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  • Marc Breetzke, M.A., M.A.

Measuring the Unmeasurable (2): How to measure leadership

Leadership may be one of the most mysterious factors for companies to measure. Most businesses guess at what they need in terms of mindset training, values and vision. They operate - as humans do - as followers of others hoping for the best. However, hope is a deplorable strategy.

As mentioned in my last article, the key to measuring "soft factors" lies in the smart application of quantifying qualitative elements, a specific implementation into an OKR system, and continuously holding your key people accountable to look for those KPIs and actively tracking them.

The meaning of leadership for transformation initiatives

There are three key factors that make leadership the driving factor of transformation:

  1. Leaders who live and promote change are catalysts for and multipliers of the entire organizational transformation.

  2. The effective leader influences their team so that resistance in the form of criticism, fear, or even sabotage dissipates.

  3. Leaders are the main communication channel and should be utilized as such to motivate and inform the team.

We won't get much into detail at this time into the subject of leadership in transformation. Here, we want to focus only on the critical points to have an overview. Let's dive right into this question:

How to measure leadership

There is also a short caveat, I want to add: We don't want to measure leadership as a simple exercise, but rather in relationship to objectives and targets. In other words, we want to measure shifts rather than only the status quo.


In order to measure leadership you have to understand that this process is not the same for all companies but it depends on these critical factors:


  • Corporate & People Strategy

  • Culture

  • Values

  • Transformation Targets


As a result, you find 4 to 6 critical characteristics and criteria for an effective leader at YOUR company. These are the factors you want to quantify in terms of visible behavior. So, here are the steps:


  1. Identify the criteria you want to see present in your leaders

  2. Take each of the criteria and translate it into 2-3 (at max!) visible, measurable, and defined behaviors.

  3. Analyze how much of the behavior is already incorporated in the culture.

  4. Set new target with your leaders.

  5. Train and educate them on the behaviors and tell them why.

  6. Measure direct and/or indirect behavioral change and/or results.

You can use self-report as part of this measurement, but don't rely on it as your only source of information. Rather you can check with the teams on a regular basis depending on their setup. Or you can measure results that are connected with the new behaviors. For example, if one new behavior results in feedback sessions, you can measure them by analyzing and tracking the calendars.


Why is it important?


Peter Drucker said "Only what gets measured, gets managed." This is so true for transformational efforts and it is vitally important that you keep score of where you are in relationship to the set objectives.


What are your ways to measure leadership development?


About the author:


Marc Breetzke, M.A., M.A. is the founder of MB Inspirations and Europe's leading strategy expert. He works as a consultant, trainer, coach, speaker, and lecturer all over the world for large, international businesses (e.g. Fortune 500) and leaders. He studied Strategic Communications in Germany and in the United States. Today, he operates from his head-office in Stuttgart, Germany.

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