It absolutely can. However, this is more of a broker or team leader concept than an individual agent. The key characteristic in a level-5 is a selfless devotion to the organization or team, not personal branding and individual gain. In fact, level-5 leaders have a great understanding of humility and dismiss arrogance as destructive. For example, whenever a level-5 leader’s team has success, he makes sure to credit the team for their hard work instead of taking the credit. Conversely, this type of leader takes responsibility for his team’s efforts when things go wrong.


What is a level-5 leader?

As described by the Professor Jim Collins, a level-5 leader is the highest level of leader who cares more about his team or organization than his own personal gain. By the untrained eye, level-5s may seem weak because they will ask for help, outside opinions and often tout the expertise of others while undermining their own achievements. However, it’s these very characteristics that make the level-5 successful in long-term business development.

Why is a level-5 leader important?

Remember Guy Kawaski’s often quoted saying, “A players recruit A players, while B players recruit C players”?  Leaders interested in personal gain will often hire C players in hopes that person will never threaten his “big dog” status. This is how we get an office full of “yes, sir” agents and staff. While incredibly pleasing to the “big dog,” this culture is detrimental for long-term growth. In a world of one overbearing general and mindless lieutenants, the company will fail the moment your “big dog” exits the firm. After-all, the “big dog” wants the firm to crumble the moment he’s gone. As that’s the ultimate tribute to his personal greatness.

In contrast, a level-5 leader will devote his strategy to building a self-sustaining team. Hiring people that don’t need hand-holding or constant supervision to be successful is a key factor in this leadership’s brand of success. However, don’t mistake surrounding yourself with people that are smarter than you as an inability to do the job. Level-5s surround themselves with the best in the business to do their own job better. With insights from best and the brightest people, their strategies are often formed and reformed again and again until a winning course of action is finally refined.

When you have the best people working together there will be a natural evolution of a “disciplined corporate culture.” When these people finally decide on a course of action (be sure to expect intense arguments and heated discussions before an agreement is made) there is nothing that will make their resolve fail, no matter how difficult the task.

A level-5 leader knows the key to long-term growth is getting the right people into the correct jobs. This may mean letting underperformers go, reassigning people to new tasks and hiring new blood.

Want to learn more about Level-5 leadership?  Pick up “Good to Great” by Jim Collin’s.