Today we continue our look at how the 21 Laws of Leadership apply to the 5 Levels of Leadership. Today, Perry and Chris look at the Laws that apply to Level 5 and help you as you develop your legacy as a leader.

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Perry Holley:    Welcome to the John Maxwell Executive Leadership Podcast. Where our goal is to help you increase your reputation as a leader. Increase your ability to influence others and increase your ability to fully engage your team to deliver remarkable results.

Hi, I’m Perry Holly at John Maxwell, Facilitator and Coach.

Chris Goede:     And I’m Chris Goede, Vice President with the John Maxwell Company. Welcome and thank you for joining. I want to encourage you if this podcast or any of the podcasts or the series are adding value to you and your leadership journey. I want you to share it with somebody. Maybe share it with somebody that’s on your team. We have some organizations that share with their entire team and then they get together over lunch and just talk about it and how does that apply inside their organization. What they’re dealing with. Maybe share it with a friend or someone that’s in your family and hopefully it’ll add value to them as well.

Well, as we get started, if you want to download the learner guide, maybe you want to take a look at the blog that Perry writes, it compliments the podcast. Have a question or want to leave a comment please visit and you can do that there.

Well today’s topic as we wrap up a series that’s been a lot of fun for us. It’s been very easy for us to just kind of have conversations around. We’ve been taking John’s 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership and we’ve been picking a couple of them that are very relevant to each one of the levels in The 5 Levels of Leadership. Really it’s just turned out to be a great little development plan and tool for you as a leader and so that if there’re areas that you really want to work on. You really want to grow in regards to your influence with individuals, then I would encourage you to listen to each one of the levels and then go back and unpack the laws that we brought to you.

So today we’re wrapping up that series and today’s title is called The Laws of Leadership for the Level 5 leader.

Perry Holley:    Yeah and I’m going to want you to describe Level 5 in a moment. Just a remainder. In that learner guide I put a self-assessment just on these laws, just a few questions that might help you determine where you stand with each of the laws. That’s on all five of the learner guides that are out there. These are the 21 Laws we talk about it every week. It’s just so timeless. They’re strong still and the meanings are really relevant to what we’re talking about in today’s leadership journey. This comes up on almost every coaching call I have some level, some law pops in that I can share with someone.

So at Level 5 we’re going to talk about three today and before I get you to describe Level 5 I’ll just tell everyone that the law of today, The Law of Intuition. Leaders evaluate everything with a leadership bias. The Law of Timing. When to lead is as important as what to do and where to go. And the Law of Legacy. A leader’s lasting value is measured by succession.

Chris Goede:     Well, when you think about this last one that you just mentioned, The Law of Legacy. We’ll talk about it a little bit more in just a few minutes. It’s really what I think about at Level 5 of The 5 Levels of Leadership. John calls this the pinnacle level. It could be easily called The Legacy level. And remember, this level is given to you by others. It’s given to you by those that you have led over time and because of what you represent. The respect they have for you. The influence you’ve had on their life. They look at you and they say, “Hey, he or she has Level 5 influence with me.”

Now, not all of us will reach that level. Matter of fact I can promise you that everybody you have the chance to influence or lead, you won’t become a Level 5 leader for them. You won’t have that type of influence.

Here’s a question for you to kind of bring this to light. Who’s the greatest leader that you’ve ever had the privilege of working with? Working for? Serving with? Maybe you being on a team and that individual was a coach. Maybe it’s a family member. I want you to think about that individual. And now as you think about that individual I want you to think about the journey you’ve had with them. Because I almost guarantee that leader that you just thought of has Level 5 influence with you. They started with a title, Level 1. They connected with you, built relationships at Level 2. You produce together, you’ve seen them produce at Level 3. They developed, they mentored, they poured into you at Level 4 and now you look at that individual and they have Level 5 influence.

And so that’s where we’re going today with these laws. We’re going to talk about the laws that relate to those that have Level 5 influence.

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Perry Holley:    And John mentions that Level 5 is not a resting place. It’s, it’s a level-

Chris Goede:     Very active.

Perry Holley:    that you’re given by others. But it’s really important that you don’t stop when you, it’s like, “Woo. I made it to the top. I’m I’m done”. No, your influence at this level allows you to lift other leaders and to tackle tough problem. Either inside your organization or outside. It’s just a great level where people follow you because of the respect they have for you.

The first law I would love to dive into is the Law of Intuition; that leaders evaluate everything with a leadership bias. What in the world’s a leadership bias.

Chris Goede:     Yeah. This is an interesting law and I think some of us have this a little more naturally than others. It’s really the ability to experience kind of immediate insight without really thinking about it, without rational thought. One of the things I think you mentioned here, I don’t know if you put it in the learner guide or not but I love this statement, which is, “Everyone is intuitive in their area of giftedness”. So I don’t think you have overall intuition, but I think all of us are intuitive in our area of giftedness. I would look at a lot of the Level 5 leaders in my life that have Level 5 influence with me and I would say that they are very intuitive with leadership. It’s something that they’re gifted with. Yes, have they worked and developed it and enhanced it? Absolutely. But there’s a gift there.

And then, when I think about Law of Intuition. If I pull back for a minute. We talk specifically about this law. I think this is based on facts and instincts, not just facts. I tend to go just facts. I’m an analyzer by trade. I’m like, I got to cross the Ts, dot the Is and then I got to look back to make sure the Ts are cross and meanwhile people are just moving without me. You got to kind of lean on the facts and your instincts and some other variables.

I also think that intuitive people while they make decisions quickly they’re not afraid to make big decisions even if they slow down a little bit. They’ll make decisions pretty quick, but they know it’s a big decision they’ll slow down a little bit, but they still end up going with their intuitive part of this.

I think intuitive people. My last comment about this, when I think about this and I think about to your point that you gave us here, which was, we’re usually intuitive in our gifted areas. I think intuitive people are passionate about their areas of giftedness. You can see it, you can feel it and you can know where their Law of Intuition falls in that area.

Perry Holley:    Yeah. You seem to know what to do because you’re passionate about it. I get that. Well the question we always hear is, “Are leaders born or made?” But I think everyone can learn leadership, but that if you have the one of those natural tendencies you may have that natural intuition. But it can be learned and so we’ve talked about that at the earlier as Levels of Leadership. With the right experience and ability to reflect on leadership, successes and failures you can develop leadership intuition, I believe as well. That’s what John teaches, is that you can develop this intuition over time and it’s definitely worth having.

The second law I’m going to look at today was called The Law of Timing. When to lead is as important as what do and where to go. How does that one show up?

Chris Goede:     Yeah. I think timing here is not only kind of when to lead time-wise, but even just timing on decisions that you make. Because I do believe timing is everything. I think this law has bigger ramifications than some of the other laws as you kind of go through this and at Level 5 you have so much experience and credibility here as a leader that you can often really act on a hunch. It’s similar to what we’re talking about with intuition. When it comes to timing. People follow you because of who you are. What you’ve done. So you kind of know the timing and the pace of which to make decisions. If you’re not a Level 5 leader you don’t have Level 5 influence you’re probably going to need even more facts and more data and evidence to guide the timing on the decisions you make or what you do. But at Level 5 you kind of trust your hunches there.

I think a great exercise around this law, kind of stepping out of the Level 5 influence. But I think that a lot of Level 5 leaders do this, is that they will evaluate decisions that they’ve made and ask the question, was the timing right there? They will go back and reflect on experiences and ask themselves, did I act too quick here? Did I wait too long here? And they asked the timing question of themselves when they evaluate experiences, projects, decisions.

Because I think people underestimate the power of The Law of Timing. I think when you get to that level of leadership and you have that level of influence you have time to be able to kind of think back and do that, and you evaluate that.

Perry Holley:    Well, it’s been a tougher law for me over the years to really put into play. I think oftentimes I act too quickly because I’ve been trained to think, well, you’re the leader. You must know what to do. You’re the leader. You must have the answer. You’re the leader. Go, and I’m way up-

Chris Goede:     Shoot first, aim later.

Perry Holley:    Yeah, it’s right. Ready? Fire. Aim.

Chris Goede:     Go.

Perry Holley:    Yeah. But to sometimes have to slow down you have to make the timing right. I’m always tempted to be the one of the step up and give my point of view and now I’m learning that may not be the right timing that I should ask others to step up before I share my point of view. Invite others to have a voice. There are times when you need to speed up. There are times, go back to the intuition. We talked, do you have the intuition about when the timing is right to do that? So it’s a great law and something most of us need to think more about.

The final law for today is when we’re hoping to get to and really just defines this whole level as The Law of Legacy that your leader’s lasting value is measured by succession. Your thoughts?

Chris Goede:     This is really about your reputation as a leader outlasting you. Period. And John talks about this and he says, “When you are gone people are going to summarize your life in one sentence”. What is that? What do you want it to be known? What do you want to be known for in that one sentence?

We do some great exercises with some leaders where we make them sit down and reflect and say, “What is it that you want to be known for? What is the legacy that you want to leave? Not only with your family, but as a leader. What do you want to be known for? What do you want to be remembered for?” and then we’ll challenge them to come back and say, “Okay, are you living that out right now?” Like in The Law of Legacy and to get Level 5 influence with people, are living out and driving that type of response and outcome from people in your leadership right now?

Perry Holley:    I want to ask you. I was on a coaching call this morning. It was called 12 of 12. It was our last call and it’s usually a legacy conversation. The person I was coaching said, “I find that question to be arrogant” about legacy and I said, “Well, tell me what’s the question”. He goes, “How do I want people to remember me?” and I said, “No, that’s not the question. It’s a little twist on the words, but it’s how do you want to be remembered by people?” and so he was thinking about it, “Do I want to manipulate people to think a way about me?” I said, “No, you want to think about what do you want to be known for when you’re gone?” and I don’t mean dead. It means maybe you retired. Maybe you went to another job. Maybe you left the organization.

Chris Goede:     Yeah, that’s right.

Perry Holley:    When they think back about, “Wow, Chris was here. I remember when Chris…” What do you want to be remembered for? That then allows you to set-

Chris Goede:     I like that.

Perry Holley:    But actually got him because he goes, “Oh I lose a twist of words, but big difference in meaning. Is that I’m not manipulating people to think of me. I’m thinking about how do I want to leave people?” And I’m actually thinking now at my age about what not leaving stuff to people, leaving stuff in people and I just love the idea about being the legacy. But what you do daily over time becomes that legacy and I wish I had considered that when I was younger as well. It’s funny how a lot of these laws keep coming up. But anyway, I want you to wrap it up.

Chris Goede:     Yes, as I wrap up I want to take just a minute and camp out on that comment you just made, which is, as we begin thinking about leading people and having Level 5 influence, the greatest privilege that we have is to add value, to impact on leader’s lives.

And what I want to encourage you to think about and this encompasses so many of the levels of 5 Levels of Leadership, which is Perry statement of, “I want to leave things in people, not for people”. What is it that I’m doing to connect with them. To make them a better person? What is it that I’m doing to produce to help them become a better production? What am I doing to develop them as an individual personally and professionally? And you think about all these levels and you think about that statement. In essence, if we do that well, that will be our legacy.

So today we talked about The Law of Intuition. The Law of Timing. The Law of Legacy. What’s interesting about these three laws is, outside of The Law of Timing the other two are not extremely action oriented. It can be a learned behavior and you become aware of it. I think it’s the same thing when you get to this level. Remember, you don’t get to decide if you’re a Level 5 leader, you have Level 5 influence. There’s nothing you can do at this level to make you a Level 5 leader. It’s what you have done. Levels 2, 3 and 4, that then bring you to this level.

I think that’s the same thing with the legacy is what do you want to be remembered for? That’s not just something you make as a statement as you’re leaving an organization or you’re leaving a team. It’s a combination. It’s a body of work of how you have connected and led people.

And remember, we’re in the people business and people matter. It all starts with people.

Perry Holley:    That’s right. Well, thank you Chris. Great stuff. You can find that learner guide with the self-assessment at You can also learn more about The 5 Levels or 360° Leader. You can leave a comment or a question for us there. We always love hearing from you and always grateful that you would spend this time with us. That’s all today from the John Maxwell Executive Leadership Podcast.

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