You Can Never Be Too Good
As a wise person once said, “Leadership is something that you can never do as well as it can be done.” Insightful words. The same can be said about marriage, decision-making, parenting, relationships, and just about any human endeavor steeped in values.
Some pursuits can never be perfected.
This fact has to drive the perfectionists crazy. But the best among us, even those with perfectionist tendencies, pursue as much excellence in these endeavors as they can create. Those with an insatiable desire to be better revel in the challenge to continuously improve. They leave the idea of ultimate mastery to others who fail to understand that even the best of all time could always learn and achieve more.
Leaders simply can’t get too good at leadership. For those who lead for the right reasons, this is an uplifting insight that inspires them to work ever harder at the craft.
For those endeavors where perfection is impossible, finding a meaningful way to measure performance is a necessity. Knowing you are making real progress as a leader, parent, or partner can be elusive. But without a measuring stick to mark progress, people don’t develop.
Too often, leaders use outcomes as the sole measure of their leadership prowess. While outcomes and results certainly reflect the quality of choices leaders make, they are often a result of moderating factors, such as market conditions, team talent, and an inherited strategy.
Barometers such as peer evaluations, relationship depth, process discipline, customer compliments, and team reactions need to be added to the mix. When leaders know they are getting better, they become inspired to develop their skills and leave an ever-widening mark on others.
The idea that they will never be too good at leadership doesn’t prevent them from striving for enhanced performance. The best leaders recognize that all masters are master students first and foremost.
One of my favorite leadership metrics to look at is how a leaders direct reports rate them on common employee engagement surveys. Most of these surveys provide Team and Direct Report aggregate scores. I like to focus those items that are directly in the leaders control on how the manage and lead their direct reports.