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Understanding level 5 leaders: the ethical perspectives of leadership humility. (2017)

“Leaders can be more effective if they understand the ethical nature of leadership and the importance of humility in building trust.”

Cam Caldwell, Riki Ichiho, Verl Anderson: Dixie State University, Utah
Journal of Management Development, 36(5)

From the Abstract:

“Jim Collins, in his seminal work Good to Great, noted that all great organizations are led by “Level 5 leaders (L5Ls).” These leaders exhibit fierce resolve, but incredible humility.”

Since Collins’ work 15 years ago, “very little has been written about the nature of humility as a leadership virtue. This paper is among the first to identify the relationship between ethics and humility for L5Ls.

“This (conceptual) paper examines the nature of humility and its assumptions associated with 12 frequently cited ethical perspectives.”

Exploring current research, the authors conclude that “humility builds high follower trust and commitment so often lacking in the modern organization.

“The paper identifies four practical contributions for scholars and leaders who seek to understand the role of humility in leadership effectiveness.”

It suggests that “leaders can be more effective if they come to understand the implicit ethical nature of leadership and the importance of humility in building trust.”

Access the full paper here: Understanding level 5 leaders

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  1. Tejasvi Addagada says:

    Need a copy of the paper.

    • Daedalus admin says:

      Hi Tejasvi – we can only direct our visitors to the sources publishers make publicly available. Often they charge for access and we must respect the authors intellectual property.

  2. Dominic McCanny says:

    Thank you for publishing the concept around ‘Humility’ in leadership. At the recent European Association of Work and Organizational Psychologists 2017 (held in Dublin) I attended a lecture around Humility in Leadership. People may be aware of the Big 5 Traits on Personality (Openness | Agreeableness | Conscientiousness | Extroversion | Neuroticism) but Dr Kibeom Lee also discussed Humility in Personality and Leadership. In conjunction with Dr Michael Ashton they have developed the personality profile HEXACO which combines the essentials of the Big 5 and also that of Humility. They have been researching this since 2000. Individuals can complete their free personality assessment that measures their ‘Humility’. This is a very good profile and worthwhile completing. To do so visit

    Dominic McCanny is a Chartered Occupational Psychologist with the British Psychological Society and can be contacted through his website

    • Daedalus admin says:

      Thank you for drawing our attention to this Dominic. I will try and make contact with Drs Lee and Ashton to make them aware of our work, and also to see if they have any papers / publications we might consider for uploading.