Sunday, January 24, 2021

Getting measured

I remember the day I was promoted from team leader to organizational leader: I could no longer actually see people doing work; I could not -- first hand -- observe and evaluate effort; they worked out of my sight line. 
I could only measure and evaluate results.

And then I realized that I was no longer being measured by what I could do personally. My measures included the results of others. In fact, some of my evaluation was based on factors beyond my control -- and beyond my line of sight.
Is that fair?
It's fair if you understand and accept 'leadership' as a bit different from 'management'. Leadership, among many facets, is about inspiring, motivating, and projecting culture beyond the line of sight and over the horizon.

I quickly learned that direct observation of effort and direct control of process, actions, and events had to give way to influence and persuasion upon others -- mostly from afar. Their results became my results. And, those results often arrived without my knowing too much first hand of the effort expended.
And, as my organizational scope increased -- ultimately to include an international workforce thousands of miles from my desk -- it felt many times like I was pushing on a string to effect performance.
And so with each new 'period of performance', it may not seem fair to you, but your success is often the collective success -- or not -- of others. 
No whining if you can't control the factors of your measures; that's just the way societies pass out the risk and reward to their leaders.

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