We tend not to think of driving instructors as leaders.
We may think of ourselves as:
John Maxwell in his book “Developing the Leader Within You” describes leadership as Influence.
Using this definition every driving instructor is a leader. Because every driving instructor should be influencing their customers.
When we think of leadership we may think of great leaders like Churchill. But this is not very helpful – not everyone needs to be a Churchill, but everyone needs to be a leader, even if it’s just leading themselves!
Maxwell describes five levels of leadership and we can relate them to some important principles in the driver training industry as well as every day life.
- Level 1 — Position.
- Level 2 — Permission.
- Level 3 — Production.
- Level 4 — People Development.
- Level 5 — Pinnacle.
Many people operate at the position level of leadership. This is where you lead because you have been given a position. This is reflected in the driver training industry as those instructors who give instruction and expect to be obeyed because they are the instructor. This level of leadership can be characterised simply as “do what I tell you”. It is useful in some situations eg an emergency or crisis.
At the permission level there is a relationship. people follow you, do what you say because they trust you. But this is still a low level of leadership for someone in the driver training profession to be operating at.
Production is the level where things start to happen. You are getting results. The business is getting results. High pass rates and new enquiries.
However it is at the People development level that instructors need to operate. Instructors who use the old school instructional approach will struggle to operate at this level. At this level you are finding out the other persons goals and helping them to achieve them. This is what we might call client centred learning. The focus is not on us and what we want to achieve but the client, their goals and aspirations.
Beyond this is the pinnacle. These are leaders who through wisdom and experience are industry or business leaders, those who have been there and done it. Few reach it to that level. But that’s ok.