The Explainer: What It Takes to Be a Great Leader

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“Level 5” leadership is about combining fierce resolve with personal humility.

“Level 5” refers to the highest level in a hierarchy of executive capabilities. Leaders at the other four levels in the hierarchy can produce high degrees of success but not enough to elevate companies from mediocrity to sustained excellence. Level 5 leaders blend extreme personal humility with intense professional will.

And while Level 5 leadership is not the only requirement for transforming a good company into a great one — other factors include getting the right people on the bus (and the wrong people off the bus) and creating a culture of discipline — research shows it to be essential. Good-to-great transformations don’t happen without Level 5 leaders at the helm. They just don’t.


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