There are a lot of voices and opinions about what leadership is and every one of them would agree that we need high-quality leaders in today’s society.
My thinking about leadership does not add anything spectacularly new to the conversation. I am more interested in how do we get or become the high-quality leaders our world need. Some years ago, in his classic book, “Good to Great,” Jim Collins introduced the concept of a level 5 leader as a description of a high-quality leader. This framework helped me in my thinking, and as I am sorting and clarifying the concept for myself, I would like to share some quotes as thinking points and conversation starters. Let me know what you think.
The five levels if Leadership
Level 1: Highly Capable Individual. At this level, you make high-quality contributions with your work. You possess useful levels of knowledge, and you have the talent and skills needed to do a good job. This level is mostly inward focused on self-leadership.
Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.” – Jack Welch
“Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing.” – Albert Schweitzer
Level 2: Contributing Team Member. At Level 2, you use your knowledge and skills to help your team succeed. You work effectively, productively and successfully with other people in your group
“A leadership position is one that requires many different skills. It is an activity that is sometimes hard to measure, but the results of the team will determine the leader’s success.” – Catherine Pulsifer
“Outstanding leaders go out of their way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it’s amazing what they can accomplish.” – Sam Walton
Level 3: Competent Manager. Here, you’re able to organize a group efficiently to achieve specific goals and objectives.
“Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want to be done because he wants to do it.” – Dwight Eisenhower
“The best leader is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants to be done, and the self-restraint to keep from meddling with them while they do it.” -Theodore Roosevelt
Level 4: Effective Leader. Level 4 is the category that most top leaders fall into. Here, you’re able to galvanize a department or organization to meet performance objectives and achieve a vision.
“Average leaders raise the bar on themselves; good leaders raise the bar for others; great leaders inspire others to raise their own bar.” – Orrin Woodward
“As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others.” – Bill Gates
Level 5: Great Leader. At Level 5, you have all of the abilities needed for the other four levels, plus you have the unique blend of humility and will that are required for real greatness.
It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership. – Nelson Mandela.
“The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor but without folly.” – Jim Rohn
One of the best paradoxes of leadership is a leader’s need to be both stubborn and open-minded. A leader must insist on sticking to the vision and stay on course to the destination. But he must be open-minded during the process. – Simon Sinek
and finally, a surprising yet powerful summery:
“A leader is a dealer in hope.” – Napoleon Bonaparte