Are good intentions enough? At some point, it is reasonable to be evaluated based on our performance and not just our intentions.
So much of what is mainstream thought today seems to indicate that as long as you try really, really hard, then you have accomplished something. That may or may not be accurate. You have indeed expended effort. And maybe you have expended a lot of effort. But is effort the same thing as performance? Have you actually accomplished anything of value or significance?
Is effort alone enough when it comes to leadership?
Or, in other words, are good intentions enough? Or at some point, do our followers and the community around us have a right to expect some results?
I cross multiple worlds in my own personal experience. Much of my time is dominated by a secular environment where results are pretty important. So much so that compensation and career advancement are dependent upon identified and verified performance and value generated as the result of expected accomplishments. While the rest of my time is spent in a variety of volunteer, ministry, and non-profit endeavors.
Each world views this topic very differently. But does that necessarily need to be? Is it reasonable to have some measurable performance indicators outside of the business world that are not just appreciated because of their level of effort?
Regardless of whether you are a leader in a for profit or not for profit organization, we must have some understanding of, and answers to, the following questions:
- Who are our followers? — Can we identify them? Do we know them? Do we know them well? Or are they just a number or a face to us?
- Do we know what our followers need or expect from us? — Have we ever asked them that question? Are we afraid of what their answer might be? What if they need something from us that we can’t provide?
- How do we measure their experience to see if their needs or expectations are being met? — When was the last time you performed any kind of “quality assessment” and asked your followers to provide feedback? Ooooh, another scary question to ask.
- Are we delivering the right things? — Once we ask some questions of our followers, are we convinced that we are delivering the right things, in the right way, at the right time and with the right resources? Unless we have really good answers to all of those questions, then we need to reassess our offerings and make some changes.
- Do we have a process to identify what is working and what is not working? — Not everything will work according to plan. Not everything will ultimately align with either our organization’s vision or our organization’s ability. Some ideas will just not work. And we need a way to identify what is and what is not working. We must know both. We must know our successes and our failures.
- How do we measure the quality of what we are offering? — This question certainly goes along with the prior 2 questions. Once we have established that we are offering the things that meet the needs of our followers, we need to establish whether or not we are doing so with quality and excellence.
- How can we measure if our followers are better off with us as their leader? — At the end of the day, are our followers and is our organization better off because we are the leader? This may be the toughest question that we will need to face as a leader.
The challenge is to take any feedback from that last question ( but really from any of the last few questions above) that indicates that we are not making the organization better by our presence and we must use that feedback as a development opportunity. The reality may be that we are just not the right leader for this organization at this time.
Are results everything to a leader or to an organization? — No. But our followers deserve to see some positive results or growth to the organization. Because growth is often the defining characteristic when you have strong results-based leaders.
Keep working hard. Keep making every effort in your leadership. But, take a look at the seven questions above and see if you are doing everything that you can do to achieve the results that you (and your followers) need from you as their leader.
Leadership Voices, LLC is here to help you. We can help you ask those questions and get the feedback to put you and your organization on the track to peak performance.