Measuring Leadership Effectiveness

It’s easy to get caught up in leadership skills and development. Plus, when things are going well, it’s even easier to ignore any measurements that tell you how effective the leadership really is in your organization. There are numerous ways to measure effectiveness, but all of these analytics occur in four broad categories. Let’s examine each category of leadership measurement.

The first category of leadership measurement is in the subjective realm. When subjective measurements are mentioned, people have the tendency to dismiss them. But can the subjective measurements of your organization tell you how effective the leadership is? Absolutely. First, and in general, you must take an honest look at the overall morale of the organization. Is it deflating or non-existent? Or is morale high, even in the face of new challenges and obstacles? Low morale is a good indicator that leadership is not effective. What about participation and attendance? For example, if you begin to offer “town hall” style meetings or “brown bag” lunch sessions, are you hard pressed to find anyone who is interested? If you have to beg people to communicate or improve, that’s another subjective measurement of leadership. Is innovation a part of every day life at your organization? What about continuous process improvement? Do people feel comfortable speaking out when they see inefficiency better ways to do things? If not, this is a definite sign that leadership needs to step up.

From the subjective, you can move into numbers-based metrics. Often, the numbers of the organization can tell you if leadership is effective. For example, what does productivity look like now as opposed to last year? Is a temporary “dip” occurring, or is the trend headed down? Other areas of measurement for leaders can be efficiency and mistakes. Are employees making fewer or more mistakes now? Are the errors being corrected in a timely manner, or are they being left to languish? How are sales? Are numbers up or steady, even when times are bad? Take a close look at your customer service, both internally and externally. Are there numerous complaints making it to your level, or are they being resolved at lower levels? You can look at the metrics that are used to determine the health of the organization and make a link back to leadership, especially on those metrics that are not linked to pay or bonuses. Remember that poor organizational performance can be related to many issues, such as market forces, poor positioning, or just bad economics. But also keep in mind that by taking a serious look at these metrics, you can adjust leadership accordingly.

Another method of measuring leadership effectiveness is the implementation of a leadership index. An index is a targeted measurement tool that associates complete regarding their managers or leaders. Essentially, it’s an evaluation of the leader using the skills, behaviors, and attitudes that are found to be appropriate for the organization. In simple terms, you may see questions such as, the person “treats me with respect” and “helps me work on continuous improvement”. The evaluator is asked to give anonymous, confidential answers about the leader. The leader gets to see his or her results and can work on a development plan from those results. There are numerous systems that can create the leadership index for the organization, or you can do it on your own. The main thing to remember is that using generic leadership behaviors, skills, and attitudes will not give you the best picture of effectiveness. The organization must determine what skills and behaviors are most appropriate to its leaders.

One of the final methods of measuring leadership effectiveness is related to the leadership index. You can also measure leadership potential. Using a similar index, the organization can measure how leaders are being groomed and encouraged at lower levels. A large number of potential leaders tells you that leadership is effective at the organization – and that it is catching on at all levels. The fact that a leadership pool is developing on its own tells you that your leaders are indeed leading effectively.

These are broad-based areas of measuring leadership effectiveness. Take the time to look at your organization, its size, and its leadership requirements in order to determine what measurements are appropriate.

Copyright 2009 Bryant Nielson. All Rights Reserved.

Bryant Nielson – Learning & Development Expert – assists executives, business owners, and top performing sales executives in taking the leap from the ordinary to extraordinary. Bryant is a trainer, business & leadership coach, and strategic planner for many sales organizations. Bryant’s 27 year business career has been based on his results-oriented style of empowering.

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