5 Characteristics of A Next-Level Leader

There are many different thoughts or definitions of what a Next-Level Leader is or what that word-pairing actually means. In this post I will provide my personal definition of what a Next-Level Leader is, in addition to identifying 5 Characteristics of A Next-Level Leader.

The definition of a Next-Level Leader is this- A leader that not only elevates their personal leadership to the Next-Level, but elevates the leadership of their team members, peers and competition to the Next-Level. They challenge those around them to dream BIG. think BIGGER

Below are the 5 Characteristics of A Next-Level Leader, Next-Level Leaders always do these things:

1.) Challenge Things- They challenge things because they are supposed to be challenged. They not only challenge the thoughts/methods of their leaders, but they challenge their own methodology. They realize that their boss puts their pants on just like they do and embrace the fact that just because a person a supervisor doesn’t mean they are necessarily smarter or better leaders, or that they can’t add value to the conversation. Challenging things is not about being combative, but rather raising every-one’s leadership game to the Next-Level. It’s okay to respectfully disagree. Don’t get the willingness to challenge things confused with being obstinate.

2.) Ask The Right Questions- They always ask the right questions… They begin sentences with “What If?, Have You Ever Thought About?, This Might Sound Crazy, but do you think we can…”  Anytime they have the opportunity to sit down with a Next-Level Leader that they desire to learn from, they have a list of questions and not a list of answers. They take their leadership game to the Next-Level by asking the right questions.

3.) dream BIG- They are always dreaming and imagining.  Some of these dreams may seem to be a fairy-tale to some, but not to a Next-Level Leader. A Next-Level Leader will schedule an appointment to dream, they go to Starbucks and dream, they close their office door and dream, they take a vacation alone to do nothing but dream. They take their leadership game to the Next-Level by dreaming BIG, encouraging those around them to dream BIG, writing their dreams down and making those dreams a reality. They dream BIG. think BIGGER.

4.) Learners- They are always learning from: books, blogs, their industry, history, other industries, culture, failures, their followers, other Next-Level Leaders. They have a mantra something like Will Rogers’ Mantra (I never met a man I didn’t like) The Next-Level “I Never Met a Man, Woman or Situation that I didn’t learn from.” They elevate their leadership game to the next-level by realizing that learning is fundamental.

5.) Produce Next-Level Leaders- Next-Level Leaders produce Next-Level Leaders. Next-Level Leaders contribute to the world of leadership by truly caring about those that they lead and always developing Next-Level Leaders. They never confuse Management with Leadership.  Managers manage people and things… Next-Level Leaders produce other Next-Level Leaders.  Simply put: “If You Are Not Developing and Producing Next-Level Leaders… You Are Not A Next Level Leader.” Next-Level leadership is not about how tall your tree can grow, but rather the type of fruit your tree can produce.

I start with the premise that the function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers.“~Ralph Nader

What has been your experience working with a Next-Level Leaders? Share your thoughts on any of these 5 Characteristics or Share your definition of a Next-Level Leader.

  • Shaun Coffey

    this is brilliant

  • I think #5 is the biggest indicator of a next-level leader. You have to bring up the next gen of leaders. True leadership begets more leaders.

  • Agree with Tom…#5 is huge. It’s the Great Commission. ‘Go…make disciples.’ And a disciple is a learner. As leaders in the church, we are to seek out the leadership potential in others and move toward passing the baton. Also important to be learning from next-level leaders, not simply giving them our experience and knowledge. Look, if I’m not learning something from those I am mentoring and leading, then I’m not teachable. Period. Great post!

  • I would describe the Next-Level Leader as a walking target board. You will be targeted for being different and challenging status quo. May I propose a sixth characteristic: “Next-Level Leaders are in for the long-haul”. Otherwise, frustration may just kill all the other characteristics.

  • Aimee

    I would also propose a 6th… Next level leaders invest in healthy relational teams. Without this type of leadership any organizational will not succeed in retaining other next level leaders.

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