Fields marked with an * are required

Request More Information

Good to Great Leadership in Denver – Level 5 Leadership – What does it take?

 “You can accomplish anything in life provided that you do not mind who gets the credit.” – Harry S. Truman

This is the quote that begins Jim Collins’ chapter on Level 5 Leadership in his classic book Good to Great. Lately there has been a lot of talk about “humble” leaders. Humble leaders are those who work hard behind the scenes and are committed to the success of the team and organization without needing all of the credit.

According to Collins, a level 5 leaders is an individual who blends extreme personal humility with intense professional will. During their five year study, Collins’ team found that the elite, high producing organizations all had level 5 leaders to get them through difficult transitions.

The formula is Humility + Will = Greatness

Here are some of the qualities of Level 5 Leaders:

1.    Competency in the first 4 levels of capabilities. Level 5 leaders are also: Highly Capable Individuals (Level 1), Contributing Team Members (Level 2), Competent Managers (Level 3), and Effective Leaders (Level 4).

2.   What is best for the organization?  Level 5 leaders are incredibly ambitious – but their ambition is not for themselves, but for the organization. They channel their ego needs away from themselves and into the larger goal of building a great company.

3.   Resoluteness.  Level 5 leaders have a fierce resolve to do whatever is needed to make the company great. 

4.    Setting up Successors for Success.

How will your decisions as leader impact the next leader, and the next? Putting aside their own egos, Level 5 leaders want to see the company be every MORE successful after they leave. Level 5 leaders think about the long-term sustainability of the company and the company’s greatness with them involved – and act accordingly.

5.  A humble focus on “we” and collective results. 

Words that are used to describe Level 5 leaders are: quiet, humble, modest, reserved, shy, gracious, mild-mannered, and understated. Good-to-great leaders talk about the contributions of other leaders, their teams, and the board far more than they talk about themselves. They genuinely see success as a collective effort.

Notably – in over two thirds of the comparison cases, the researches noted the presence of a gargantuan personal ego that contributed to the demise or mediocrity of the company. 

6.  The Window and the Mirror.

Level 5 leaders look out the window to attribute success to factors other than themselves. When things go poorly they look in the mirror to take full responsibility.  Non-level 5 leaders do just the opposite.

The irony is that the personal ambition that drives many into positions of power stands at odds with the humility needed to be a Level 5 Leader. 

How can you find a level 5 leader? Look for situations where extraordinary results exist but where no individual steps forth to claim excess credit. You will likely find a potential Level 5 leader at work.

We do coaching and training with leadership teams in the Denver area.  If you are looking to take your team from Good to Great Leadership in Denver, please contact us if we can be of service.

For your growth,

Jeannie Gunter, MA
President and Founder, Transformative Training
303 532-4393

Jeannie Gunter, MA

Jeannie Gunter, MA

Founder, Transformative Solutions

303 653-3097

Jeannie works with a wide variety of clients to help them increase their team effectiveness and leadership capacity in their teams. She has worked both nationally and internationally as an organizational consultant, facilitator, speaker and wilderness guide.

With a strong background in group dynamics, over the past 20 years Jeannie has guided hundreds of teams in a wide variety of organizations to successful outcomes in team, personal and professional development.


Schedule a Free
15 Minute Consultation
Request For