How Do You Measure Leadership?

I just had one of those intellectual conversations with a friend about whether or not it is possible to measure the success of a teacher. She is a teacher who feels that it is tricky to adequately create measurable competencies for teachers. So it got me thinking. What are the competencies necessary for a successful leader? Are there universal behaviors or attitudes required for leadership or is it very subjective according to an organization or an industry? Is it necessary or critical to have the same system of measurement for all leaders? Well, I think if we do not establish criteria to base successful leadership on, we might run into a professional dilemma.

So what are the competencies we need to include on our leadership evaluations?

  • Self-awareness: Knowing who we are as leaders and what we stand for should be our beginning point. Understanding our personality type and what makes us tick when interacting with others is crucial to a leader establishing rapport with those they manage, report to as well as work with. Leaders need to be able to blend their personal values with those of the organization they lead in.
  • Vision: Every leader needs to not only be able to dream the direction to lead, but be able to communicate that vision with excitement. As we know, without followers of our vision, leaders remain isolated, unable to move their troops in alignment with their goals.
  • Effective Communication: Most important to a leader’s success is the ability to express themselves clearly while being respectful of another person’s point of view. Leading is all about successfully getting our message across with accurate language, proper non-verbal cues and enthusiasm.  In addition, we must be active listeners willing to understand what our team members are saying. In his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey shares: “When you can present your own ideas clearly, specifically, visually and most important contextually-in the context of a deep understanding of another person’s paradigms and concerns- you significantly increase the credibility of your ideas.”
  • Concern for Others: Leadership is all about developing those around us so that they can reach their highest potential. This process of mentoring our team and empowering others to soar should be at the hub of every leader’s evaluation.
  • Achieving Results: A leader must do whatever it takes to not only meet, but exceed their goals. Great leaders should be measured by the numbers they produce and the performance they achieve.

We can measure leaders by consistent standards and should hold leaders accountable for mastering these competencies.  Which behaviors or attitudes would you add to evaluate great leadership?

2 thoughts on “How Do You Measure Leadership?

  1. Terri, Agree with your thoughts on evaluation of leadership, but this has not been in the practice specially keeping in mind the traditional leadership and management styles. I think one of the attitude or behavior could be creativity. What if the employees could evaluate and give feedback to the leader ?

  2. Kapil, I think creativity is also important and can be integrated in all the criteria I discussed. In terms of feedback, I always think a 360 degree evaluation is helpful for all leaders. That evaluation should most definitely include the team members who report to the leader. Thank you so much for your interest.


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