Do you ever wonder if your leadership is truly effective? There are a number of ways to tell. You could look at your numbers. If you are hitting your goals, being profitable, or acquiring market share, all of these may indicate good and effective leadership, but then again maybe not.
The problem is financials are lagging indicators at best. They also are more of a reflection of your business strategy, not your leadership strategy. A great business strategy can mitigate, to some degree, a poor leadership strategy. Just like a great leadership strategy may bolster and support an otherwise weak business strategy.
What’s the difference between a business strategy and a leadership strategy? Simply put, a business strategy is how one plans on growing market share while a leadership strategy is how one plans on growing their people.
There are all sorts of business strategies. For example, you can be a price leader like any of the big box stores; you can be an innovator like Apple, Dupont, or 3M; you can be a specialist like Crocs, Spanx, or Michelin. These are just some of the business strategies out there.
Likewise, there are different leadership strategies, top-down, bottom-up, servant, and, of course, Locked On, are just a few. With the right team, any of these may be effective. The question is, how do you know?
The best way is with a Leadership 360. This is an assessment, that looks all around leaders to determine effectiveness (thus the 360 as in 360o). Answers are anonymous so they generally provide an honest look at your leadership and the leadership of the rest of the team. Once areas of concern are discovered, a plan can be developed to mitigate the problems.
If you’re looking for a quick, general assessment then I suggest you look at your customer service. While this won’t tell you why your leadership is failing or in what areas, I think the level of customer service of a company is the canary in a coal mine. Customer service reps typically deal with the problems. If their heads aren’t in the game, the level of service suffers. This makes them particularly sensitive to problems in leadership.
Do a customer satisfaction survey or use a “secret shopper” who has a problem. How well do your CSRs handle the issue? Are they empathetic, solution-oriented, and take ownership of the issue? If no, then there is probably a leadership issue. If yes, then you are probably performing at a decent level of leadership.
What are the signs you use to let you know your leadership is on the right track?