Level 5 Leadership

Photo Credit: DeeAshley via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: DeeAshley via Compfight cc


“Don’t tell people how to do things, tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results.”
― George S. Patton Jr.

In Jim Collin’s book Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…and Others Don’t, he covers the leadership of the companies that he profiles.  I thought I knew what he would find.  I grew up in the 80’s when Lee Iacocca came into Chrysler and turned them around.  When my younger brother was calculating batting averages, I was reading Iacocca: An Autobiography.  In his biography I thought this was a blueprint how to manage a company.  Iacocca was a take charge guy that knew what he wanted to accomplish.  This is not the kind of leader that Collin’s would call a Level 5 Leader.  Collin’s points out two qualities of the Level 5 Leaders

  • Intense determination
  • Profound humility

Following Lee Iacocca and reading books about him I knew he was definitely intensely determined.  As for the profound humility, I think that was not one of his characteristics.  Jim Collin’s discusses why these leadership qualities are important.  When leaders fail they must own up to it and understand they can make mistakes.  He also points out how the successful leaders enable the company to have success after they are gone.  They nurture the next leaders who will follow them.  This is also a problem for Lee Iacocca and his commanding style, it leaves no room for new leaders to grow.  Once Iacocca left Chrysler they had some lean years and stumbles.

We know what it takes to be a Level 5 Leader.  Have you worked with any Level 5 leaders?  I have worked with many leaders who had intense determination, although very few that had profound humility.  Perhaps you could be a Level 5 Leader.

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