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level five leadership

As a senior leader, I try to read various perspectives on leadership — from Biblical sources, Christian authors, and business leaders.  I’ve even read a few books on the neuroscience of leadership.  One of my favorite authors is Jim Collins, a researcher who approaches leadership and organizational health from a business perspective.

His book “Good to Great” should be required reading for leaders of all types of organizations.  In a nutshell, he examines what enabled a good company to become a great company while other good companies either stalled or failed.  Not surprisingly, one of the distinguishing characteristics of great companies was leadership.  Not just good leadership, but what Collins calls “Level Five” leadership.

According to Collins, there are five characteristics that contribute to the Level 5 leader’s success.  Here they. I will spend the next several posts fleshing them out.

  1. They are self-confident enough to set up their successors for success.
  2. They exhibit humility and modesty.
  3. They have “unwavering resolve.”
  4. They display a “workmanlike diligence – more plow horse than show horse.”
  5. They give credit to others for their success and take full responsibility for poor results. They “attribute much of their success to ‘good luck’ rather than personal greatness.”