Week 29 - LeadershipBy Jeff Bryan
Level 5 leaders display a powerful mixture of personal humility and indomitable will. They’re incredibly ambitious, but their ambition is first and foremost for the cause, for the organization and its purpose, not for themselves.
For an overview of each weekly slide presentation, please skip below to your specific grade level.
To see the 1-page Leadership Character Card and share it with your students’ families, click here.
For the P2 Reflection Journals, used by all elementary students at the end of the week, click here.
Photo Credit: George Lange
This strength means that you value each member of your group and inspire people to do their best. Leadership can be both formal and informal. It is concerned with getting others to do what needs to be done while maintaining group morale to ensure readiness to act in the future. This character strength’s focus is on the personal qualities of leaders, rather than the practice of leadership. These qualities include the ability to understand others and inspire them toward a common goal, the capacity to mitigate conflict and mold consensus, and the desire to lead other people.
Positive psychology focuses on transformational leaders. This type of leadership is a process where “leaders and their followers raise one another to higher levels of morality and motivation.” These leaders are able to create a vision, communicate the vision, develop a coherent strategy to achieve that vision, and lead the charge towards its attainment. Through their words and actions, these leaders develop an inspirational relationship with their followers. That is, they fill others with the spirit to attain the vision.
This week, we highlight Jim Collins. Collins is the author of multiple best-selling business books to include Good to Great, Built to Last, and How the Mighty Fall. Through his team’s intensive research, Collins found leadership — specifically what he calls “Level 5 Leadership” — to be the critical component to an organization’s transformation from good to great (Note: This revelation came in spite of the fact that he explicitly told his research team that he “didn’t want to have a leadership answer” to what made a great organization. For the full story, check out this interview).
So what is a Level 5 Leader? A leader that combines personal humility with fierce resolve towards their organization’s success. As Collins explains in the below video, successful leadership isn’t about the leader’s personality or charisma. Instead, it’s about “a leader’s answer to a simple question: Why are you in it? Are you fundamentally doing something that’s about you? Or are you trying to build something great or accomplish something great? If it’s fundamentally about you as a leader, why should anyone give themselves over to what you’re trying to do? But if it’s fundamentally that you’re channeling your ego into a cause or a company…that is not about you, that’s when people are going to sign up.”
So, why does leadership matter?
For individuals, leadership is a way to achieve what you know is important, as groups of people invariably achieve more than individuals. If you want to achieve your vision for the future, you need to inspire others to join you. As an individual’s ability to lead develops, so does that person’s confidence and sense of self-efficacy. However, common dangers to guard against are egotism and arrogance.
A group’s effectiveness and sense of inspiration are tied directly to the leader. Study after study shows that leaders (and managers) have the biggest influence on group success and morale. Leaders can be developed and it starts with character. As General Schwarzkopf said, “Leadership is a potent combination of strategy and character. But if you must be without one, be without the strategy.”
And, as a reminder, you can find all of our weekly slide presentations on our website’s Resources page here. This page is the place that we recommend you go to access all of the resources — not via Google Drive folders.
To find your grade level’s presentation, you can simply type the word “leadership” into the Resource Title search bar or sort by Character Strength and select Leadership. Each of those options will provide you with 10 slide presentations and one 1-page character card. For a simple overview of the Resources page, with pictures and videos, click here.