Can You Quantify Good Leadership?

In an interesting new book, No Drama Leadership, How Enlightened Leaders Transform Culture in the Workplace , Marlene Chism offers her insights on the many sources of strife in the workplace, and particularly how a lack of alignment between the culture and the actions of the leaders of a firm align.  One of her core themes is about holding leaders accountable: "The lack of leadership accountability contributes to unnecessary workplace drama. You can’t produce accountable employees when the boss has an irresponsible mindset.”  As an entrepreneur who started his own company and a leader of an organization, I found Marlene's insights on culture and alignment very consistent with my own experiences.

Reading Marlene's book got me thinking about various studies that attempt to quantify good leadership and accountability?  What are the ways social scientists have attempted to measure leadership?  A search on Google Scholar for "Measuring Leadership" quickly brought up many papers, the first dating back to 1951 from the journal Human Relations!   I quickly learned this has been an area that social scientists across a wide array of disciplines have attempted to study for years across an array of types of people and occupations, such as  nurses, entrepreneurs, engineers, and youth.  I also found numerous score cards, checklists, and surveys on measuring leaders.

In this interesting paper from the Sloan Management Review Can You Measure Leadership, Robert Gandassy and Robin Guarnieri  provide a somewhat apropos description of the problems organizations face in their efforts to quantify leadership:  "Companies often overrate their ability to measure the right things for the right reasons. For example, many generate piles of reports on senior management attrition instead of considering actual flight risks of critical talent; or they measure easy to track metrics, such as time to fill jobs or number of training hours, withour regard to the quality placed of those jobs or whether a development workshop produced any meaningful change.  Others, at the opposite extreme, get bogged down in a search for the holy grail of leadership metrics..."

Unintentionally, everydata stumbled upon a very difficult issue to quantify.  How does your organization measure leadership?  What are the most effective metrics in your experiences?   I would be interested in your thoughts--please share them in the comments below or send us an email.