Great Leadership Requires Commitment

Am I a leader worth following?

Am I building teams built to last?

There are 3 components to each of these questions.  Competency, Commitment, and Character are essential to the first question: “Am I a leader worth following?”  Competency was covered in my last series post. This blog will focus on the commitment required for leadership.

Commitment is persistence with purpose. 

Commitment is what keeps you going in the face of adversity and challenges.  Leaders must continually evaluate their commitment to the people they lead and to their purpose.  Ken Blanchard said, “There’s a difference between interest and commitment.  When you’re interested in doing something, you do it only when circumstances permit.  When you’re committed to something, you accept no excuses, only results.”  Commitment ignites action. Without it, people will not follow you.

Leaders also need to decide what level of leadership they are willing to commit to.  I have found John Maxwell’s description of the Five Levels of Leadership to be very helpful.  For me, they tie in to Jim Collins’ research about Level 5 Leaders.  Collins found that the most effective leaders (Level 5) build enduring greatness through a paradoxical blend of personal humility and professional will.

Levels of leadership

What level of leadership are you willing to commit to?

  • Level 1 – Position (Rights). People follow you because they have to.  This is often how people first begin in leadership.  Leaders who stay at this level often devalue people, feed on politics, and place rights over responsibilities.
  • Level 2 – Permission (Relationships). People follow you because they want to.  They follow because you care about them, are encouraging, and practice the golden rule.
  • Level 3 – Production (Results). People follow you because of what you have done for the organization.  By following you, the team gets things done and ultimately achieves positive results.
  • Level 4 – People Development (Reproduction). People follow you because of what you have done for them.  The goal of leadership is to develop leaders, not gain followers. Level 4 leaders create a leadership culture.  They realize that developing leaders is a life commitment, not a job commitment.
  • Level 5 – The Pinnacle (Respect). People follow because of who you are and what you represent.  Level 5 leaders remain humble and teachable, maintain core focus, and create the right inner circle to keep them grounded.  They do what only they can do and develop top leaders.

Every leader needs to decide to what level of leadership he or she is willing to commit.  With each level comes more commitment and sacrifice.

There is also another catch to becoming a level 5 leader.  The higher you go, the less control you have.  You are required to lead with a higher level of vulnerability because you have to rely more and more on the people you lead.  This is a struggle for many leaders.  Many leaders are content to stay at Level 3 and are quite successful because of the results they produce and the level of control they can maintain.

Reaching Level 4 and 5 leadership requires extra levels of commitment to vulnerability and developing others.  The trade-off is that Level 4 and 5 leaders have a greater level of influence, which translates to better results for the cause they have committed themselves to.

Do you have the commitment?

Do you have the commitment to grow, learn, and work towards becoming a Level 5 leader? Do you have the commitment to make it through when things don’t go according to plan?

If you are wondering about your commitment level, there is a simple way to measure it.  Take out your chequebook and calendar.  Spend some time looking at where you spend your money and time.  How much time do you spend at work, with family, and in recreational activities?   Do your time investments at work reflect how you want to lead?  Where we spend our money and time are the true measures of our commitment.

True commitment inspires and attracts people.  It shows them you have conviction.  People will believe in you only if you believe in your cause.  Commitment is persistence with purpose and makes you a leader worth following.

For more free resources, visit our resources page.


John Neufeld

Trainer, ACHIEVE Centre for Learning

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