[August 26, 2019] If you want to debate the definition of leadership, ask any two Army Lieutenant to tell you what they think. Usually, an argument will ensue between them regarding what makes up a successful leader. There are a few things; however, they might agree upon – metrics of success.
Some folks will argue that the whole point of this leadership blog is to explore leadership metrics of success and note that the answer lies somewhere between the scientific, measurable realm and the mystical, qualitative. While that is certainly true, it doesn’t move us any closer to gaining a better understanding and it doesn’t help us to be a successful leader.
Below, what I’ve done is scoured the literature on leadership and came up with five metrics of success for leadership. These are not the only ones, of course, but they are standouts. We can qualitatively measure these metrics; although not perfectly. Here are those that make the most difference:
- Reliability: Leadership means being thorough, competent, and professional. If there is a job that needs doing, reliability means that a leader can consistently get it done every time and done right.
- Integrity: Leaders are honest about what they can and cannot accomplish and are up-front about their capabilities, values, and loyalties. The best leaders are also self-policing; meaning they do the right things without being told or supervised.
- Dependable: The top leaders are those that are the “go-to” person who has the ability to distinguish between what they know, what they don’t know, and what they think. Such an ability is rare and is what we mean by dependable.
- Trustworthy: Leaders are always “on point.” They are out front leading people. Developing that trust, where people know you will support and care for them, is crucial to building the trust others must have to make a real leader.
- Coordinate and Cooperate: If a leader cannot follow, then they also cannot lead. Learning to cooperate with others in a team is a crucial skill set. This means to also coordinate multiple team tasks concurrently and bring folks together to achieve a single goal.
As I’ve noted here before, leadership is difficult. These measures of success are those things that any leader, regardless of leadership style or mission difficulty, must be able to accomplish.