Earl Maxwell, founder of Maxwell, Locke and Ritter and CEO of St.David's Foundation, is one of my heroes and mentors. He introduced me to core values when I was just starting out and the greatest lesson of all: no success at work is worth failure at home.  He also gave me a profound compliment to live up to my whole life when he called me a level 5 leader. So what's a Level 5 leader?  Jim Collins, in his bestseller Good to Great researched hundreds of companies to understand what separates the good from the great.  To benchmark, he defined "great" as having average cumulative stock return of at least 3 times the market over a 15 year period. Only 11 of the Fortune 500 companies made the cut.  Their leaders were identified as Level 5 for this key trait:  the ability to blend extreme personal humility with intense professional will.  Humility + Will = level 5 leader.  How do they do it?

1) They set up others for success.

2) They are modest.

3) Their resolve and diligence never wavers.

4) Mediocrity is unacceptable to them.

5) They are quick to credit others for their success, credit theirs to luck and take the blame for mistakes.

How do you become a level 5 leader?  Here's my advice:

1) Build your bench and groom great leaders to succeed you in your organization.  This starts with delegating.

2) If someone is giving you the credit, turn the spotlight away from you and on to the team you lead.  Better yet, join the choir and include specific examples in your praise.

3) People first, ideas later:  get the right team on the bus before you tackle the route.

4) Be brave enough to confront your weaknesses, address them and maintain confidence that you will succeed.

5) Play the part.  If you want to be a level 5 leader, start acting like one.

Go out there and be great!

Keep it classy,