This is the first in a series of brief articles on how you can tell the caliber of leaders in your organization. These ideas do not replace the need for more thorough assessments, but they are really handy gut checks on how leaders are doing.
There are hundreds of leadership 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.
Know your “In Vs. Out Ratio”
Are people striving to get into your organization or are they trying to find ways to get out?
It is pretty easy to assess if people want to get in because you will have a long line of individuals contacting you to ask in what way they can join your group. Some people are very persistent, and it is a good sign when highly talented people ask you to keep looking for a spot for them.
The second measure is harder to assess because when people want to get out of your organization, it is not always obvious. The telltale sign is if individuals are “looking for other opportunities.”
Usually a leader does not know what percentage of his or her population is trying to find alternate employment. That is because if lots of people want out, there is likely very little trust in the organization.
With low trust, people will hide the fact they are looking for a different job out of self protection. The best time to find a job is when you already have a job, so people can go years while looking around to find a better position.
Likewise in an environment of low trust you might be afraid for your employment if your boss knew you were looking elsewhere.
It is obvious that when people are looking elsewhere, they are not giving 100% of their best to the current organization. If there are several people in this situation it can really sap productivity and morale.
So the yin and yang for a leader is that if trust is high, people will generally be wanting in and that information will be rather transparent due to the long line. If trust is low, the number of people wanting out is a hidden number.
My bottom line for all leaders is to ask if they know the ratio of people wanting to get in versus out. If they have a good idea, then they are good leaders. If they have no clue, it reflects poorly on the quality of their leadership. It is a simple and remarkably accurate barometer.
Bob Whipple is CEO of Leadergrow, Inc. an organization dedicated to growing leaders. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org 585-392-7763. Website http://www.leadergrow.com BLOG http://www.thetrustambassador.com He is author of the following books: The Trust Factor: Advanced Leadership for Professionals, Understanding E-Body Language: Building Trust Online, and Leading with Trust is Like Sailing Downwind