The ROI of Leadership – 3 Steps to Measuring Your Worth as a Leader
I coach a lot of leaders who express concerns that they don’t know how to measure their contributions to the organization and their people.
They worry they’ve become one of “those” people at the top of the food chain who doesn’t really do anything, one of those people they may even have been judging and criticizing as ineffective and worthless to the company because they create work for others, but don’t actually DO anything.
In fact, it can be challenging as a leader to actually point to something and say, “I did that, I produced that, I made that happen.”
A leader’s job is to help others make things happen, help others be successful, help mentor and coach others to their potential.
This business of helping others achieve success can be hard on the ego.
The ego wants results, acknowledgement, PROOF that all the hard work was worthwhile. Proof that this or that success is thanks to ME. But when others are doing the work, how can your ego obtain such certainty? It can’t.
It’s hard to measure the ROI of leadership and feel fulfilled like at the end of the day you did a good job, and sometimes even more challenging to assess at the end of the year when it comes around to performance appraisal time.
Here are three steps to measuring your impact as a leader:
1. Identify exactly what it is you do. Define your role, what is expected of you and what this job of leadership looks like. For example, instead of getting xyz project done, your new role could be “mentor and develop my team.” or “help develop and implement the division’s strategy down into my organization.” These are not always easy things to measure, but the clearer you are on the deliverables, the more you can measure progress, for example, you could create specific agreed-upon goals so you know if you’ve reached them at the end of the year.
2. Look for Value in the intangibles. One executive I coach was brought in to run an organization for which she felt technically under-qualified. She thought she didn’t have enough business experience in the arena to be successful. But she wasn’t hired for her technical expertise. They hired her because she had a very good reputation for building alignment across organizations and getting people to collaborate. A year and a half into the role, although she felt she’d made little progress on the technical front, one of her peers complimented her on the fact that her team was collaborating more effectively with others and that people seemed to be working more effectively. Hard to measure, but these things have a huge impact on the bottom line.
3. It’s not about you. The hardest part about becoming a leader is it’s no longer about you and your accomplishments — proving how wonderful you are. The challenge is that most of us spent a big chunk of our lives, in school and at work, proving ourselves, performing, jumping through hoops and competing against others for promotions and accolades. And now we are suddenly expected to help others be successful. It’s hard to shift gears, it’s hard to say “OK now I am going to take care of everyone else and help them be successful.” We almost need to re-wire our brain to adjust to this new way of operating. Trust me, I have seen it time and time again, when you can let go of needing to make your own mark and in turn support others, you WILL be successful.