The 4 Levels of Business Leadership

April 23, 2024

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The 4 Levels of Business Leadership

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It has been said that if you want to grow yourself, grow a business. Few things will require you to know yourself and grow yourself more than this. In raising the lid of your strengths and going beyond your comfort zone, you will grow through the four levels of business leadership.

What are the 4 Levels of Business Leadership?


1. Establishment

This is where you take an idea that you have been incubating – perhaps for years – and bring it to life. At this level, you may wear all the hats in the business; and if you don’t do it, it won’t get done. You sacrifice to bootstrap your dream. Every decision is yours. You do the marketing, development, sales, and administration. You may not do them all well, but you do enough to establish your idea as a vetted, viable product or service that produces income. You are the Doer.

2. Experimentation

With a growing income and growing responsibilities, you realize you need to bring in key team members who can help you carry the load. This ushers in a period of experimentation, where you test your skills of management, tenacity, and creativity. You hire team members whose strengths complement yours, thus freeing your time to try new ideas and processes. Some will prove profitable, and some will not. But this is normal and expected. At the level of experimentation, you are learning what does and does not work for your clients and customers; and what fits your strengths, values, and goals, and what does not fit. You are defining your brand, and you are defining yourself. You are still the Doer to some degree, but you are also the Manager.

3. Expansion

With a well-defined product or service and brand, you can then expand the business. As the business grows, you also grow personally and professionally. With the focus on expansion, your bandwidth for being the Doer is quite limited. You must now focus on being the Manager, and on becoming a Leader. You can no longer be the sole decision maker in the business. You will need to delegate some authority to your team. And, together with your team, you will establish policies and procedures so the business and your team can rely more on the systems of the business than on you. This prepares you for the next level.

4. Escalation

This is where you begin to scale the business. It is the point where you have a solid team operating on an established system with proven products and services. This allows you to focus almost entirely on being the Leader of the organization.

As the leader, your role is multi-faceted: Self-leadership, internal leadership, and external leadership.

You will need to invest in yourself in order to grow your leadership skills. You will need to invest in your team in order to grow a team of leaders. And you will need to invest in your external leadership in order to expand your scope.


Do you have a growth plan?

Here’s the thing: Very few people have what it takes to go directly and immediately from Level 1 to Level 4 with good success.

This is because you are not only growing a business; you are growing yourself along the way. This is why many entrepreneurial businesses struggle with a succession plan. There may be an heir to the throne, so to speak, who has not had that proving ground of growth from Level 1 to 4 as the founder has had.

This is why it is important to strategically grow yourself into your business level by level, and to also grow the leaders who follow you in the same manner.


Action Steps

  1. Assess your current level in business.
  2. What do you need to grow to the next level?
  3. Who is at the level or levels before you?
  4. How can you help them grow to their next level?

For valuable resources on Discovering Your Strengths, click here.

Deb Ingino is a highly sought-after executive coach, mentor, consultant, and speaker worldwide. Deb is well versed in business operations and in the importance of asking key questions most business leaders won’t ask themselves. She brings deep experience in leadership development, strategy, high performance team building and effective communication. She has a passion for leading people to discover and maximize their strengths as well as those of fellow team members, while offering advanced strategies to achieve high performance. Deb is the perfect fit if you’re ready to take your leadership and impact to the next level!