We have always associated leadership with a very visible and popular role which gives you recognition and a larger than life status as a leader. However, the level 5 leadership proposes quite opposing characteristics of a successful leader.
The concept of Level 5 leadership is unique because it is based on empirical evidence. Over a five-year period, Jim Collins, a former Stanford business school professor conducted a research project to discover what distinguished so-called “good” companies from “great” ones. “Great” companies, he explained, were defined as those that made at least three extraordinary jumps in stock returns over a period of 15 years, independent of their industries. By comparing data from more than 1,435 organizations, he found that only 11 companies fit these criteria. One of the key reasons was leadership. In the end, Collins realized that each of the 11 notable companies had leaders with a specific combination of what he dubbed “extreme personal humility” and “intense professional will.”
So, who exactly is a Level 5 leader? Collins describes Level 5 leader as Humility + Will = Level 5. They are leaders that display a powerful mixture of personal humility and indomitable will. They understand the importance of putting people first and strategy second. This means finding the right people for the organization, getting rid of the wrong ones, and putting employees in the appropriate positions, all before addressing business tactics.
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