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Become a Level Five Leader! (#108)

The Confident Leader

Years ago, I read the book, Good to Great, and was fascinated to learn that an organization’s leader is the difference maker to go from a good organization to a great one. Jim Collins’ Level 5 Leader is now the standard. What level are you?

A [leader] who is at the top, is a [leader] who has the habit of getting to the bottom.
— Joseph E. Rogers (Naval Reserve Captain and a Desert Storm veteran)

This Week’s Edition

Now is the time to take your leadership to the next level. Level 5 is not out of reach. We believe good leadership is attainable and it is the difference maker. 

Clarify Your Thinking

When I originally read Good to Great, I distinctly remember imagining the quintessential profile of the Level 5 leader. Someone who is no longer striving, having achieved a distinct level where the momentum of their past effort generates easy growth. Comfortable and fully secure in their position, they play to win versus playing not to lose.

After years of working directly with some of the most influential leaders in their industries, I have found earnest leaders in pursuit of great leadership. Collins posits that the best leaders possess an extra measure of humility and put others first. They are not afraid to ask others for their input such as:  

  • What can I do to improve our business?

  • How can I lead you better?

  • What should I do differently to lead you and the organization?

However, leaders initially are not confident when asking these questions. Their leadership doubt holds them back for a few main reasons:

  • They may not truly value the person or their perspective.

  • They don’t think they have enough time to have the conversation.

  • They don’t want the answer or its implications.

  • They don’t want to feel compelled to do what the person suggests.

  • They are concerned about being exposed for not having the answer first.

Old Thinking: I’m fearful to ask the hard questions of my team. I’ll just work harder to come up with the best ideas and push those through. I’ll buy donuts on Fridays, and they will feel included.

New Thinking: Humility is not a weakness. It’s a strength. I’m not sure how to embrace this level of humility, but I can learn.


Thoughts Lead to Actions

This type of leadership doubt can cripple a team, making the business more brittle and less equipped to face challenges: 

  • The best ideas may not rise to the surface.

  • The pace is slowed.

  • Key relationships are strained and not strengthened.

Leaders like you can choose to avoid the pitfalls of this type of leadership doubt. These three easy steps will put you on the journey to unleashing the Level 5 Leader within you.

Step 1 Gain a new point of view

Step 2 Get more information. 

Step 3 Be open to detours. 

  • ASK for ideas in a strategy session, including the old ideas that didn’t work and the crazy ideas that seem like they will never work.

Engage the power of asking questions and listen. Resist to urge to keep telling people what to do. Be humble. Flip the script and ASK. Who knows what you might find – perhaps a Level 5 Leader within?

Boost Your Performance

Hard charging leaders are wily. Meaning, they know that they should be asking their team for their input. It’s widely known. I’m sure this topic is given an entire chapter in the proverbial Leadership Textbook. A recent conversation revealed the common mistakes leaders make even when they think they are asking versus telling. Find out more in this week’s video.

What’s Your Opinion?

Try the approach in this week’s newsletter and let me know what you learn at

Don’t let doubt count you out. Have a confident week!

Robin Pou, Chief Advisor and Strategist

If this was helpful, feel free to share it with another leader who needs to defeat doubt and complete their confidence.

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What is “The Confident Leader”?

During the Covid-19 Pandemic, I began a video series called “Panic or Plan?” It was designed to equip leaders to navigate the doubt they experienced and to rise in the confidence they needed to lead during turbulent times. It took off. I then started this newsletter to equip leaders in the same fashion each week for the doubt that crashes across the bow of their leaderSHIP.

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