I am currently going back through a great business book called “Good to Great” by Jim Collins. Since it has been several years since I last read it, I have a much greater appreciation for some of the timeless principles. In order for a business to sustain greatness, there must be what is known as a “Level Five Leader” at the helm. Here are two questions to ask yourself if you want to become Level 5:
- Are your professional ambitions focused on you or your team? Level Five leaders are a paradoxical blend of personal humility and professional will. They are always more concerned about what is best for the company over what is best for themselves. Their professional will and ferocious resolve is always centered towards the team and the cause over self. Comparison leaders who’s primary motivation was centered around their compensation plan or their personal stock options never accomplished sustained greatness. Therefore, one simple criteria for determining whether or not you are Level Five is the whether your professional motivation is centered around you and your progress or your team and its progress.
- How do you view a window and a mirror? Level Five leaders look out the window to give credit for their successes. They always attribute the company’s success to their team and will avoid taking credit for anything at all cost. They will even give credit to “Luck” before they point to themselves. At the same time, they look in the mirror for any and all blame. They take complete and utter responsibility for every mistake, shortcoming, hiccup or mishap that the company may experience. Comparison leaders tried to take credit for everything good that happened, and then tried to blame anything else other than themselves when something went wrong. Whereas Level 5 Leaders credited luck for their success, comparison leaders credited bad luck for their failures. Therefore, the way that you use a window and a mirror is a great way to determine if you are Level Five.
Leaders are not born, they are developed through application, experience and an awareness around what it takes to become an effective leader. As Robert Woodruff, Harry Truman and Ronald Reagan all frequently said, “There is no limit to where you can go in life, or what you can accomplish, if you don’t mind who gets the credit.”