Token 184: A new metric for leadership

Leadership of a team is difficult to quantify. When it’s done well, and when it’s done artfully, there is very little that specifically and tangibly connects the actions of a leader to the results her team produces.

A leader is responsible for the results, but the results are not the best indicator of effective leadership. It can take a long time for great leadership to produce tangible results.

But for a leader, there are plenty of indicators along the way that will tell you if you’re doing it right. One of the best indicators I’ve found is about delegation.

How easy is it for you to delegate something and have it done well? And by “done well,” I mean done with nuance—with careful and thoughtful consideration of all the players involved, and their motives, and our vision, and our mission. Does this feel like a struggle, or does it seem effortless?

The goal of a leader is to be able to delegate things and have the work be done with this level of nuance. The metric, then, is how many words you need to use to get your team member to perform at this level.

It’s a number that should decrease over time. If you’re delegating the same kind of task you delegated two months ago, and it requires roughly the same number of words, then you’re not leading well. You need your team to understand the vision, the landscape and the potential pitfalls, so that they can perform well without your oversight.

So if you’re the leader of a team, here’s your new metric: How many words did it take me to delegate this to a successful conclusion?

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