“What gets measured gets done,
what gets rewarded gets repeated.”
It feels awkward to measure the relational aspect of leadership. For example, setting a goal to have a two minute conversation with three employees today may seem fake or insincere. It doesn’t have to.
You’ll improve the relational component of leadership if you measure your relational skills.
Listening, communicating, supportiveness, sensitivity, silence, tolerance, calmness, transparency, attentiveness, can all be measured.
Measure relational skills by measuring relational behaviors.
If you’re typically rushed, set a goal to give an employee one minute of calm attention. Settle your mind, breath deep, and stay in the moment for at least one minute.
Show supportiveness by remembering names or other life-details. Keep a notebook if you can’t remember on your own. Commit to remembering two new names today. Learn a name then return to that person later in the day and use it. Go for it.
It’s only fake and ignoble if your goal is manipulation. It’s not fake if you sincerely want to.
Tell someone what you are doing.
My coach calls me every day at 4:50 p.m. to ask me a series of predetermined questions. Your chances of success dramatically improve if you find someone to hold you accountable. If at 4:50 p.m., someone calls to ask for two names you learned today, you’re more likely to remember.
How would you measure intangibles?
I think today I’ve realized that you are my leadership coach 🙂 Thank you so much for all the hard work and effort that you do!!! God Bless!!!
Jose, what a great thing to say. Thank you, Dan
This reminds me of bringing emotional intelligence and mindfulness to the workplace for example to focus on what we want to see present in our self or others, then pay attention to its presence as it occurs. The relational resource is often present e.g respect, non-verbal engagement or attentive listening however we may be at times more attuned to noticing its absence.
I thank you for the ‘anchor’ of time you mention. At lunch time tomorrow I have set a noticing task for myself. Thanks Dan
Angela McCullagh – Mediator and Workplace Consultant
Thank you for your comment.
Noticing the absence of something … Love that. I can see where noticing the absence should be a trigger to get proactive. Nice call.
Best to you with your “anchor” of lunch time tomorrow.
All the best,
Accountability increases success. I abolutely agree. You have rightly mentioned about relational skills or behaviours that “It’s only fake and ignoble if your goal is manipulation. It’s not fake if you sincerely want to. People use relational skills to create their own space. When the purpose is manipulation of relational skills, it harms more to honest and sincere people. When leaders protect and appreciate such behaviours then the people who do not believe in manipulation, start losing faith in the leader. So, I think relational behaviours or skills promotes cohesion and performance as long as the approach is honest and sincere. At the same time, leaders need to create check and balance system that can stop, prevent or discourage manipulative relational behaviour. This will surely create, restore and boost trust and confidence in leaders and system. This needs leaders to intervene, interfare and question from time to time about the authenticity of the statements, claims and behaviours.
Well, how will I measure intangibles ? I strongly believe in intangibles because they are the source of tangibles. I would rather measure intangible on ethical decisions, timely execution, efforts taken in given circumstances, encouragement, empowerment and appreciation for taking timely, ethical and group and individual decisions etc. There could be much more parameters but it needs serious debate on the issue.
Parameters can be created but who will change the people behaviours. I think, the more important is to take collective ownership. Passionate for purpose, empathy for others, affection for people, approach can create a turstworthy environment where intangible can be measured easily.
Just a quick comment today before I rush (unfortunately) to a busy day. Being aware and improving relational skills is key to professional success – leadership as well as teamwork.
I believe that feedback from others is one key component to knowing how you are doing. Although it may not be a quantitative measurement, it is critical.
I am not in total agreement that quantitative measurement is the best approach. You could have 3 great interactions in a row and think “hey I am really doing well” yet have 1 huge misstep that is more critically impacts your org.’s mission.
So I say continuous feedback, self-assessment, and improvement is the road to relationship success.
Thought provoking post for sure.
Ooh sorry for the typo — “that more critically” impacts your org.’s mission.
Thanks Dan – the flip side of this is measuring intangibles for your team. I’ve often found my MVP is not the one with the most accomplishments. Standard metrics don’t capture her contributions. And yet somehow, everyone knows that everything would fall apart without her.
Standard HR performance plans often don’t adequately reward these individuals. Any thoughts on how to measure their intangible contributions?
Re: measuring your MVP contributions: that goes back to value.
Some have to figure out that kind of value by starting with ‘what would be the cost to us if she didn’t do X?’ and build out from there.
Shoot me a note if you have questions. Best, Tracy
Great idea, Tracy. Thanks!
How would you measure intangibles?
That is a good question, Dan (as usual). At our organization, we have struggled to measure the tangibles, which I think is probably easier and more straightforward than the intangibles! I think it does come around to accountability. Let’s say the intangible is “esprit de corps” – that we want to improve morale. I think the approach to take would be to do some type of “pre” measure of how staff members feel about morale, then define (and measure) some tangible actions we can take to increase morale, with a specific plan to follow up in the future (six months?) to a) confirm that the concrete things were done and b) try to assess the degree to which the goal was met.
I hate to put “morale” into a “metrics” box but without some kind of definition it seems like it would be quite vague to attempt to capture.
Dan, I love the succincticity of your potent posts. Turning the characteristics of quality time into measurables makes achieving great meetings attainable. As well meaning as most of us are, having someone to hold us accountable is invaluable.
Thak you for touching on the importance of remembering names, which is sadly ignored too often.
“Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” – Dale Carnegie
Great post, Dan. I am often asked by clients how to measure coaching/leadership success. Obviously, the intangibles are the hardest. But, I don’t think they’re intangible. Knowing the baseline helps. “How did they used to behave?” “How are they behaving now?” “What are the areas of leadership that you want them to keep doing?” “What are the areas you would like to see improvement?”
Questions are the gateway to understanding the “intangibles.” While challenging, these behavior based questions can be connected to business outcomes you want to achieve.
I once coached a mid-level manager who was having trouble delegating. Once we were able to break through a few barriers I asked her what she now did with her time since she delegated the task. She told me that she was spending it on the employees who were close to hitting their goal, but not there. After two months of doing this they were there and it meant an additional $25,000 in revenue.
While difficult I believe we need to tie more behavioral questions and change to the business impact we want to change. At the foundation for doing that is an ability to ask good foundational questions (where are we now), and a good understanding of what we want to see as a result of change (where we want to be).
One of my favorite topics. Thanks for listening.
Dan – just an off the wall thought here – In my experience, the better the leaders (and team mates) are at the relationships within the organization, the better the results. And, if the scorecard is built around the results, aren’t you tangentially measuring the relational aspects of a leadership performance?
Just my circular way of saying that if you are building trust within your teams by leading with integrity and character, your results will show it. And, if it takes 10,000 hours of practice to be a master at it (as suggested in Outliers), it’s okay to set time limits to consciously be working on (practicing) the actions necessary to be that type of leader.
Thanks for the post, and the opportunity to share my thoughts.
I am a silent reader, and I believe there are a lot of people like me on your site. Your blog is one of my first articles to read to get started for the day.
I appreciate the encouragement. A good word always feels good.
Yeah I was a silent reader too and look what happened!;)
I was having a similar conversation with an MD today who wanted to know how to measure the results of a Team Leader programme which is focusing on interpersonal skills. We talked about how the learners can plan and measure their relational behaviours such as saying “No” five times a day, asking questions where previously they would have given instructions etc. We also talked about observation and feedback from their sponsor, peers, team members etc.when the learners share their plans, to re-enforce the behaviours and recognise and reward their progress.
Great post as always. I really admire your original thought and clarity.
Nice one to put our thoughts on. In this materialistic world where all and sundry, is after one or the other tangible’s of life, true that the intangibles have to be around only. One can’t put them apart as they are sides of the same coin. There has to be a parameter for measuring the intangibles the way tangibles are taken care of. OR for that matter one can say, as the old say goes “tangiblsing the intangible” The one who lead have to have this ability to make their sub ordinates visualize the tangible outcome from the intangible activities. Its not that easy say for that matter “If you ask somebody to feel confident” , saying and achieving this , are two different things. Confidence is not sugar, stirred in water to make a syrup and make somebody sip and be confident, but its a process of continuous hard work and involvement, which makes you flamboyant enough to look confident, its a state of mind attained because of sheer hard work.
As far winning confidence is concerned, again genuine indulgence/involvement is a pre-requisite. The way a good marketer knows his products well, the same way a leader is required to know his hands well, say who is good at what . If he knows a bit of personnel details than “cherry on top”
Gary S. Hart mentioned rightly “Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” – Dale Carnegie
This is what I do when I interact with my subordinates I enquire about their personal well being as well as welfare first and then only about the work, signaling that their welfare is equally important as the work is. A way to enhance rapport and induce a feel of accountability about work, cause you can’t clap with one hand.
I measure on impact not activity. Did what I say get through or not? If not, what can I change in my communication? Perhaps I need to apologize, perhaps I need to forgive, perhaps praise, perhaps I need to make the conversation safe.
Regardless, did I get a result?
It’s the feedback response I measure, not the activity level or the mechanics.
In fact – last night I met a leader who was committed to a vision AND a plan of action. It was unfortunate because help that did not fit the predetermined course of action was not perceived as help.