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What Would Your Leadership Report Card Look Like?

4-minute read Aug 24, 2022
Leadership Report Card

Are you a “Straight-A” leader in the eyes of those you lead?

If your people were able to write your Leadership Report Card right now for the past year, would it say that you have been a Straight-A Leader, or would your Leadership Report Card be mostly Bs with a couple of As? Would it show straight-Bs, perhaps? Some Bs with a couple of Cs? Or would it be largely Cs? Would there even be a disappointing F or two? Would you be supremely proud of what you would read about yourself, do you imagine?

All leaders like to imagine, of course, that our Leadership Report Card would declare that we are all straight-A leaders: individuals with enormous integrity and vision, extraordinary drive and passion, blessed with unsurpassed strategic and tactical prowess, practically effervescing with unrivalled self-awareness and commercial insight…basically, an all-round good-egg and person voted most likely to win a Nobel Peace Prize for leadership (no, there isn’t one) before the year is out. That’s what “best-in-class” looks like, right?

But, if somehow your people were really asked to complete it completely honestly and anonymously, would your report card really say those splendid things about you every day, I wonder? What about the day you tried giving up coffee and were as crotchety and ornery as a tired and hungry baby cutting its first tooth and sat in a cold, wet diaper?

You might think (hope) they would say things like, “Well, he’s firm, but fair.” Or, “She’s a real tough-cookie, a hard-ass, but she knows what she’s doing.” Or, “His methods are brutal, but his record speaks for itself.”

In other words, sure, you’re a terrible leader, but you get things done—and the ends always justify the means.

But, dear leader, the ends do not justify the means—or rather, they do for cruddy leaders, but they do not for great ones – and ‘great’ is what we’re going for, after all, right?

“Style”, how you get things done, is as important as the results you generate—more so, perhaps.

Do you lead with “style”: charm, and wit, and intelligence, and self-deprecating humor, and panache? Or are you an ogre who “does what needs to be done to get things done?”

…and don’t fool yourself with the answer.

Try to imagine what grades A – F your people might give you against the following Core Elements of Exceptional Leadership:







The extent to which you are committed to helping your people reach their full potential. Your mentoring skill, and how well you understand people’s individual motivations. Whether or not you build a culture of true collaboration not just one of communication, coordination, and cooperation.



How committed are you to improving all company processes? How assiduously do you commit time to develop the company Vision, Mission, and Goals? How strong are your short-, medium-, and long-term planning skills? How well do you help individuals and department industrialize, scale, pivot, or refresh?



Is your personal development plan formalized, and do you review it regularly? Do you know where you leadership blind spots lie, and do you have a plan in place to overcome them? Are you building all 5 elements of emotional intelligence? How committed are you to eliminate whatever self-limiting beliefs are holding you and your people back?



The extent to which you not only develop world-class strategic plans, but you implement them? How appropriate are your KPI’s, and what do your course-correction models look like? How competent are you with using strategic business tools and models to help you understand and communicate plans and intentions and understanding to others?



How much do your people trust you – how much do you trust them? Are your personal Vision / Mission and Goals well understood by yourself and others? Can you describe with clarity your most important Leadership Core Values, and do you have the courage to pursue them, even when the world seems stacked against you?



Unless you have an extremely acute gift for self-awareness, or you work on developing it every day, it’s likely that you will not be able to accurately guess what your senior team and others would say about you – well the things that they likely say behind your back for fear of upsetting you, or worse, if they were brave enough (or foolhardy enough) to say to your face.

Please don’t fall into the trap of “My Leadership Report Card grades are my results, and my results speak for themselves. We are 3% up year on year.”

This is the refuge of the unenlightened leader and bombastic leader. Style is just as important as result – remember, the ends do not justify the means. Get result, but with a little more charm, and wit, and intelligence, and self-deprecating humor, and panache.

Everyone, including you, will enjoy the ride much more: and that 3% growth that you’re so very proud of could just as easily be 6%, or 12% or more this time next year.

If your Report Card does not show straight A’s across the board (and it doesn’t), and if you care about trying to figure out how to improve your scores, take an objective leadership assessment of these particular leadership attributes – you never know, you might learn something that all your people will thank you for before next year’s Leadership Report Card is out.


Our Leadership Assessment 

Our uniquely powerful Leadership Assessment delivers an in-depth, accurate, and insightful understanding of your current leadership ability. The assessment measures against the twenty Critical Performance Competencies needed for leadership success, and reveals your unique leadership strengths, styles, and self-awareness levels.