The Hierarchy of Leadership Capability

The Hierarchy of Leadership Capability 2020

This diagram is a very simplified way of representing something I’ve been working on recently – a framework around leadership capability and how every organisation requires capability at each level of the pyramid.

The main idea is that you can’t be tactical unless your operational execution is optimised, you can’t be strategic unless any tactical plays are optimised inside the boundaries of the chosen strategy and you can’t be visionary unless each of these capabilities is aligned and operating at peak efficiency.

Visionary – a person of unusually keen foresight. 


An example of a visionary leader would be Steve Jobs, Charlie Munger or Bill Gates. A visionary doesn’t just have a vision. They are able to communicate the vision clearly and concisely and convince people to believe in helping them realise it.

There are very few visionary leaders. Many leaders believe they are visionary leaders but engage in behaviour that is counterproductive to getting the best out of their people. Many are attempting to be strategic, but actually leading tactical moves informed by their experience in operational level roles.

The hierarchy of leadership capability is one of those mental models I find helpful. For your own organisation, you could probably work through your organisation chart and categorise key people in each layer and identify under-utilised strategic leaders to help drive your strategy forward.