I was on my way to a conference out West Tuesday and was skimming the chapter in Jim Collins' modern business classic, "Good to Great" on Level 5 leadership. Collins' team of "blue chip" graduate students invested on the order of 15,000 hours of research identifying and examining 11 companies out of the Fortune 500 which demonstrated exceptional performance (3x the market average sustained over a 15 year period). The data showed empirically 6 common characteristics that operated in all the great companies, one of which being "Level 5 Leadership".
Level 5 leaders are unique in that they combine extreme humility with tremendous, even fierce, passion for their company (team).
When I got off the plane, who did I see on the shuttle but none other than Coach Funk. I got behind him on the escalator and congratulated him on a great season, exceeding all expectations.
He immediately corrected me, "Well, we had a couple weeks there when we should have played better and we didn't accomplish our main goal...but recruiting is going well and we still have Virginia Tech..."
These guys are Level 5 to the bone.