Keeping Your Balance: Seven Challenges of the Fifth Rung

A leader at the top of the ladder must continue to stay focused. The challenges will continue once there at the top. Just arriving at the top of the ladder does not mean that things will be easier on that leader. It does mean however that the leader can accomplish some great things there because he or she have learned what it takes to work hard. During the process of climbing to the top, the leader focused and stayed on task. There was a motivation that drove them there.

Once there at the fifth rung, the leader can become complacent in his or her leadership. The accomplishment of getting there is now gone while the leader must continue looking for new areas to serve others. The leader must face a new challenge and that challenge is continued growth. For the leader, the continued growth must be the new focal point. He or she must look to please God and not others to remain there. There must still be involvement in the community and less on self. Also, the leader at this level must continue to nurture relationships. Lastly, the leader must continue to fine-tune his or her flaws.

As long and as hard as it was for the leader to get to the top the fall off the top can be quick and painful. The leader must balance there. While that takes place the leader must continue learning. Along with learning he or she must remain teachable.

A leader’s goal is to reach the top. A lot of information has been given throughout this book about getting to the top. It is exciting to watch leaders who are successful. It’s also hard to watch those who are not. I have loved reading stories of those who have climbed to the top. I’ve loved reading autobiographies on successful leaders. I also loved good stories of those who fell from the top and were able to get up, wipe off the dust, and climb back up to the top.

In my own leadership, I have had trouble continuing to serve others. It is difficult to stay focused on other’s needs. It’s not that I don’t care, but just looking at the position keeps my attention. Bringing this to mind and being aware of it will always help me continue in my leadership.

I have learned to grow and keep focused no matter where I am in leadership.


Thrall, Bill, McNicol, Bruce and Ken McElrath. The Ascent of a Leader: How Ordinary Relationships Develop Extraordinary Character and Influence. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1999.


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