Author: Mike Marr

Does it have to be lonely at the top?

A few years ago I was down at National Park town ship in the Central North Island and I came across this hill of gravel with a single chair at the top of it, most likely placed there by some local children.

I quickly pulled out the iPhone and took this photo as it made me think about the challenge of leadership in business and how it can be lonely at times especially for the entrepreneur.

In leadership we often have to make big decisions or unpopular ones, we also have to constantly keep growing and reinventing ourselves so we become better leaders and people.

We have to stay in touch with our staff and take responsibility for them making sure they have opportunities to grow as well as having a genuine care for them and their families.

Leadership is a challenge, but to lead an organisation is an amazing privilege. So grow, develop, evolve and stay in the chair.

The five levels of leadership

Last week I spent a day with some very good entrepreneurial  friends on a mini retreat, a great time of coming together to share our business journey but also to learn to become better business owners and business leaders.

We have been working through Jim Collins ‘Good to Great’ and ‘Great by Choice’ and Level 5 Leadership. A Level 5 Leader is someone who embodies a “paradoxical mix of personal humility and professional will.”

As CEOs and business leaders we are all on a journey and it is great to stop and reflect where we are at and where we are heading as we grow and evolve.  These books are great reads.

Here’s an extract from link above.

The Level 5 leader sits on top of a hierarchy of capabilities and is, according to our research, a necessary requirement for transforming an organization from good to great. But what lies beneath? Four other layers, each one appropriate in its own right but none with the power of Level 5. Individuals do not need to proceed sequentially through each level of the hierarchy to reach the top, but to be a full-fledged Level 5 requires the capabilities of all the lower levels, plus the special characteristics of Level 5.

Level 5 The Executive
Builds enduring greatness through a paradoxical combination of personal humility plus professional will.

Level 4 The Effective Leader
Catalyzes commitment to and vigorous pursuit of a clear and compelling vision; stimulates the group to high performance standards.

Level 3  The Competent Manager
Organizes people and resources toward the effective and efficient pursuit of predetermined objectives.

Level 2 The Contributing Team Member
Contributes to the achievement of group objectives; works effectively with others in a group setting.

Level 1 The Highly Capable Individual
Makes productive contributions through talent, knowledge, skills, and good work habits.

Image courtesy of Basketman /

Continue Reading