Level 1: Position. The thing about position is, those who don’t have one, think that’s what they need to lead. But those who do have a position understand how little power it actually gives them in the long run. When you have no leadership experience, position seems like the only way to lead. True, it does often provide opportunity. But if a leader doesn’t grow in the levels of leadership, then position becomes a limitation.
As you facilitate discussion, keep in mind the various points of view that might be present in your group. Some might have never led. Some might have had a position that resulted in a bad leadership experience. Others might be in a new position and see it as an opportunity. Still others might have been leading at Level 1 for a long time, and be unaware of its limitations. Your goal is to help every member of the group see the possibilities of growing in leadership beyond position.
Level 2: Position, pages 83-129
(We will discuss this reading assignment in NEXT WEEK’S post.)
DISCUSSION (Facilitator’s Guide):
1. (Icebreaker) What was your favorite game as a child (excluding sports and video games)? Examples include: board games, card games, playground games, and party games. Why did you enjoy that game so much? What type of game did you least like to play and why?
2. Think about your first leadership position. At the time did you see it more as opportunity or obligation? How did it turn out?
3. Why do you think the book says that turnover is high for positional leaders?
4. What does it mean for you when the book says, “Leave your position and move toward your people”? Why is that important?
5. Can you think of an example of an excellent leader you’ve worked with who never used position to lead? Talk about that person. What made him or her excellent?
6. Up to now, how much have you relied on position for leadership in your career?
7. What would you need to change to lead without using your position?
This week’s assignment has two parts. First, identify a leadership model to learn from. Make a list of leaders who model the kind leadership that you aspire to. Study that person, writing down the characteristics that make them a good leader. If a biography has been written about them, read it and take notes. If not, find out what you can about them through news and online resources. Studying a model is a great way to start growing as a leader.
The second part is to find a leadership coach, which I also suggest on page 80 of The 5 Levels of Leadership. This week, think about leaders you know and admire who are two or more career steps ahead of you in leadership. Try to get one of them to agree to sit down with you once every month or two and answer leadership questions.
In the comments section, the questions are threaded so you can answer each individually if you’d like. (This makes it easier for others to find them and contribute to the discussion.) But please feel free to answer all questions in one comment if that serves you better.