“Good leadership is hard to measure on a daily basis, which is why so many default to doing what’s easy to measure instead.” This quote, pulled from the Twitter feed of best selling leadership author and TED Talks speaker, Simon Sinek, gets to the heart of a real issue—when we can’t tell how well we’re doing, it becomes harder to keep giving it our all.
The truth is, there are assessments for everything these days. We can fully assess a potential candidate for hire right down to intimate tendencies. We have review processes that allow for 360° feedback on performance over longer periods of time. What we don’t have, however, is a single metric or tool that says, “This is how you’ve performed today.”
The Power of 3
Measurement is necessary for motivation and success. There may not be a single tool that can provide it, but you can create your own by employing the following three tactics on a daily basis:
A team’s performance says a lot about its leadership. Yes, there are bad apples; but it’s the team as a whole that will tell you what you need to know. Are talents being developed? Is forward progress being made? Does the overall performance have a positive trajectory? As
Dennis A. Peer once said: “One measure of leadership is the caliber of people who choose to follow you.”
I just recently wrote an article that discusses the movement away from the traditional review process in favor of talent conversations. This trend is favorable for many reasons, including the fact that it offers leaders an opportunity to have regular communications and check-ins with employees rather than only once or twice a year. It ensures things are on-track and enables more rapid development.
It’s easy to see, however, that employing such a tactic isn’t beneficial only for employee growth and development. The wonderful thing about conversations is that they are two-way, providing leaders a way to solicit ongoing feedback about their performance from employees as well.
A great way to transition the conversation from employee talent to management performance is to introduce a survey. According to a recent report from Harvard Business Review (HBR), “No matter how open you are as a manager, our research shows, many of your people are more likely to keep mum than to question initiatives or suggest new ideas at work.” Leaders need to ask the questions and provide an environment that encourages honest and fruitful answers.
HBR points out that conducting surveys with anonymity can make employees feel as though there’s a lack of trust in the workplace. “If you ask for input frequently and hold the conversations face-to-face, idea sharing will feel less ominous and more natural”; hence, the need for surveys integrated into talent conversations.
Measuring a Good Leader
What makes a good leader? It’s knowing how to fully leverage the talents, skills, knowledge, and ideas of his or her people; and, employing these 3 tactics will not only help ensure success, but tell you how you’re doing along the way.