The Metrics of Leadership
How does one measure leadership? It is a topic that surfaces whether I’m leading, training other leaders, and teaching on the principles of leadership. It is a natural topic. We want to know if we are leading well.
In order to measure leadership, we need a personal definition for leadership. In my doctoral work, I studied the nature of the term “missional leadership” and have formed this definition: Living according to and speaking comprehensively about the mission of God as first revealed in the Scriptures and the life of Jesus Christ so as to guide others to surrender to, participate in, and lead in the mission of God on a personal and community level. Others have used much shorter definitions. J. Oswald Sanders in Spiritual Leadership simply said, “leadership is influence.” Blackaby in his book of the same title stated that leadership is “moving people on to God’s agenda.” No matter what your definition, leadership needs to metrics.
We often you secondary means to create our primary metrics. Time and again, I have witnessed leaders use these five measurements for their leadership:
- Number of battles won
- Winning the argument
- Products produced
- Increase of followers
- Vision(s) cast
I believe that all of those are the byproducts of strong leadership.
Leadership should be judged, measured, and assessed primarily on two issues: transformed lives and the number of leaders you multiply. Leadership should focus on the lives of others. When a leader is self-focused, he will use the above five metrics. Those five measurements give a boost to the ego. It allows the leader to say, “Look what I’ve done.” But, leadership by its nature should be focused on the helping others attain what they previously thought impossible. There is no greater thing we could help a person accomplish than the transformation that arrives by the application of the gospel. As a leaders, when you see personal transformation take place, then you have succeeded far beyond the pedestrian measurement of winning arguments and producing products.
The other metric that I emphasize is multiplying leaders. It forces me to look past my own sphere of life to see what can be accomplished next for God’s kingdom. Maintaining a shortened vision of what my own leadership is capable of accomplishing is, at the end of the matter, rather self-centered. The work of the church is seen in how we help others to be empowered by the Spirit and do the work that He has assigned to them. It is a much greater joy for a leader to see a friend do greater works than trying to keep them suppressed in our own particular corner of the world.
Certainly, there are many other factors that could be named as to how we assess leadership. In fact, essays, entire books, and academic dissertations have been written on the subject. However, for today, let me ask you to do the simple evaluation that is before us. Consider who you lead and how you are leading them. If you find that your leadership style begins and ends with your own self-worth, then turn your eyes God-ward and find a better way. When you lead, it is an opportunity for lives to be eternally altered and new fields of ministry to be plowed that we will never visit.