This Post is by Nick Yates, Program Director, Sports Medicine, Texas Spine & Joint Hospital
As a younger person put in a leadership role, it can be tough to decipher what this role actually requires. This article will describe what being a truly impressive leader entails.
What kind of leadership qualities do I need?
What does my company need to do to succeed?
How do I differentiate my company from the competition?
What should I look for in my employees?
Sounds familiar doesn’t it…
Jim Collins has been my guide to these answers.
This book has quickly become my guide when I steer off course and wonder what I should really be focusing on as a developing leader. This occurs frequently due to the vast ocean of information on what you MUST DO as a leader. Which is, at times, overwhelming and somewhat annoying. Every leader has his own style, it isn’t a cookie cutter type of skill.
Level 5 Leadership
Have you ever wondered what qualities you actually need to become a great leader?
Becoming a great leader, or changing the way you lead, is crucial for great companies. Collins researched numerous companies and found that the great ones all had a Level 5 leader at the top.
Most of the time, these Level 5 leaders were quietly running an excellent company. They are typically not the type of leader who is up in front of the entire company screaming on stage and giving a rah rah speech. They are in the background, giving all of the glory to their employees.
Collins goes on to describe Level 5 leaders:
“Level 5 leaders display modesty, are self-effacing, and understated. Two-thirds of comparison companies leaders had enormous egos that often times lead to the demise of the entire company.”
“Level 5 leaders are fanatically driven, infected with an incurable need to produce sustained results.” They will do whatever it takes to make the company succeed.
5 Levels of Leadership: Where Do You Rank?
Collins provides readers with a pyramid of five levels, describing what he sees in leadership roles:
- Level 1: Highly Capable Individual– Makes productive contributions through talent, knowledge, skills, and good work habits.
- Level 2: Contributing Team Member– Contributes individual capabilities to the achievement of group objectives and works effectively with others in a group setting.
- Level 3: Competent Manager– Organizes people and resources toward the effective and efficient pursuit of predetermined objectives.
- Level 4: Effective Leader– Catalyzes commitment to and vigorous pursuit of a clear and compelling vision, simulating higher performance standards.
- Level 5: Executive– Builds enduring greatness through a paradoxical blend of personal humility and professional will.
After reviewing these levels numerous times, I have ranked myself and found much room for improvement. The biggest area I found needing improvement is my overall vision.
Have you defined a vision for your company? What about a vision for your own personal goals and for your life?
Without having a vision, it is very difficult, if not impossible, to relentlessly pursue success. Zig Ziglar has a story about how he can make anyone outshoot the best archer in the world….Once he blindfolds that archer and spins him around a few times. The moral of the story being, that archer has no direction so how could he ever hit the target? The same applies to your life and business choices.
Action point: Define your vision and objectives for career and personal development. Where do you want to end up? What is your target? Don’t be the blind archer.
How Can You Implement Collins’ Ideas?
Increasing your emotional intelligence (EQ) is a hot topic right now, and for good reason. All of the Level 5 leaders have high levels of EQ. They can positively influence their employees by being able to read them.
What does this mean for you?
This means you must become adept at things such as: body language, influence, psychological biases, and so on. These leaders, as previously mentioned, are not the types to take credit for the company’s success. They want their employees to shine and receive the credit.
Collins states, “Level 5 leaders attribute success to factors other than themselves.”
They rarely take credit for successes, but always take credit for failures. When their company fails they look in the mirror to find what went wrong. They put the blame on themselves, as opposed to comparison CEOs who did the exact opposite.
Action point: Give yourself an honest critique and rate yourself on the qualities Collins mentions. How did you measure up? Choose which ones you need to work on and make a plan to create or build these qualities within yourself.
Extra research I plan to do: Reading more about who Collins thinks are the best CEOs of all time.
Good to Great is an excellent book and well worth your time if you are in any field related to business or leadership. Level 5 Leadership is one of six concepts Collins covers in this book. I plan on covering more in future posts.
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