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The Five Levels of Leadership

October 21
by
ROBERT CRITELLI
in
Culture/Travel
with
.

There have been many times in my life where there was good and bad leadership. Whether it was in a classroom or playing sports, leadership played a big role in my life.


I was able to watch the leaders throughout my life and learn from their good ideas and bad mistakes. According to Jim Collins, in his book GOOD TO GREAT, there are five different levels of leadership. The leadership is ranked from level 1, being the most common, yet least effective leader, to level 5 which is the most effective. It isn’t until level 5 leadership where a leader really stands out.

These are the rarest group of leaders. Level 5 leaders build lasting greatness. They tend to blame mistakes on themselves when something goes wrong, and value others when things go well. These leaders have no ego and put their company before their selves. I can relate the idea of five level leadership to the leaders I have grown up with in my life. They mostly consist of players and coaches on sports teams. I played football my whole life and throughout high school. I had witnessed the culture of our program change from when I joined the team as a freshman, to the last game of my senior year. Throughout the years I played, I was able to identify the type of leadership that went on.

Because of the leadership, the program went from being one of the best to one of the worst.

On this team I was able to identify level 1 to level 4 leadership. The level 1 leaders were the players who sat on the bench, but helped make practice effective. Theses players used their little amount of skills to contribute to the team. The level 2 leaders consisted of the players who started on the team and played the most. These players used their capabilities to achieve goals for the team. They were the ones out on the field winning the games. The level 3 leaders where some of the players who labeled themselves as “captains”.

The captains led the stretching lines and spoke at team meetings, but some of them weren’t respected by other players. Captains who were respected and had players believe in them were the level 4 leaders. They were helping the team build a culture to become better. Their teammates wanted to play for them. Level 5 leadership was attempted but failed by the Athletic Director of the school.

This mistake inevitably caused the program to nosedive.

Our head football coach became Athletic Director when I was a junior in high school and put us in a harder division. Our team was playing harder teams and each year we kept losing talent. This caused the team to lose more games and less students wanted to play. Players started to not show up at practice and because we were a small school, it didn’t look good with the program. I would consider our coach as a level 4 leader because he cared about the football program and wanted it to be a great one.

He made people believe that he can make the program strong, but his ego took over, and his self–interest of wanting the program to be more than what it was caused it to fail. If he was a level 5 leader he would have put the program back into the weaker division, but his ego got the best of him. He was unable to take the blame for the mistake and do what’s right for the team.

I believe that if our coach drops his ego and turns the program around, he can potentially become a level 5 leader. He is an alumni of the high school and grew up in the town. He cares about the team and its reputation because he has been coaching for over 15 years.

Level 5 leaders are usually found within the organization and that is where he comes from. This will be difficult to achieve though because there is less talent on the team and the amount of players are diminishing.


 

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