I am sometimes asked for my opinion on someone’s leadership ability. I usually qualify my answer by reminding the person asking that it really is just an opinion. I can make a highly educated guess but unless I am very familiar with the people the individual leads it really is just a guess.
I can only provide a truly qualified answer if I understand the level and quality of influence the leader has on their people. Because more than anything else, leadership, at least Authentic Servant Leadership, is about people.
I can observe a person’s judgment to provide insight into their leadership ability. I can listen to them as they talk about their vision for the organization and that also helps understand how they might lead.
I can even watch as they interact with those that they lead to determine the level of interest they actually have in helping their people succeed. But without really knowing what difference they have made in the lives of those they lead, I can’t, and neither can anyone else, really form a complete opinion.
To receive high “marks” as a leader they must have helped at least one of their people become a leader. No matter what else a leader has accomplished they have not completely succeeded as a leader unless they have built more leaders. Their leadership should run downhill to those they lead. They must transfer part of themselves into and onto their people to help them grow as leaders.
To determine the true effectiveness of a leader don’t look at the leader, look at the people they lead. That’s where you’ll discover all you need to know.