True Leaders Sustain

When the business blockbuster Good to Great was published in 2001, author Jim Collins introduced us to the distinction between “celebrity” leaders vs “Level 5” leaders. Both get the job done for their companies; they are very different in their How.
The results achieved by celebrity leaders often decline or disappear when they move on, because the primary tool they bring to problem-solving is the force of their personality.  The Level 5 leader on the other hand, keeps the focus on building systems that can be sustained even when players change.
Another difference between the two is the way they respond to success and crisis. The celebrity looks in the mirror to give credit for success, and out the window to assign blame; the Level 5, in contrast, looks in the mirror to assign blame and looks out the window for someone to credit with success.
From my first reading of this book, I named the distinction “Manager vs Leader,” and still see it that way today. The bottom line is that true leaders (the Level 5) step outside of themselves and the comfort of knowing, and into the DIScomfort of not knowing and taking care of others.  There is nothing wrong with being a manager…but the BEST results come from those who model and nurture strong leadership in their organizations.
Remember, Leadership is not about a title: Anyone can be a leader who builds sustainable systems that best serve the organization, respects people, and shines the spotlight on others, first.

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