Level 5 Leadership – What is it?

Recently, I got opportunity to go through an Excellent Leadership book named – “Good to Great” by Jim Collins. Jim and his fellow researchers put five-year research effort to explore the leadership that transformed good companies to great. I got amazed by excellent narration of the Level 5 Leadership in 300 page book.

It is my pleasure to give some pointers about the Level 5 Leadership for our leadership growth benefit.

* Level 5 leader is an individual who blends extreme personal humility with intense professional will
Hence, the equation is HUMILITY + WILL = LEVEL 5

* Level 5 leaders are the one who takes companies from good results to great results

* Getting right people and creating a culture of discipline (which consists of disciplined people, disciplined thought & disciplined action) are important factors along with Level 5

* Level 5 leader should possess capabilities of of all lower levels along with Level 5 characteristics

* An individual can show Level 5 Leadership & it is not necessary to move from one level to another

* Level 5 framework is like a flywheel in which transformation process buildup momentum, reaches breakthrough & sustaining those great results.

The Level 5 Hierarchy

Level 1 – Highly Capable Individual – Makes productive contributions through talent, knowledge, skills, and good work habits

Level 2 – Contributing Team Member – Contributes to the achievement of group objectives; works effectively with others in a group setting

Level 3 – Competent Manager – Organizes people and resources toward the effective and efficient pursuit of predetermined objectives

Level 5 Leadership

Level 4 – Effective Leader – Catalyzes commitment to and vigorous pursuit of a clear and compelling vision; stimulates the group to high performance standards

Level 5 – Executive – Builds enduring greatness through a paradoxical combination of personal humility plus professional will

Though I tried my level best to present a gist about the Level 5 Leadership, still lot of concepts like First Who, Stockdale Paradox, The Hedgehog Concept, A Culture of Discipline, Technology accelerators are available in the book.


1. Jim Collins Website – http://www.jimcollins.com/
2. Collings, Jim, “Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t”, RANDOM HOUSE BUSINESS BOOKS
3. Collins, Jim, “Level 5 Leadership: The Triumph of Humility and Fierce Resolve”, July-August, 2005

4 thoughts on “Level 5 Leadership – What is it?

  1. Thank you for sharing this information on Level 5 Leadership. I am also very excited about this framework because I think it is critical for businesses to understand the impact of leaders have on organizational transformation. During our current tough times, transformational leaders will be critical for businesses who want to make significant changes to the way they do business to take advantage of the challenges and opportunities we face.

    I would like to build on what you shared by sharing an article I published that offers additional details on the Level 5 Leadership concept pioneered by Jim Collins. This additional detail helps businesses turn a great concept into clear action steps. My work synthesises research by several thought leaders and offers additional detail about each of the developmental levels leading up to Level 5 and beyond. I am quite excited about the research because it is connected to a very robust assessment tool created by Susann Cook-Greuter as part of her PhD at Harvard. This tool is the SCTi-MAP. Once we have clarified the levels to the point Susann has and created a tool to measure them, we are able to measure individual leaders developmental level, tailor plans to support their development, and create organizational and cultural support that encourages growth and promotes retention of the key leaders we want to retain.

    The article was published in the Integral Leadership Review: http://www.integralleadershipreview.com/archives/2008-03/2008-03-article-metcalf.php

    I welcome comments on the article to improve my research.

    • Ms Metcalf, I am currently taking a doctorate course in leadership and was very curious to see what the article you highlighted had to say, but I could not find it. could you make an update on the website to ensure its availability? we need such articles in academia!

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