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April 05, 2007

Level 5 leadership in recruiting

I recently went down memory lane and revisited an article I had written on Good to Great Recruiting. One of the key chapters in this book was about great leadership, and it got me thinking whether this same model applied to great recruiting leaders. I'll be having some conversations and exploring this over the next few posts. Here's an excerpt from the article discussing Level 5 leadership:

Collins describes five levels of leadership, in which the very top level (Level 5 Leadership) — the level which drives the greatest sustained results — is not the highly visible Lee Iacocca or Jack Welch CEO we usually associate with greatness. While highly ambitious, Level 5 leaders sacrifice their own profiles and channel their energies into ambition for their organizations. They blend humility and modesty instead of personal flair, often deflecting any talk of their own responsibility for the company's success and instead pointing to their great teams, market conditions, or even dumb luck.

Most importantly, Level 5 CEOs set up their organizations for continued success after they leave. There is less likely to be a crash associated with the loss of a dominant or defining personality. They also do a much better job of surrounding themselves with future leaders, whereas good or mediocre companies often followed a "genius with a thousand helpers" model.

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