How Do You Measure Your Success?

How do you measure your leadership success? Is it money, promotions, happiness, raising a family, changing the world, or advancing your career or giving back in your community? This question has grown complicated over the years for many to define.   A leader’s success is measured by the complete body of work in life. It’s not just one aspect, it’s the entire picture.

In the past, a leader’s success has been associated with money and power. The more you have, the more successful you are. This false idea of success. Consider how many people do you know that have money and power that are also happy, and ethical? Sure, there are a few – but really how many would consider to be truly happy? Most of us support  free enterprise, it’s important we  things into perspective. There are many people who are successful but not wealthy. Many view success through a lens that balances their professional, personal and spiritual lives. A leader’s  success is earned and their impact is timeless.

What recent history of economics has taught us is that greed, selfishness and short-sighted leadership is sustainable. In today’s global marketplace, we require better judgment from our leaders. Consider hundreds of decisions leaders make each day. Every decisions will ultimately define their body of work. Those unsuccessful leaders among us will make decisions without thinking through the consequences and they may never consider how their decisions will reverberate throughout their professional, personal and spiritual lives. A successful leader will always be aware of how their decisions will impact their body of work and the purpose they serve. Which one are you?

The journey of leadership success starts with figuring out what matters most to you and then doing something to advance that goal each and  every day. It’s about focusing on the body of work that you are creating and making sure that it represents your leadership style and the outcomes you seek.

It’s easy to fall into the pitfall of to be a leader of what others want you to be, rather than doing the harder work of setting goals that put you on the path to success. This is where so many leaders fall off the track. Yes, they be financially well-off but they aren’t connected with those around them. I’ve met some of these leaders and they are the most single-minded and shallow among the ranks of leaders. They’re insensitive, selfish and insecure. They tie their to their company and title. Their whole focus is only on recognition, salary. They are selfish leaders and believe  that they have all of the answers. Sure, they claim to see the bigger picture, but they miss  what matters most – the people that have made them successful.

 

Jennifer Olney
Over the course of my career, I have been sought after by numerous organizations to bring my talents in the arenas of sales, marketing and business development. As the Founder and Director of Business BEALEADER, I bring my experience to the table to expand the knowledge base for those seeking to find their own leader within. In 2011, I created BEALEADER to be a platform for individuals to share their expertise and leadership to make others better by being a resource of business, career and marketing solutions for those who are just starting out or maybe have a “few” years under their belt and need keep their skills fresh. In addition to the BEALEADER platform, I have developed the business units BEALEADER Business Services, which provides marketing, business development and human resource management services and BEALEADER Executive Coaching Services, which provides one on one and group coaching services to executives and individuals. These business units expand our ability and brand to make others better as we reach out to our audience with these unique product offerings. In 2014, I was named to the Inc.com list of Top 101 Leadership Speakers and I have written for several publications such as Yahoo! Small Business, Business 2 Community and others. I have also co-hosted several podcasts and in 2015 will be hosting the BEALEADER podcast for our audience as well.
Jennifer Olney
Jennifer Olney
Jennifer Olney

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45 Comments

  • September 6, 2013

    DebbieLaskeyMBA

    How to measure leadership success? Sometimes a tough question, Jen, but definitely a good one. Genuine leadership should be a legacy – just look back through history: George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, and even Queen Elizabeth. But closer to home, when co-workers and employees who I supervise do good work, I define that as success. But when my employees and co-workers exceed my expectations – as well as their own – and I can be their advocates to top leaders and others around the company or community, that’s leadership success with a capital “L” and “S.”
    I recall this gem of advice from Amy Poehler (of Saturday Night Live fame) in her address to Harvard University’s 2011 graduating class: “You can’t do it alone. As you navigate through the rest of your life, be open to collaboration. Other people and other people’s ideas are often better than your own. So find a group of people who challenge and inspire you, and spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life.”
    That quote really hits the nail on the head with the secret for leadership success, don’t you think?

  • September 6, 2013

    CASUDI

    You have to define what “Leadership” is to you, and what your goals are. They can be big goals, goals the size of a huge legacy or small everyday goals of accomplishment. If you know what the goals are and what the milestones you need to reach to get there, you have your point of reference to measure your accomplishment. Cut and dried. LOL but life is not always like that, cut and dried. However if you have a clear direction then you do have a very good chance of knowing when you have achieved something, when you have arrived and therefore you can measure your success. I see this is going to be a great discussion….I may miss the start but will definitely check in if I can..

  • September 7, 2013

    Jen Olney

    DebbieLaskeyMBA Thanks, Debbie. I see our measurement of leadership as a legacy. It’s the leaders we create in our wake. We may never know the leaders we inspire. In some cases we will, but in many cases there could be many who are inspired by the actions we have taken and their own path has been alter by our leadership. Each of us measures our success in different ways. No one has a right or wrong answer in this, IMO. However, selfish acts never really inspire anyone – perhaps not to be selfish but to be a leader and successful your leadership should leave a mark on others that inspires and influences a better person, a value to their life.

  • September 7, 2013

    Jen Olney

    CASUDI I agree. Each us has to define leadership and what it means to us. Life is not black and white. There is a lot of gray area. You do need a roadmap to be able to measure your own goals – to have a benchmark to see for yourself how you can strive to be better. The competition isn’t really with others, it’s with ourselves.

  • September 7, 2013

    Jen Olney

    We are kicking off our live blogchat today for #bealeader. Welcome to all !

  • September 7, 2013

    CASUDI

    Before you can read a map you have to know where you are LOL. Same in measuring leadership success you have to know where you are and lead from where you are…
    Are we doing questions today or just following the thread as it evolves?

  • September 7, 2013

    Jen Olney

    If you are new to our blog chat – the conversation happens in the comments – post your questions and comments here and we will answer.

  • September 7, 2013

    Angela Goodeve

    I do not even think of myself as a ‘Leader’ per se, but as a person with a mission and purpose to help others find, and keep happiness and success, and feel empowered to live in line with their authentic selves.
    I suppose I measure my success by seeing evidence that I am fulfilling this vision with others.
    To ensure I stay on track towards these goals I base decisions and action steps on my mission, as well as my values of positive energy, love (for self and others), passion (for all things in life), and fun.
    If something does not fit these, then it probably is not the best way for me to express my Leadership.
    Ang 🙂

  • September 7, 2013

    Jen Olney

    CASUDI Hi Casudi. It helps if you can read a map. Very True. I had a few questions in the post mixed in. One question I had – Are leaders today more content with success in legacy or do they want to leave their mark in power?

  • September 7, 2013

    CASUDI

    Angela Goodeve I dont see myself as a leader in the traditional meaning, however with the idea that everyone is in fact a Leader in their own space; we are all leaders:-)

  • September 7, 2013

    Jen Olney

    Angela Goodeve Hi Ang, Welcome! You are a leader if you are serving others – servant leadership is based in helping others. I often here this. Leadership is about leading in the moment – leading from where you are. I would say that you are measuring your success on the evidence of the value you bring to others – are they growing based on how you are serving others? Do they get a value from you? There is a legacy created in that kind of leadership.

  • September 7, 2013

    Jen Olney

    CASUDI Angela Goodeve Yes. Everyone is leading in their own space. We are all leading right where are now.

  • September 7, 2013

    Jen Olney

    Success is making the decisions and considering the consequences of those choices. Making the right choice without harming others in the process.

  • September 7, 2013

    Angela Goodeve

    Yes!!

  • September 7, 2013

    DebbieLaskeyMBA

    Excellent points, Angela, Casudi, and Jen! Thrilled to participate. I especially like Angela’s comment about “adding value” without the necessity of having an official leadership title. The most amazing people who I have learned from weren’t the CEOs or people with official titles. They simply added value in their outlooks, business advice, and ways they conducted themselves.

  • September 7, 2013

    CASUDI

    Since we are indirectly discussing ” Leading from where we are…”  I am wondering what LEADING from where we are NOT, is? And the outcome?

  • September 7, 2013

    CASUDI

    DebbieLaskeyMBA YES, adding the value necessary to solve a problem/challenge and “inadvertently” so to speak “taking the lead” ~ inadvertently not the right word:-)

  • September 7, 2013

    Angela Goodeve

    I wherever are NOT is Ina good place, it could be disastrous! 😉

  • September 7, 2013

    Jen Olney

    DebbieLaskeyMBA YES! Great point, Debbie. I learned from people who were not CEO’s as well. Their outlooks, values were major influences on my leadership as well. So many seem to be caught up on the title – and simply that doesn’t really lead us. It’s the core values and principles that really are the foundation of a leader.

  • September 7, 2013

    Jen Olney

    CASUDI Leading from a place of “not” you do teach others what not to do – it can still have value – you learn what you do not aspire to be as a leader. Angela Goodeve

  • September 7, 2013

    CASUDI

    Jen Olney  CASUDI Angela Goodeve I was thinking more leading from a title w/o the real desire to lead and make a difference…..doing by rote…following the guidelines w/o meaning…I suppose something positive can even come out of this?

  • September 7, 2013

    Jen Olney

    Leadership is very personal. Individually all us are leaders. Even when we do not consider ourselves to be leaders – someone is always inspired by us. Do you agree?

  • September 7, 2013

    CASUDI

    Dawn Kristy was trying to make the #Blogchat but caught in heavy traffic…

  • September 7, 2013

    DebbieLaskeyMBA

    Jen Olney  DebbieLaskeyMBA Saw an old re-run of an episode of “Undercover Boss” last night, and one of the employees that an executive worked with was a maintenance man for a fast-food restaurant. Here’s the kicker: the maintenance man called the restaurant “his restaurant,” and he strongly believed that if it looked dirty, then it was a reflection on him. Talk about inspiring leadership!

  • September 7, 2013

    Jen Olney

    CASUDI I’m sorry Dawn could be here today. She is missed!

  • September 7, 2013

    CASUDI

    Jen Olney YES, absolutely. Everyday we are inspired and learn from people who would never think of themselves as Leaders, even in their own space:-)

  • September 7, 2013

    Jen Olney

    DebbieLaskeyMBA  Very inspiring. Everyone in the organization should take an ownership stance and that happens when we have this leader within spirit. From the maintenance man to the CEO – everyone has this DNA within. Never underestimate anyone. A job description doesn’t denote a leader.

  • September 7, 2013

    Jen Olney

    CASUDI Exactly. Some would never give people the time of day to consider them leaders. However, when we stop putting labels on leaders and stop judging what a leader should be – we see there are many leaders among us.

  • September 7, 2013

    Jen Olney

    It’s easy for us to fall into the trap of what a leader should be – it’s easy for many to define leadership into a certain person. What is not easy is for many to see that leaders are all around us. Agree?

  • September 7, 2013

    DebbieLaskeyMBA

    Jen Olney  CASUDI I once worked in a non-profit in a marketing capacity, but the people who worked directly with adults and children with disabilities – day in and day out – were the ones who made the biggest impact. I felt privileged to be among these “leaders” – especially since I worked in the exec offices. This is why labels don’t often mean as much as actions.

  • September 7, 2013

    Angela Goodeve

    Yes, we often do not realize the impact we have on others, and must strive to be compassionate and kind while living in truth and integrity.

  • September 7, 2013

    Angela Goodeve

    Yes, if we are living our personal greatness! 🙂

  • September 7, 2013

    CASUDI

    Jen Olney I agree with the less traditional meaning of Leadership…that it is all around us at many different levels. Leading from where you are….

  • September 7, 2013

    Jen Olney

    DebbieLaskeyMBA  CASUDI That’s outstanding, Debbie. They were the true leaders. I look at the actions as well. If a leader is telling about the charity, their ability to give back and their character but the actions do not align – you know there is there is something a miss. We all need to take the time to see that in the trenches are the real leaders – they are the ones doing this type of work – leading by example.

  • September 7, 2013

    Angela Goodeve

    Absolutely!

  • September 7, 2013

    Jen Olney

    CASUDI  Angela Goodeve Going through the motions? The positive I suppose is that you are in a position where you have the ability “lead” but the passion is not there. You may have the influence but I suspect people will not really buy in to what you are doing, IMO.

  • September 7, 2013

    CASUDI

    Jen Olney  DebbieLaskeyMBA There is Giving Back and Giving Back….

  • September 7, 2013

    CASUDI

    Angela Goodeve YES, sometimes we dont realize the impact we have on others. Just the other day I ran into and thanked someone who had done something that was an enormous help to me six years ago. I had not seen her since and she had no idea as to the impact she had on my life.

  • September 7, 2013

    Jen Olney

    Very true. Giving back for benefit of yourself and PR – and giving back because it’s the right thing to do and benefits others – servant leadership. Yes. There are leaders that need to know the difference, IMO. Never give back because you need to cover up pass sins. Give back because you are doing it to benefit others and it’s the right thing to do for others.

  • September 7, 2013

    CASUDI

    DebbieLaskeyMBA Jen Olney Love this story as I often say the Janitor is the leader in the “first Impression” of the company……

  • September 7, 2013

    CASUDI

    REALLY GOOD comments Chat….. Thanks to you all for your insights today……

  • September 7, 2013

    DebbieLaskeyMBA

    CASUDI DebbieLaskeyMBA Jen Olney So many people within companies (whether B2B or B2C) as well as non-profits don’t realize that the “first impressions” are critical. People from the main receptionist (if these still exist – they’re few and far between) to landscapers to cleaning crews all the way up the ladder – everyone is a representative of a corporate brand. The more that people realize this, the more employees there will be who want to enthusiastically advocate for their brands – and in the process, showcase their characters and inspire others.

  • September 7, 2013

    Jen Olney

    CASUDI Thanks for coming in today. Always appreciate your time and comments. Very honored.

  • September 7, 2013

    Jen Olney

    Please keep your comments coming and we keep responding. The Live Blog Chat returns next Saturday at 1pmET with Strategy vs. Tactics – Do you know the difference?

  • September 7, 2013

    Jen Olney

    DebbieLaskeyMBA CASUDI  
    Yes, that’s why everyone matters – everyone is leading from where they are – and everyone needs to be mindful of their contributions to the organization. Employees want to make the best impression. They want to have an ownership stake in their position – no job is too small on the org chart to take the lead.