3 Ways to become a better leader: Listen, challenge, and commit

Andrew Grove, the former CEO of Intel,leader has been labeled “the person most responsible for the amazing growth in the power and the innovative potential of microchips.” He was voted Time magazine’s Man of the Year in 1997 for his transformative work in Silicon Valley.

Helping to found Intel and turning it into the world’s largest manufacturer of semiconductors, Grove may know a thing or two about leadership. “Business success contains the seeds of its own destruction. Success breeds complacency. Complacency breeds failure. Only the paranoid survive,” states Grove.

Level 5 leadership ensures this seed of destruction never grows. The future and what it holds motivate team members. The goals and dreams are clearly laid out for all to understand. Each team member is pulling their weight in the same direction. No one is off doing their own thing for their own benefit.

Complacency cannot survive when goals are set, especially if those goals are audacious and scary. The bigger the goals, the less complacency. Paranoia sets in that these goals are too big and nearly impossible. Once reached, the confidence it instills is endless. If you can do this, then why not that? And even that seems small compared to what you can really do.

These grandiose ideas need Level 5 leaders at all levels. It is not one person leading the entire crew. There must be leaders within the team, leaders above the team, and leaders at the vendors and suppliers you deal with. No one person makes these dreams a reality.

Grove gives three ways for a leader to help reach that Level 5 status.


Have the humility to listen. The project manager is not an all-knowing being who can shut their ears off to the world and plow straight ahead as if there are no consequences. The higher up the ladder one goes, the more important listening becomes.

Your team is always telling you something. It may not be verbal, and it is likely not direct. If you watch closely, they respond, and you should listen. The implementation of new software, the latest production process, or a new hire are all examples of situations where the team is going to deliver a message without necessarily being vocal.

The way they take to each new idea is a sign of how they feel. Are they excited or feel like it is another stretch of the imagination? Do they start to collaborate to make it work, or do they each take their own stances with it and pull it in different directions?

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