How to Measure Leadership by its Impact on Employee Engagement

Updated: November 17, 2010

Leadership development must be more than a quick injection of methodologies and techniques. Go to class for 4 days and get your certificate…lead the world! Oh, please. Do you suspect this is why leadership skills are on the decline? If this is viewed as important then evaluating leadership requires constant attention, monitoring, and assessing. But how? Well, if you call it leadership then it has to be measured by its impact on employees, relationships and performance.

We all know you need gas in your car before you can make a road trip yet, having gas in your tank is no indication that road trips are being made. Many of the approaches to organizational leadership use the fuel tank approach. They put leadership skills into the organizational fuel tank and attempt to monitor how full the tank is. While fuel is visible and easy to measure, leadership qualities are less obvious.

Doesn't it make more sense to assess the results of leadership's effect on employees?

Seven Indicators of Impactful Leadership

It' a fact, there is a correlation between employee engagement levels and the quality of leadership. So are your employees happy because they are well led? Is employee engagement the output that leadership can be measured by?

Many studies provide clear proof those happy, productive, and engaged employees:

  • Feel valued, appreciated and rewarded (the way they want)
  • Are approachable, open to new ideas and to feedback from others
  • Feel free to give regular feedback
  • Feel engaged with the organization and its people and take ownership for their "needs"
  • Manage their relationships successfully and see the value of differences (don't mistaken this for Diversity)
  • Are motivated from within (Intrinsic not Extrinsic)
  • Can challenge and disagree while keeping rapport with colleagues

Organizations with the most successful leaders lead in the context of people and situations. They understand and interact with both. Leadership development, for them, is most effective because it is done in context.

Leadership development programs that run in isolation of the people being led may be useful in teaching generic principles of leadership but attendees are still left with the problem of applying this information to their context, to specific employees and situations.

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