What is Your Measure of Leadership?

Dial for a weight scale

The Treaty of the Metre was signed May 20, 1875 in Paris by representatives of 17 nations (including the United States of America). The purpose of the Metre Convention was coordination of international metrology and to develop the metric system. The convention established the General Conference on Weights and Measures (Conférence Générale des Poids et Mesures – CGPM) and that body created the international standards of measurements known as the International System of Units (SI) since 1960. The CGPM was originally concerned with units of mass and length but in 1921 they expanded their scope to include all physical measurements. Kilogram and meter were originally defined with physical reference artifacts (things that were agreed to be one kilogram in weight and one meter in length). However, in 1960, the meter was redefined in terms of the wavelength of light, thus deriving it from nature, not a created artifact. In 2018 the CGPM will debate redefinition of all base units to be entirely based on nature.

In the 1880s, a London firm created 30 physical bar meters and 40 physical cylinder kilograms. One each was randomly chosen as the international reference for length and weight. These are still stored in a vault in Paris. The others were distributed around the world and are also stored in guarded vaults. K4 and K20 are the kilogram standards held in the United States.

So where is the foot reference and the pound reference? Do the same US vaults contain a bar that is one foot long and a cylinder weighing one pound?

No. They don’t exist.

The international standard of measurements is metric, not imperial units, even in the United States where everyday measurements are imperial.

Feet, gallons, pounds, miles, etc. are all defined by metric units. They are then converted to imperial units for everyday use. And then, when we want to engage in trade with many of our international partners, we convert back to metric!

(By the way, this is not only silly, but it is costly, potentially to the point of loss of life. Unit conversion errors have cost NASA many millions of dollars and loss of spacecraft. Unit conversion errors caused an Air Canada plane to run out of fuel mid-flight. It has cause errors in drug prescriptions for patients. See this short article at Mental Floss.)

It’s interesting that in the United States our cultural reference is imperial units and that we convert from imperial to metric. What we fail to realize is that the imperial units were created from a metric standard.

What is your reference for measuring leadership?

  • Is it how satisfied and engaged your employees are?
  • Is it some form of operational efficiency?
  • Perhaps your leadership is measured by revenue or profitability.
  • Maybe you have a system for measuring process improvement.

Take a moment and consider how your leadership is weighed. What is the standard of measurement for how well you lead people and your organization?

Let me propose that you consider a different standard—an old standard. I propose you consider a biblical standard for measuring your leadership.

Leadership that serves: “Rather, let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves.” (Luke 22:26, ESV)

Leadership that rests on God’s authority: “The one who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of [God] who sent him is true, and in him there is no falsehood.” (John 7:18, ESV)

Leadership that seeks the growth and maturity of others: “I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith.” (Philippians 1:25)

Leadership that is rooted in Christ: “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)

Most of us work for organization that is not faith-based according to the Christian Bible. These standards above are not going to be quickly adopted by your organization as a method to evaluate your leadership.

However, you can and should evaluate your leadership through scripture. When you stand before the Lord for judgment, He will not look at you and ask, “How was your last performance review?”

Additional Resources
Five Marks of a Servant Leader
What is servant leadership?

Dr. Scott Yorkovich is a leadership coach and consultant. He works with individuals, small and medium organizations, and ministries. Contact him at ScottYorkovich[at]LeadStrategic.com with your questions.

Photo by Maria Molinero. Photo available at Unsplash under CC0 license. Image modified for size and space.

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