So often people look at size and impact as the indicators representing the quality of leadership an organization has. “If the organization is big and powerful then the quality of leadership must be excellent” but that is simply not the case. I wouldn’t call Hitler or Bin Laden great leaders even though they created large and powerful organizations. There are other ways you can measure your leadership quality, and these indicators should help form your objectives. Below are two indicators for your consideration:
The measure of leadership is not the size of your organization, or its impact, the measure of leadership is found in answering this single question, “what is life like for the people under my authority?” This is a question we all wrestle with as business owners, spouses, dads or moms, and community leaders. It is the question we must all continually ask ourselves, and answer honestly.
The means never justify the end many leaders have accomplished great things, and left a wake of human collateral damage in the wake. Organizations are built out of people. People utilize resource to accomplish things, people are not “resource” per se, like an inanimate object. They are the life of any organization and its greatest resource because they can harness opportunity and resources to accomplish objectives.
The quality of life people experience inside your organization directly reflects on the investment your leadership has made in their life. This is predominantly measured in two ways:
1 Their working environment, “culture.”
2 Their ongoing personal development.
Quality leadership creates a culture, an environment that people want to be a part of and invest in, and it is good for them as well as the organization. Their overall experience is positive.
Impact should be a bi-product of quality leadership, that is focused on the people inside the organization. Recently I published a blog on culture, and if you want to read more about culture development, look at this blog, Why We Work.
Take a minute and ask yourself, “what is life like for people under my authority”? Are they fulfilling their purpose, are they engaged and happy? Do they freely participate in healthy dialogue? Do they willingly contribute at a high level? Do they want to be here?
Often when we hire people, we simply want them to join our staff, and “tell them what to do.” Understand it is your job do develop people, not to simply give them directives. Your objective in each relationship is “development” and as they grow and improve, they will contribute at a higher level, and lower their dependence on you.
Have context for who you are leading. The people working for you may have come from broken homes, carry baggage, and had very little quality leaders or authority figures in their life. Expecting them to follow your leadership without investment in culture and investment in their personal development is short sighted.
I am not suggesting Kumbaya sessions to fix people's personal lives, but you need a framework that invests in the ongoing development, not just one time training, for personnel. Furthermore, if you have no context of how they view leadership, culture, values and objectives then it will be difficult for you to provide training that makes a difference.
Ask yourself two questions today:
1 In what ways can you improve the quality of their working environment by developing your culture.
2 What steps do you need to take to fundamentally structure ongoing personal development for your personnel, and how can you gain better clarity of their starting point?
Part of our God given calling and responsibility in life is to invest in and develop the people under our authority, not simply utilize their talents to accomplish our goals. Consider changing your perspective on how you see your responsibility to the people under your authority.
Whether you are running an organization with 4, 40 or 400 employees, you can always take responsibility for the culture of the organization and the development of your people. Make that investment today and it will pay dividends for years to come.