Friday, February 22, 2019

Measuring Leadership

It took me some time to realize how I made significance to the team as someone who's leading from behind. For a person who actively monitors and tracks daily performance, being unable to see my own progress is something unacceptable -- especially if no numbers are able to back up my claim (that I'm doing well on my job).

When you are in the leadership role, sometimes, the things you do don't always add up to the numbers. Sometimes, your routine is more into making sure everyone, being a part of a bigger machine is working harmoniously along with the rest. While searching for some key metrics I could set for myself, I bump into some realization that somewhat opened my eyes as to how and where to set the numbers.

The following details are primarily based on my personal opinion. If you find it useful, use it. If you don't agree to what I'm saying, let me know (email me at

  • Good deeds should be credited to the team, mistakes, on the other hand, should be accounted to the leader. You might ask why? You have to understand that each one of your men is paid to work on things, their objective is to do it well. You as the leader is paid to make sure mistakes are avoided as much as possible. Being able to foresee what waits ahead for the team is one of the key abilities a leader should have, being able to tell the team what to prepare for is a  great asset of a leader. The more mistake the team incurred -- the more you should ask yourself why (as the number of mistakes progresses, the poorer your performance becomes). Possibilities are:
    • Instruction might not be clear enough to be understood. No proper training. No proper on-boarding or at least not given enough time to fully grasp the scope of work.
    • Lack of resources. Miscalculation of project estimates.
    • Assigning incapable people to the scope. Misjudgment of the workload and workforce.
    • Loopholes on the hiring process. Not a real culture/skill fit.
NOTE: Don't count how many things you've done well, that's what you're paid to do. Instead count the mistakes you've made and see if it resonates your pay grade.

  • Attrition rate matters, everyone is a resource. What about this? If the people that once served your team suddenly leaves, regardless of the reason, you might start asking yourself why (as the number of people leaving your leadership, the weaker you are as a leader). Possibilities are:
    • There's something wrong with them not being able to cope-up with your leadership approach. Or the other way around, where you as the leader, not being able to hone people the way that suits them.
    • You ended people's contract because of poor performance. Now the question is, have you trained them and helped them improve? Is your training approach effective? Were there any follow-ups being made after the training? Have you constantly reminding every individual you've coached?
NOTE: Don't just count the people you've on-boarded. Make sure those individuals stay, hopefully for a long time.

  • Less dependent, more trust, makes more leaders. How so? When you grow people, you teach them all the things they need to know in order for them to do well in their job. Not only limited to doing their scope, as much as possible, you as the leader also have to add more work on their plate if you can spot that the individual is capable of doing such. The less dependent your people becomes, the more you give them room for growth. The more they make decisions themselves, the more trust you build with them. The more you do this, the more leaders you have. If people can't decide and speak for themselves, then, probably -- there's something wrong and you might ask yourself why (as the more people dependent to you, the less effective you are in developing people). Possibilities are:
    • You are too insecure that one day, someone from the team will replace you as soon as they know how to do things (way better than you do).
    • You are too afraid that one day, someone might surpass your knowledge
    • You feel like the information you have is too vital for your survivability, thus, you hoard it to yourself.
NOTE: Don't just count the number of people you have on your team, also see if they are able to do things themselves and empowered to do things as necessary.

The function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers. The more leaders you produce, the successful you are in your role.

As you step into the circle of leadership, you need to remind yourself that -- everything is no longer about you. You are no longer the best agent, coder, system admin, engineer or marketer. You are now a servant of the people that you're tasked to grow. Understand the meaning of leadership and you shall see yourself -- feeling the fulfillment every end of the day.

Sharpen-the-Axe Session, Boji talking about Building Mental Models