Out of all the things I have learned about so far in my Organizational Behavior in Sport Management class this semester, my favorite topic and the topic that I can compare to my own life the most is level 5 leadership.
There is something that Collins calls a level 5 hierarchy which is what makes up the concept of level 5 leadership. The first level is a highly capable individual, the next level is a contributing team member, next is competent manager, fourth is an effective leader, and the fifth and final level is the level 5 executive. In order to be a level 5 executive an individual must attain all of the previous four levels of the hierarchy.
Now if I were to compare this hierarchal ladder to my own life, let’s see where I would rank.
The first level is the Highly Capable Individual.
A highly capable individual makes productive contributions through their talent, knowledge, skills, and good work habits. Now if I were to look at myself after reading that definition I would have to most definitely say that I have accomplished level 1 of this hierarchy. I indeed pride myself on my good work habits and my productive contributions with almost every task that I take on.
The next level is the Contributing Team Member.
A contributing team member according to Collins, contributes individual capabilities to the achievement of group objectives and works well with others in a group setting. If I were to take this and apply it to my own life, I would have to say that I have accomplished this level as well. I have played on teams my entire life, worked in groups at work and I have no problem using my talents for the benefit of the group that I am a part of.
The next level of the hierarchy is the Competent Manager.
The competent manager organizes people and resources toward the effective and efficient pursuit of pre-determined objectives. Looking at my own life I can definitely apply this level tom certain aspects. Back when I used to play baseball and basketball in high school I was the captain of my team, or a manager of sorts. I was the leader of both of my teams and sometimes I had to get everyone together and get everyone on the same page so we could accomplish our pre-determined goal(s) (win the league, get to the state playoffs, and make it to the state final).
At the rate I am going you would think that I have attained level 5 executive already, but that is far from true.
The next level is fourth level and it is the Effective Leader.
The effective leader catalyzes commitment to and vigorous pursuit of a clear and compelling vision, stimulating higher performance standards. Looking at my life I can honestly say that I have not attained that level yet. I have never had my own vision that I was able to rally people around and get the most out of them, but who knows maybe I am just not there yet, you’ll have to come back and hear from me in a few years.
The simple fact that I have not attained all four of the previous levels, I cannot be a level 5 executive, because in order to be a level 5 executive you have to embody all four levels of the hierarchy.
I think becoming a level 5 Executive is extremely difficult and not many people attain that. Level 5 leaders have to be able to channel their ego needs away from themselves and rather into the larger goal at hand. I feel like for most people, that is extremely hard to do because who doesn’t want to get all the credit for themselves and solely do things for their own benefit?
It takes a true leader to be able to put their selfish needs aside and do what is needed for the good of the cause or the goal you are trying to achieve. A level 5 leader also has the perfect balance of professional will and personal humility. I feel like that is the most difficult aspect to this hierarchal level.
These two concepts kind of contradict themselves in my opinion because it tells you to do whatever must be done to get the job done, and set a certain standard of success. I am not saying that it is impossible for leaders to do that, but to do that in a humble way and put the company needs before your own is extremely difficult. I know I am not ready for that yet because I am at the stage in my life where if I succeed at something or achieve a goal I want to be recognized for that. I guess that is indeed selfish but I am still young and learning.
I feel like after learning about this level 5 leadership, that I have an upper hand on other people in the job market that I will be competing against come this May after graduation. Although I have not accomplished the feat of becoming a level 5 executive yet, I feel like that I am definitely on the right track and I can set myself up for success. I have the advantage of knowing the steps and how to get to the highest level of the hierarchy. I am the type of person that if I set my mind to something I can and will accomplish anything.
Not many leaders in this world are level 5 leaders, and that is why so many businesses fail these days. They do not have the right person leading them and getting the most out of their employees. Too many leaders in this world are selfish and personal gain is their goal.
From here on out, every morning when I wake up my goal is to attain that level 5 executive and become an effective level 5 leader. I want to make a difference in whatever it is I do in life and I truly believe understanding and trying to attain level 5 leadership will help me along the way.