Written by Phil on December 17, 2010
As a leadership development company one of the most difficult aspects of our work is measuring the return on investment from any form of leadership development.
There is no doubt that leadership drives success in an organisation and therefore has a direct influence on the bottom line profit of any organisation but the relationship between leadership and profit is indirect and tenuous therefore difficult to correlate and hence measure. Anyone can tell fairly quickly if a company is well lead or badly led by the way it functions. Good leadership is after all the difference between being an ordinary or an extraordinary organisation and that difference is stark to the honed eye. Yet rarely is the success of an organisation directly attributed to the leadership function.
Leadership needs to be measured over a substantial period of time as its impact will take time to manifest itself. And leadership cannot be measured easily for its effects are entwined in every outcome or efficiency measure. There is no simple clearly evident link between good leadership and success although such leadership is commonly acknowledged as fundamental to success.
Leadership, good or bad, is exercised in a personal and individual way and therefore there is no real metric that meets the leadership requirement as most of it is about feeling and subjective rather than tangible objective assessment. Different types and styles of leader suit different situations and a leaders influence is so ubiquitous it can be measured in many different ways.
One thing each leader is responsible for is selecting their supporting team and it is perhaps here that there are certain common requirements that need to be met. Having the key skill sets embedded within that team and allowing those skills to come to the fore when necessary is probably one of the true abiities of a successful leaders and perhaps one of the simplest and yet most effective way of measuring good leadership. Leadership is after all about decision making and leadership is about making sure that the right expert is in the right place to enable the smart decision.
So what are the key skill sets required within any leadership team and how do we measure them. tasks can be duplicated as long as each team member understands his or her duties.
A team needs a Vision Maker someone who sees and can clearly articulate the desired endstate this may be the leader. The team also needs an Organiser to marshal people and resources. But people don’t do things without a Motivator or Enthuser so one of those is required. Opportunities need to be recognised and exploited by a Watcher. An Innovator is key to overcoming issues that have no precedent. Motivation once estabished needs to be maintained and goals set and reviewed by a Driver/Manager. If a team is to be successful it must build relationships within it and with other teams, hence the requirement for an Alliance Builder. We all get bored and some are not good at finishing what they started so a Deliverer/Finisher is key to completing anything. Learning and communicating are the domain of a Communicator, someone who ensures the smooth passage of communication and learning wherever it is required. Last but not least is the person who thinks the unthinkable who keeps the whole team true to the purpose and consequences through challenge, whatever the appeal elsewhere; long live the Honest Broker.
As Marshall Goldsmith said “Every decision in the world is made by the person who has the power to make that decision – not the “right” person, or the “smartest” person, or the most ” qualified” person”. Key to leadership and being effective in power is being able to make that decision with the right, the smartest and the most qualified people on your team advising you.