Levels of Leadership

What got you here won't get you there.

60% of first level managers fail in the first 12-24 months. I’ve seen it happen too many times. A leader gets stuck and his role and responsibilities outgrow his abilities. Or an organization promotes a top performer and doesn’t understand why that individual isn’t a great leader. Each level of leadership requires different competencies and focus. A leader that relies on what got them to this point will get stuck if they don’t continue to grow and adapt.

Everyone has the ability to be a leader. Leadership is learned not something you’re born with. Even if you’re an individual contributor in an organization you have the ability to influence people and set the culture. It’s important we understand both where we are at and the competencies required of our role. While some say there are up to seven levels of leadership in an organization, I think it can be simplified to four. 

Levels of Leadership

Individual Contributor
Leads By Example

Recognize and operate in your strengths
Learn work-life balance
Be teachable and always learning
Develop goals and dreams for the future

Lead by serving others
Lead by setting a great example
Be disciplined and have a great work ethic
Support, encourage and fulfill your boss’s vision

Leader of People
Leads Through Delegation

Develop great communication skills
Manage conflict
Understand how to delegate and hold others accountable
Learn to confront and discipline

Build great teams
Identify blind spots that limit or hinder your leadership
Build and fine-tune systems
Set clear expectations

Leader of Leaders
Leads Through Equipping

Coach for development not just performance
Financial tools such as budgets and forecasting
Strategic thinking beyond weekly or monthly tactical problems
Ensure adherence to organization’s vision and mission

Coach and develop leaders
Remove roadblocks for your leaders
Measure and evaluate performance
Long term planning and forecasting

Leader of Organizations
Leads Through Vision

Long-term thinking
Keep the pulse of organization
Ensure right things are happening to attract and keep top talent
Personal brand matters (high integrity, consistent performance, healthy personal life, etc) – you are the face of your organization!

Contend for vision and culture in organization
Develop and lead a senior leadership team
Industry and peer relationships
Understand world trends (gov’t policy, regulations, international affairs, etc.) that impact organization

Question: This list is not exhaustive. What would you add or remove from the list? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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