There are hundreds of assessments for leaders. The content and quality of these assessments vary greatly. You can spend a lot of time and money taking surveys to tell you the quality of your leadership.
There are a few leading indicators that can be used to give a pretty good picture of the overall quality of your leadership. These are not good for diagnosing problems or specifying corrective action, but they can tell you where you stand quickly. Here is one of my favorite measures.
Lowers Credibility Gap
In any organization, credibility gaps exist between layers. These gaps lower the trust within the organization and make good communication more difficult. The credibility gaps may exist for a number of different reasons. I will share a few common examples for clarity, but recognize there can be hundreds of different causes for the gaps.
1. Managers may believe most of the workers are not working up to capacity in order to have an easier time. The manager perceives a lack of dedication by the lower-level workers.
2. Workers may not trust the managers because they believe the managers are insincere or really just don’t care about the workers. They are in it just to make more money.
3. Non-local workers, or those working remotely, may believe the people at the main office have built-in advantages and perks.
4. People may think they are not being given the full set of information and that some vital points have not been shared, like a potential plant shutdown.
5. Gaps in communication between on-site and remote staff can create mistrust.
Fill in the Gaps
Great leaders have a knack for lowering these gaps, first by recognizing their existence, and second, by filling in believable information in both directions, up and down the hierarchy.
These gaps form much more easily in an environment where some people are working remotely, so extra care must be extended during those interactions. The cure is to increase communication with people when they are working remotely.
When there is tension between one layer and another, great leaders work to find out the root cause of the disconnect. It could be a nasty rumor, it could be based on a prior breach of trust, it might be an impending reorganization or merger, it could be due to an outside force like a new government restriction. Whatever the root cause will determine how the gap can be eliminated.
Excellent leaders take steps to reduce the problem while the gap is a small crack and before it becomes like the Grand Canyon. They help people breach the divide by getting the two levels to communicate and really negotiate a better position. Weak leaders are more like victims who wait until the battle is raging and the chasm is too broad to cross without a major investment in some kind of bridge.
Bob Whipple is CEO of Leadergrow Inc., a company dedicated to growing leaders. He speaks and conducts seminars on building trust in organizations