Good to Great pt 3 – Level 5 Leadership

Here is part 3 of my review of Good to Great by Jim Collins, and how we can apply it to the Church.  The First key concept: Level 5 Leadership.

In the book, it notes there are 5 levels of leaders, but only discusses levels 4 and 5.  Why? Because they both show positive results. However, there is a major difference in how those results are achieved and how lasting are the effects. Let’s first compare them:

Level 5 Leader Level 4 Leader
First Who
Get the right people on the bus. Build a superior executive team.
First What
Set a vision for where to drive the bus. Develop a road map for driving the bus.
Then What
Once the right people are in place, figure out the best path to greatness.
Then Who
Enlist a crew of highly capable “helpers” to make the vision happen
Excited about the Company and where it is going Excited about where he is in life and where he’ll take the Company.
Cares about people and the company. Cares about success, particularly his own success.
Humble and self-effacing. She is only one of many resources to help the company succeed. Often has a big ego.  Company lives or dies on his decision.  Others are resources to be used and driven in order to make his success a reality
Develops a team of qualified people that can replace her and continue the process of good to great long after she is gone. He is the miracle in the company. He has no equals, and so there is no one to replace him. Often, when he moves on, the company shrivels up and dies.
Takes feedback from colleagues, leaders, and workers seriously.  Accepts constructive criticism and implements change in her own life. Believes he walks on water, and so no change or feedback is needed.  Does not accept constructive criticism of himself, but expects everyone else to accept him as he is.

 Perhaps it is here that we can see how D&C 121:34-46.  In noting that many are called, but few chosen, perhaps it is in how they manage the power given to them.  For a level 4 priesthood holder or Relief Society president, to manage in such a way as to drive the organization or family like an elite paramilitary unit, just is not the right way.  Instead, a level 5 leader uses persuasion, patience, and kindness to move things ahead.

Recently, the Church has pushed councils more and more.  It is now expected that husbands counsel with their wives, bishops with the presidents of the quorums and auxiliaries, and stake presidents with their stake council.  This is not a lip service that we give them, but actual listening and considering of their proposed solutions and concerns.  In fact, we should give greater power and authority for those we work with to make decisions as they are ready to make them.  If someone is not ready to make decisions, or even suggestions, then the level 5 leader coaches the person. 

The level 5 leader trains and mentors others to replace him/her.  Someday our children will become parents, and need to know the best ways to do it.  Someday we will be released as bishop, Primary President, or seminary teacher, and hopefully we’ve prepared others to ostensibly take our place.


This entry was posted in General by rameumptom. Bookmark the permalink.

About rameumptom

Gerald (Rameumptom) Smith is a student of the gospel. Joining the Church of Jesus Christ when he was 16, he served a mission in Santa Cruz Bolivia (1978=1980). He is married to Ramona, has 3 stepchildren and 7 grandchildren. Retired Air Force (Aim High!). He has been on the Internet since 1986 when only colleges and military were online. Gerald has defended the gospel since the 1980s, and was on the first Latter-Day Saint email lists, including the late Bill Hamblin's Morm-Ant. Gerald has worked with FairMormon, More Good Foundation, LDS.Net and other pro-LDS online groups. He has blogged on the scriptures for over a decade at his site: Joel's Monastery ( He has the following degrees: AAS Computer Management, BS Resource Mgmt, MA Teaching/History. Gerald was the leader for the Tuskegee Alabama group, prior to it becoming a branch. He opened the door for missionary work to African Americans in Montgomery Alabama in the 1980s. He's served in two bishoprics, stake clerk, high council, HP group leader and several other callings over the years. While on his mission, he served as a counselor in a branch Relief Society presidency.

2 thoughts on “Good to Great pt 3 – Level 5 Leadership

Comments are closed.