6 Keys to Building a Level 5 Leader

6 Keys to Building a Level 5 Leader

Many leaders desire to be a Level 5 leader, build level 5 leadership style, or be an exceptional CEO, whether they are at Fortune 500 companies or startups.  What has held them back?  Do they lack focus, vision, power or will?  Our recent studies have found that many leaders, from CEO, COO, CFO, CHO, CMO, CIO, other CXO to director, share the following development needs at different degrees:

  • Missing the big picture
  • A lack of in-depth knowledge of talent.
  • Poor risk-taking
  • Poor conflict management.
  • Insufficient body energy restoration in the storm.
  • A lack of effectiveness, not at their best.

Although the causes of the above development needs vary, there is one in common — most leaders only know talent’s IQ, EQ or behavior instead of their 6Q structure due to traditional education and approaches.  Personal causes are the next.    We have discussed why EQ and behavior alone cannot build a Level 5 leader.   Now let’s discuss the 6 keys to build level 5 leadership style.

Can You Focus on the Big Picture Naturally & Passionately?

Leaders can miss the big picture for many reasons.  First is their primary focus.  Authentic Leadership emphasizes “be yourself.”  Jim Collins’ Level 5 leadership focuses on humanity —pursue the benefit of organization and team, not self, which we call “focus on the big picture.” In addition, we help leaders “Be Your Best,” which I will discuss further later.   Recently, Yuval Atsmon, a friend of mine, introduced Servant Leadership as doing primarily for others, not self.   Although I can see the selfless element in Servant Leadership, two questions remain: “Is everyone equal in front of the God? Is selfless equal to self-depreciation?”

Selflessness enables leaders to focus on the big picture naturally, be fair to others, manage conflicts efficiently, etc.  I will show you a great example below.  Most leaders understand the value of selflessness, but some cannot apply the principle on themselves due to internal conflicts.   Making them servants does not solve their problem.  Instead, we should minimize their internal conflicts, restore their healthy Ego and enhance their confidence so that they can focus on the big picture naturally and passionately.

Many leaders are authentically selfless but lack other elements or potential to get to the next level.   Some leaders do not have substantial knowledge and experiences in their industries, which they should gain at professional schools and workplaces.   Some have issues in their decision-making, innovation, initiative, risk-taking, effectiveness, and others, which affect how they focus on the big picture.

Do You Know Your Talent Deeply?

Knowing talent deeply is essential to task talent, manage conflicts, strengthen team performance, etc.  How deep should the knowledge be?  Here is an example:  One institution needed to restructure some part of the company.  One team was ready for the announcement; the other was not until six weeks later.  The CEO asked the chairman how to handle the situation. The Chairman told him one for all. However, the CEO succumbed to the pressure of his staff, agreed to give the announcement twice and paid a miserable price.

Many leaders, including CEOs and CHOs, judge talent based on their past success and fail to link the success with its environment.  President Franklin Roosevelt is a good example– he was a great president in the White House but would be the worst runner in Marathon.  It is individual’s internal structure as well as their time and place determine their ultimate success.

Talent is the key to success. To build a high-performing team and optimize team performance, leaders need to know their talent cognitively, psychologically, physically, under the sunshine and in the storm, so they can make wise investments, excite and keep the best.

Can You Maximize Success with Risk-taking? 

John F. Kennedy once said, “Those who dare to fail miserably, can achieve greatly.” This is also true in business.   However, many leaders only “aim for success.”  Subsequently, they cut out their opportunities to win big.  CEOs, COOs, and CSOs usually do better here due to their job exposure.

Risk-taking not only matters to CEOs, but also to CFO, CHO, and other CXOs.  For example, risk-taking can affect how a CFO allocates budget, how a CHO recruits and develops talent, how a CIO prepares data to support the institution’s overall strategy.   Unless a team is on the same page, it is hard to executive institutional strategy effectively.

To enhance risk-taking requires not only some concepts or EQ tools, but also substantial knowledge base, sufficient innovation and learning, efficient resilience, robust energy restoration, and specific resources. Individuals need to build the confidence to take the risk.

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Do You Manage Conflicts Inside Out?

Conflict management is inevitable if structure or strategic changes are necessary.  Many leaders are interested in our Good to Great Leadership CLASS 2: Leadership Style & Conflict Management.  Can people skills and deep talent knowledge handle any conflicts?  No.  Conflict can emerge internally, too.  How the above CEO handle company reconstruction is a good example.  Another common internal conflict is being unfair to others.  To manage conflicts wisely, leaders need to do so inside out.

One skill many people admire Bill Campbell, former Chairman of Intuit, the most is that he could kick in somebody’s pants, tell the person was screwing up, and then sent the person off to improve self and let the person know that he was 100% behind. Selflessness, deep talent knowledge and communication were essential elements here.

In addition to interpersonal tools, policy-making, structure design and more are also great tools to manage conflicts at personal, institutional, and societal levels. For example, how to defuse internal political problems. Law utilization and fast learning are beneficial here.

Will You Be Unforgettable in the Storm?

Like John F. Kennedy once said, “Those who dare to fail miserably, can achieve greatly.” To enhance risk-taking requires not only some concepts or EQ tools. Adversity Quotient is one key element.   The impact of Low AQ can be enormous to both business and individuals, which is why to be cool in the storm makes a leader UNFORGETTABLE.

How to handle setbacks and failures is no longer the hardest issue in business.   However, people only “aim for success.”  By time when storm arrives, they give up quickly, including some well-known Fortune 500 company CEOs.

Are You Effective and at Your Best? 
Some leaders fail to acknowledge their uniqueness– what fit others may not suit them vice versa, which makes it hard for them to maximize their effectiveness in work and life.   Also, “Be Your Best” is not only leaders’ leadership style and skills but also their physical and mental performance. Motivation or Will alone does not have unlimited power. The CEO with low energy is a good example.   Unless we can see the whole picture, more “intractable issues” will emerge, waste time and money, and kill dreams.

Summary

The above are 6 common development needs that stop leaders from reaching level 5.  The good news is that solutions are available.  To build Level 5 leader, develop level 5 leadership style or be an exceptional CEO, you need not only vital elements, but EVERY element, depending on your position, industry, and environment, because all aspects of your 6Q system are integrated.  It just takes one item to slow down or break the whole system function.

Not every leader has what he or she should.” However, today is NOT tomorrow.  Issues at the top are often complex and involve all 6Qs.  IQ, EQ and behavior tools alone can make complex “intractable.”  Through the 6Q Approach, we can locate the development needs and make learning easy and fast; therefore, we often can save 50% of the time and find efficient solutions to many “intractable issues.”   “Can He Handle the Job?” is a typical example.

2018 is coming.  Do you want to achieve more in 2018?  Do you have the right tools?  Self-discovery is necessary but not always efficient.   Do we have any seats left?  Check it out.

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About the Author
Bin Yang is a global CEO adviser, leadership Doctor and the Managing Director of The Prince Synergy (www.theprincesynergy.com), a leading consulting firm that focuses on building exceptional leaders and optimizing top team performance, and solves the hardest issues that no one else can.  She authored What Stop Leaders from Good to Great, Take Your Leadership to Level Five.  For more information or to schedule an interview, lecture or appointment, please contact us at 310-668-1828.