Level 5 leadership

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Level 5 leadership is Jim Collins' term for the leadership demonstrated by leaders of what he defines as ""great"" companies, those that have gone from ""good"" to ""great."" The previously good companies had to be led to greatness, they were not just born into greatness. See good-to-great for more information.

Level 5 leadership -- consists of the duality, some would consider to be paradoxical, of professional will and personal humility

  • Professional will --
    1. Creates superb results, a clear catalyst in the transition from good to great.
    2. Demonstrates an unwavering resolve to do whatever must be done to produce the best long-term results, no matter how difficult.
    3. Sets the standard of building an enduring great company; will settle for nothing less.
    4. Looks in the mirror, not out the window, to apportion responsibility for poor results, never blaming other people, external factors, or bad luck.

  • Personal humility --
    1. Demonstrates a compelling modesty, shunning public adulation; never boastful.
    2. Acts with quiet, calm determination; relies principally on inspired standards, not inspiring charisma, to motivate.
    3. Channels ambition into the company, not the self; sets up successors for even greater success in the next generation.
    4. Looks out the window, not in the mirror, to apportion credit for the success of the company-to other people, external factors, and good luck.

The five levels of leadership -- There are five levels of leadership, with five being the highest level. These levels of skills and performance are not necessarily developed in sequence, but a Level 5 leaders embody all five levels of the hierarchy.

  1. Level 5 Executive -- builds enduring greatness through a paradoxical blend of personal humility and professional will
  2. Effective Leader -- catalyzes commitment to and vigorous pursuit of a clear and compelling vision, stimulating higher performance standards.
  3. Competent Manager -- organizes people and resources toward the effective and efficient pursuit of predetermined objectives.
  4. Contributing Team Member -- contributes individual capabilities to the achievement of group objectives and works effectively with others in a group setting.
  5. Highly Capable Individual -- Makes productive contributions through talent, knowledge, skills, and good work habits.

Source: Collins, 2001. See: jimcollins.com