It’s one thing to advance to C-level in top management. To stay there is another one. In fact, many managers initially made a brilliant career path, but failed again after a short time in the Management Olympics. Perhaps they should have studied the level 5 leadership qualities better…
Level 5 leadership qualities: What distinguishes top managers from others
One of the most famous examples that the C-level can be a shaky position is the case of Apple founder Steve Jobs, who apparently didn’t know how to handle the success of his company. He was more and more regarded as self-opinionated and eccentric, who treated others as warmly and humiliatingly as he did. Hardly a trace of leadership qualities.
When Apple fell into the red in 1984, Jobs fell victim to an internal palace revolution. Chief Executive Officer John Sculley, who Jobs himself had hired two years earlier, pushed him out of the production department and then out of the company.
In 2000, Jobs returned to the C-level of the company with a few more experiences, and led the now doddering company back to the top. He also succeeded in doing so because he had further developed his leadership qualities in other companies.
Of course, lasting success in top management cannot be reduced to knowledge of the so-called “Level 5 leadership qualities” that every manager in this area should have. However, in addition to technical top qualities, these are indispensable for staying at this level.
Why Level 5 Leadership?
But why level 5? This refers to the five essential characteristics that distinguish simple managers from top managers:
- Achieving the company’s goals is the first priority, not one’s own success.
- Highest degree of perfection for all tasks
- Highest productivity coupled with highly visionary thinking
- Maximum exemplary character
- The talent to keep a company on the road to success through visionary thinking and management.
In the following, we will briefly explain how these leadership qualities have a concrete impact on the success of the company.
Your Own Ego Is Not The First Priority
First of all: True top managers of top companies always put their ego at the back of their minds and dedicate every fiber of their bodies to the goal of advancing their company at the highest level. Their ambition is the company not themselves. Many leaders have failed at this hurdle!
Level 5 managers, on the other hand, are determined to do everything in their power to make their company first-class in every respect. On the way to their goal, they do not accept any compromises, but really do not accept any, and proceed in a highly disciplined manner.
Leadership Qualities: Not Dodging The Enemy, But Looking Into the Eye
Apart from their outstanding discipline, Level 5 managers have an incomparable sense of reality. They don’t shy away from unpleasant truths, but look them straight in the eye. But as far as possible, without too deep an emotional involvement. Because they know: Emotionality impairs the quality of strategic decisions.
Only those who keep a cool head are in a position to make decisions that advance their own company. At this point, it should already have become clear why top manager Jobs did not initially stay at the C level for long. He certainly did not lack the ability to think visionary. But he failed because of his own emotionality, which clouded his eye for the essentials.
Management Qualities: It Is Not Short-Term Success That Counts, But Long-Term Success.
But top managers also differ from less successful managers in other respects. For example, they follow the so-called hedgehog principle. It should be noted that in the past, less successful companies were often unable to commit themselves to a consistent strategy. Instead, they tried one after the other.
Top companies proceed differently. They “stick to it” and consistently adhere to their strategy and continuously refine it. In this way they achieve the highest level of quality and productivity and the long-term loyalty of their customers.
However, top managers are not only highly focused and disciplined themselves, they also like to surround themselves with like-minded people, whom they orient themselves by or serve as role models for. Their goal is therefore only to build up and select employees who are just as consistently focused on the best for their own organization as they are on themselves. Those who act so conscientiously can gradually be given more room for manoeuvre.
Only The Best For The Company
Also in their thinking they are different. They want to promote visionary thinking at all levels. Instead of using control mechanisms, top managers therefore steer their teams via a “stop-doing-list”. It includes all areas that miss the core competencies of your own company. Employees should not waste any time on these. Otherwise, they are largely free in their actions and thinking and are provided with everything they need to develop new ideas and visions.
This begins with the latest technology and ends with Lego men and dough, if it serves professional experimentation. Top managers are extremely open to fresh, untapped ideas and have a keen sense of their potential. But they are not afraid to name themselves when they run into emptiness.
In a nutshell, top managers have understood: Through continuous improvement and the consistent delivery of results, organizations can shape the market with an enormous force instead of chasing it. These successes make our own employees and managers more self-confident, because they are proud of what they have achieved. This influences each other in a positive way. However, it is important to keep this flywheel going with all your might.
The prerequisite for this is highly disciplined people in the company who are burning for the common vision to the maximum. At all levels: From the bottom to the top and back again.
Companies should definitely take this into account when selecting personnel and, if in doubt, dare to leave a position vacant if no suitable colleague can be found at first. Companies can only shine as long as they attract the right and most capable people.
It should never be impossible to give a highly specialized expert a second chance after a time-out. There are said to have been those who only needed a little time to mature and then led the company to the top.