There it was on the HBS Working Knowledge site, an
article with the title “Are You a Level-Six
Leader?” Really? That reminds me of a joke, “How many levels does it take to
brand a leadership guru?”
The answer is: “One more than the last guru.”
Maybe we could get this all over with if we had a leadership guru branding
auction, with the proceeds going to the Home for Indigent Gurus. Listen to the auctioneer’s cry.
“I’ve got five levels, who’ll give me six? Six levels, do I hear seven? Seven
levels, who’ll give me eight? Eight levels …”
I’m not judging the content of the article. I’m sure there’s some good and
helpful advice there. But I also know that concentrating on the label of the
“system” instead of the behaviors is not very productive.
Leadership hasn’t changed all that much since Caesar was tramping around
Gaul. Human nature has been constant for far longer than that.
We don’t need slick, marketing-approved, new labels. We need behaviors that
Boss’s Bottom Line
Don’t pay attention to the labels. Look for the behaviors. If you come upon
one that makes sense, try it. If it works, keep doing it. If it doesn’t work,
try something else.