We recently rolled out our new presentation on developing leaders that is based on our research. It is worth revisiting the question of how leaders measure success.
Managers measure success in terms of goals met, projects managed, dollars saved and made, and people organized. Many managers use leadership of one type or another to accomplish all of these things. The cycle of information and resource management continues to be compressed from year to quarter to week to hour to minute. As managers it becomes tempting to quickly make the decisions and allocate resources quickly and effectively.
Given the driven pace and risks in every decision, it is more difficult than ever to think about developing leaders. And yet, in the end, a legacy isn’t built out of the best flowcharts and financial graphs; it is built out of the investments made in building people’s capacity to lead, investments in people’s lives.
I would argue that it is not enough to hope that people will watch and learn, or to send people to leadership training once a year. In order to develop leaders a deliberate approach is needed, becoming a leader is not magic. Energy and resources are needed to create the conditions for success. The joy of watching people grow in competence and confidence is the reward.
When I think back on one of the people in my life who was a developer of leaders, I reflect that after his death, the thing people remembered the most was his commitment to creating the environment for others to grow and succeed. Surely, that is the measure of a leader’s success.