Level 5 Leadership
(Jim Collins)

Knowledge Center


Applying humility and strong professional willpower to leadership. Explanation of Level 5 Leadership of Jim Collins. ('01)

Contributed by: Jeffrey Pelletier MA


  1. Summary
  2. Forum
  3. Best Practices
  4. Expert Tips
  5. Resources
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Level 5 Leadership - CollinsWhat is Level 5 Leadership? Description

Level Five Leadership is based on the idea that respect towards people, selflessness by the leader, and a strong powerful commitment to achieve results, bring out the best in subordinates. Level 5 leaders are a paradoxical blend of fierce will and personal humility. They are stubborn and ruthless. Yet they are humble. They are ambitious for their company, and rarely allow their ego to be an obstacle for the success of their organization. Though they accomplish great things for their organizations, they attribute their remarkable accomplishments to their people, external factors and sheer luck. Level 5 Leaders lead with the help of disciplined people, disciplined thought and disciplined action.

Origin of Level 5 Leadership. History

The Level 5 Leadership theory evolved independently. It was "discovered" by Collins and his researchers in the companies which had a high level of growth over fifteen consecutive years. Compare: Servant-Leadership

Calculation of Level 5 Leadership. Formula

The Right People (culture, character rather than competence) + Humility + Strong Professional Will (regarding the goal) = Success.

Usage of Level 5 Leadership. Applications

This method apparently works every time it is tried. It is more about character than competence. A high competence is not absolutely required to be successful, but character is a non-negotiable.

Steps in Level 5 Leadership. Process

  1. Hire the right people.
  2. Deploy them in the jobs which they are "intended" to do.
  3. Set a really high long-term goal. (BHAG).

Strengths of Level 5 Leadership. Benefits

You can achieve superb results, long-term, and lasting results.

Limitations of Level 5 Leadership. Disadvantages

  • It requires a lot of time and personal investment by the leader.
  • The leader does not receive personal credit.

Assumptions of Level 5 Leadership. Conditions

This leadership methodology is emerging, and it has until now not been discussed extensively. But it appears sensible and strong.

Book: Jim Collins - Good to Great - Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don't -

Level 5 Leadership Collins Forum
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  What Level 5 Leadership Entails
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  Meaning of Level 5 Leadership
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  Examples of Level 5 Leaders
I always relate Level 5 Leadership to two key peop...
  Level 5 Leaders are Humble
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  Values of Leaders
Character (of Leaders) is a result of their intern...

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Compare with Level 5 Leadership: Emotional Intelligence  |  Hagberg Model of Personal Power  |  Leadership Pipeline  |  Leadership Continuum  |  Path-Goal Theory  |  Theory X Theory Y  |  Contingency Theory  |  Competing Values Framework  |  Expectancy Theory  |  Seven Surprises  |  Seven Habits  |  Coaching  |  Mentoring  |  Results-Based Leadership  |  Situational Leadership  |  EPIC ADVISERS

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