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When discussing the findings presented in his book Good to Great, Jim Collins describes the “funny thing [that] happens in the presence of a Level 5 [Leader]. Other people begin to be more like Level 5” (audio clip). Why is this important for teachers and leaders?

This builds a culture of excellence. When great leaders build a team of other great leaders, their behaviors and actions begin to cascade to all levels of employees within an organization. Organizations can only be great if all departments, divisions, schools, and/or programs within the organization are great.

The focus of leaders is about creating opportunities for others to be successful. Collins describes (audio clip) the Level 5 leader, a great leader, as leaders:

who operated first and foremost with a genuine humility; but it was humility as defined as a burning, passionate, obsessive ambition for the cause, for the company, for the work—not themselves. And they had this utterly stoic will to make good on that ambition.

So, what’s the lesson for educational leaders and teachers? We must lead and teach with similar humility—with a true passion and ambition for engaging students to learn, grow, and achieve academic excellence, for ensuring that parents are satisfied with their children’s learning experience—to never give up.




Collins, James. “A Funny Thing Happens Around Level 5 Leaders.” Audio Clip available online here.

Collins, James. Good to Great. Information available online on author’s website here.

Collins, James. “What is Level 5?” Audio Clip available online here.

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