After many years as a leader and student of leadership I believe that while anyone can grow their leadership skills there are some natural limits on people’s leadership. Not everyone can rise to higher levels of leadership.
You may be aware of situations in your workplace or in an organisation to which you belong where problems exist because someone has been promoted to a position which is above their level of competency. Everyone who is in a new position takes a little while to find their feet, but there are some people who should never be promoted because they just don’t have the capacity to grow into the new position.
There seem to be 5 levels of leadership capacity:
- Ability to lead a small team – need to like people and be able to connect well with them to help them enjoy whatever is the purpose of the group
- Ability to lead other team leaders – need to be able to motivate people towards your organisation’s key goals.
- Ability to lead a Department – must be able to deal with levels of complexity within your Department and also to be able to interact meaningfully with other Department Leaders as part of the larger organisation.
- Ability to be a Senior Leader in a large organisation – must be able to think strategically and be able to contribute on behalf of whole organisation
- Ability to be CEO – must be able to see the clear and unfolding vision for the whole organisation and communicate it in an inspiring way which gathers people to larger purpose. Must also be able to process vast amounts of information and discern the key issues that are relevant NOW.
In my experience almost anyone who is healthy emotionally can lead at Levels I and II if they want to learn the necessary leadership skills.
There is a larger jump in capacity required from Level II to Level III and it seems that some people just do not have that capacity. Even then it is amazing what can be overcome when desire is strong enough.
I have found these levels very useful to test and prove people in terms of their leadership capacity. They need to prove capable and confident at one level before being promoted to the next. Before appointing them to a new level it is always good to give them opportunity to rise to next level tasks.
VITALLY IMPORTANT NOTE: All of these Levels of Leadership assume that a leader is able to lead him or herself, control their own spirit and organise their world so that they turn up on time ready to perform their duties well every day!
What is your experience with this? I’d love to know if you agree or have something to add to the conversation.