Lead on Purpose

Promoting Leadership Principles in Product Management

Leadership — what you leave

2 Comments

How do you measure the effectiveness of leadership? A few common methods include:
  • The number of people reporting up through the organization
  • The quantity or amount of product or services produced
  • The “bottom line” or income produced by the company
  • The number of links, references or accolades to the leader or the organization
  • Other methods that focus on things and not people.

These are all valid and important ways to measure leadership, and many others exist. However, the true — and more telling — measure of leadership is long-term and cannot easily be seen. Leadership is best measured by what you leave behind.

Some people become frustrated by the lack of immediate results. The thought of waiting months or years to see the results of their labors is discouraging. However, if you look at the actions and attitudes of people whom you consider true leaders, you will find they focus on building others. They put as their first concern the growth and development of the people with whom they interact. The results of their success carry forward through the people they have influenced over the years.

The Product Management Perspective: Product managers have a great opportunity to lead and influence others in their company. This opportunity grows out of the fact that PMs work closely with many people from other teams throughout the company. While working with others can be frustrating (do I hear sales?), if we keep a long-term perspective and focus on how we can help them and make a difference in what they do, the long-term benefit will remain with us as we move forward.


The theme for this post came from a talk by David A. Bednar.
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2 thoughts on “Leadership — what you leave

  1. I’ve always thought we ought measure leaders by this: did they get to the goal or not? A bit binary I know, but I like its simplicity.

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