Over lunch the other day, I was having a conversation with a friend of mine around my favorite topic – leadership. I’ve been thinking, reading and writing about leadership, and the privilege of leadership, for a long time now. As we were talking, my friend reminded me of a presentation I gave a couple of years ago about leading for the future, and he asked me if I had changed my perspective on what I had proposed was the key role of leaders – preparing people for the future – I haven’t. I continue to believe, as strongly as ever, that the new Role of Leadership is preparing people for the future. Helping our teams face reality and mobilizing them to embrace the changes which are inevitable.
All that being said, how do we measure leadership success? Are you a successful leader? Here are 5 key metrics that every leader should pay attention to, and excel at:
The great leadership differentiator, in those who lead, is the vision exercised. Not just the ability to anticipate the challenges coming down the road, and the strategy to overcome them, but the unfiltered honesty by which we view ourselves and our teams. That clarity of vision provides an accurate assessment of the gaps in ourselves, and those we lead, and focuses our attention on what we need to address in order to be successful.
How much growth do you see in those you lead? Nothing gives me greater satisfaction, than seeing those I’ve had the privilege of leading, do well! I can look back on many I’ve invested time in, and see their careers progressing well, and more importantly, their prospects far surpassing my wildest imagination. If you are a successful leader, you will be able to measure the degree to which you have empowered those you’ve led, and the successes you have seen them have.
I had the good fortune a number of years ago, to work for a boss that I trusted to be supportive and protective. More times than I can list here, I watched him have my back where he could have easily thrown me under the bus. Not long ago, as I transitioned from one opportunity to another, I received an email from a junior member of my team who wrote to say he was disappointed because he “finally had a leader who went to bat for the team.” That was one of the nicest things I’ve been told. If you are a successful leader, your teams will trust that you want the best for them, support them, and protect them.
It takes courage to say “I was wrong” – but there is tremendous power in those words. No one is perfect and we all make mistakes, the only real issue is to ensure we do not continue to make the same mistakes over and over again. If you are a successful leader, your team will see you as someone who is willing to admit when they were wrong, take responsibility and rectify the problem is required.
- Shared Credit
While it is true that to the victor go the spoils, all real leaders know and acknowledge that their successes are attributable to large groups of people, all pulling in the same direction and for the same purpose. And while the reality is well known, too many leaders are unwilling to share the credit for successes. In the same conversation I referenced earlier, my friend shared a recent experience where he brought what he felt was a novel idea to his boss, who summarily dismissed it as unworthy of consideration. A few weeks later, that same boss tabled the same idea on a conference call – as his own! Sadly I’ve seen that happen too often. If you are a successful leader, your team will see you as someone who is willing to give credit when due, and share the credit for team and corporate successes.
Are you a successful leader? If you are, that success can be quantified by evidence which shows that you have vision while empowering your team through humility and a willingness to share credit. In the end you will see a team who trusts you!