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Outcome Indicators of Leadership

There is plenty of material on the input metrics a leader should focus on – Working hard, showing up, taking decisions, setting priorities for the team and so on. But there’s not much written about the indicators that show when (and whether) a leader has done a good job.

Sharing my summary of areas that have kept coming up in my countless discussions with peers and my boss(es), on varying topics ranging from leading the team to scrutinising a leader’s journey within the organisation. This list has continually helped me channel my inputs and energy to the right areas in order to make progress along these indicators.

The five major indicators

Clear external impact

The leader’s most important success criteria is to make externally visible impact. Be it in helping the company launch new products, improving customer satisfaction, earning more revenue, making the company profitable, growing the company’s stock price – anything. Depending on your role (Engineering, Product, Design, Business, Sales) the impact metric will vary, but the indicator still holds firm in its importance.

Trust from the founders

Through tangible track record of delivering impact consistently, the leader has earned the trust from the founders. This trust has then led to the leader having the autonomy to function with increased delegation from founders.

Lateral influence in the organisation

The leader has built functional authority that helps them influence decision-making. This includes their influence even in areas adjacent to their own function. When needed, the leader is able to rally the troops around and align them towards a single cause – especially people not directly within their own reporting chain.

Inspiration for their team

The leader’s own team considers them an inspiration because of their level of skills, their depth of experience and the sense of judgment. The team considers their tenure in the organisation as a fruitful learning opportunity working under the inspiring leader.

Emergence of new leaders

Through the influential tutelage of the leader, there is an emergence of new leaders who uphold the same set of principles or extend them even further. This raises the standards of the team and creates more centers of inspiration for the newcomers to follow.

Hiring power

Talented people outside the company want to join the organisation because of the leader. They value the potential mentorship, guidance and the scope of growth considerably higher compared to the other competing factors.

These outcome indicators are tough to quantify but very easy to notice. In day to day work, it’s very hard to miss clear signals you get from people around you that help you evaluate where you stand on these points.

If you’re a leader, I would love to know your thoughts on these. Do reach out.