Sample Leadership Studies Paper on Effective Leaders

Effective Leader

Jim Collins coined the concept of level 5 leadership in which he outlines the characteristics of an effective leader. He discovered that effective leaders show humility and are not driven by personal glory in pursuit of success. Effective leadership traits benefit organizations and staff by empowering them to enhance performance.

Characteristics of an effective leader

Jim Collins identifies the professional will and personal humility as two significant traits possessed by level 5 leaders. Per Collins, the professional will is the ability of leaders to institute what must be done no matter how difficult the situation is (Collins, 2001). For instance, if the quality standards in a production department decline, an effective leader should explore the issue, diagnose and establish the problem. Subsequently, the leader should make that important decision like firing an employee who has been with the company for decades but is responsible for the declining production standards. In addition, effective leaders are those who share the success of the company with the external environment and recognize the contribution of external factors like customers, investors, and community. If the company has surpassed its achievement targets, great leaders do not keep quiet but proudly share the information with stakeholders and collaborators.

Great leaders are more concerned with excellence and make necessary adjustments and support structures to ensure the company endures beyond a manager’s tenure. If a company has a history of good performance, the good work will be sustainable even after a leader exit the company. Per Collins (2001), personal humility trait envisages the ability of a leader to work with ultimate determination and never fall for public praise or boast about his or her achievement. Effective leaders work as per the set standards and do not rely on their charisma to institute changes and steer a company towards high-level productivity. The humility trait makes a leader to guide a company through personal ambition but does not confuse the achievement as a personal success story.

Essential methods for effective leadership

Jim Collins believes that fostering a culture of discipline within an organization is a method used by leaders to advance effective leadership. The leader is required to establish a culture of personal discipline in all staff to promote individual independence and entrepreneurial behavior essential in producing the best organizational results. Further, effective leadership is achieved through careful selection of staff and teams with adequate competence, skills, and knowledge essential for achieving success. Collins asserts great leaders tend to find the right people for the job and subsequently eliminate those unable to achieve the set goals (Keating, 2015). The right personnel are given clear instructions on what to accomplish and the rest becomes a success story. Jim Collins also proposes the Stockdale paradox strategy to help an organization institute effective leadership. Based on the strategy, a great leader goes beyond the activities of chief competitors during environmental scanning process. After successful environmental scanning, a leader is correctly positioned to confront current organization issues and situations and make important decisions intended to achieve good results.


Effective leaders as presented by Jim Collins are those capable of transforming organizations and steering them towards well-defined business goals. These inspirational leaders are additionally individuals capable of fostering effective and seamless organization performance at high levels of productivity. Great and effective leaders rely on the professional will and personal humility as two essential traits to guide a company towards success. Notably, effective leadership is fostered through personal discipline, finding the right people for the job and external environment scanning.


Collins, J. (2001). Level 5 leadership: The triumph of humility and fierce resolve. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from

Keating, E. (2015). Jim Collins: 12 steps to taking your business from good to great. Smart Company. Retrieved from