Ask 10 leaders, and you’ll probably get 11 different answers.
For me, I would go back to basics; to the definition of leadership.
Hmmm…maybe that doesn’t help you either. There are so many different definitions of leadership floating around organisations, business and teams; we REALLY need to agree on what it is we are trying to do!
As usual, I’ll resort to the definition used by the Australian Defence Force: “Leadership is the art of positively motivating a group of people towards a common goal.”
So then, to assess my own leadership performance, I would ask myself “How successful was I at positively motivating my staff?”
If I have achieved all KPIs, OKRs, (and any other ‘TLA du jour’), but half of my staff have resigned or asked to be transferred, then I would say my leadership has been poor.
If I am promoted, but my arrival in the new office is accompanied by strained greetings and a general vibe of “Oh my God…what have I done to deserve this a**hole as a boss”, then I’d be asking myself some serious questions.
Of course, this requires some self awareness. And this is why we frequently see a high degree of emotional intelligence as a requirement for quality leadership. As leaders, we must be capable and willing to see situations from the perspectives of others, both to demonstrate empathy in the workplace and to accurately self assess our own performance.
So, if you still achieve your business goals, what’s the problem with being a poor leader? From several discussions with lawyers, I’ve heard this can be a HUGE problem in law firms. A ‘rain-maker’ partner who brings in US$15m of revenue each year is forgiven for making everyone’s lives around him a misery. For me…it comes down to your own value system. What’s more important; making money or having a positive impact on the lives of others.
I should add that law firms are a fairly unique case. In most organisations, from a military tank platoon to an operating theatre, good leadership will generally result in increased performance.
When was the last time you assessed your own leadership?