Leadership Leaderboard: What If Leaders Were Ranked?

Leadership Leaderboard

It seems our society has a tendency to rank nearly everything. Here are just a few to help make the point:

Keep this in mind as you go through your day; how many other examples do you see?

Try to observe your own behavior in response to these rankings.  Are you influenced by them?  Do you buy books based on the N.Y. Times Best Seller list?  When you travel, do you choose a restaurant by Zagat’s?  Do rating systems cause you to make certain decisions or adopt certain behaviors?

Imagine if workplace leaders were ranked in a similar manner.

What types of things would be considered to create the ranking?  I am not sure how they would be measured or weighted, but here are some suggestions to consider:

  • Ability to influence action
  • Impact on team morale
  • Leads with compassion
  • Spends time in service to others
  • Makes the tough decisions
  • Develops other leaders

Leadership Rankings in Sports

I thought about this as I read the udpated BCS rankings earlier this week.  Locally here in central Ohio, we had a big game recently as Ohio State played at Penn State.  Going into the game, OSU was ranked #16 and PSU was ranked #11.

Ohio State won the game, beating Penn State 24-7.  Just that one game had a significant impact on the BCS ratings.  Today, OSU jumped up five spots to #11 and PSU fell seven spots to #18.

I wonder how we would fare if leaders were ranked weekly based on their most recent performance.

Imagine being held accountable by such a system?

  • Can’t persuade your team to get on the same page – move down a spot
  • Spend time on the floor getting to know your people – move up three spots
  • Fail to listen as an employee tries to share a health challenge – move down five spots
  • Too tired to serve and spend more time in your office – move down three spots
  • Offer career counseling to and up-and-comer on your team – move up three spots

You get the point, I’m sure.

Would a weekly rating change your behavior?  Would it shift your priorities?  What if your employees voted on your leadership each week?  Where would you rank in the “Leadership Top 25” at your workplace?


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Eleanor Biddulph
Eleanor Biddulph
 is the EVP of Client Services at Progressive Medical, Inc.
Email | LinkedIn | Twitter | Facebook | Blog

Image Source: wallstreetgolf.com, isopixel.net, sevenpack.net

10 responses to “Leadership Leaderboard: What If Leaders Were Ranked?

  1. I had a discussion on our LinkedIn group about this very issue recently. Essentially how can outsiders gauge the effectiveness of a leader? What kind of things can they measure? It is unfortunately pretty difficult.


  2. Adi, thank you for stopping by L2L and reading my post. It is an interesting concept, isn’t it? The LinkedIn discussion probably had some interesting insight. Food for thought, anyway! El


    • I’m wondering if we can’t do an inputs/outputs thing here. For instance we know what managers do to develop their skills, so if we make the assumption that those that put most into this get the most out then we could easily provide a league table. Of course it does rely on this assumption being correct.


  3. Pingback: Weekly Leadership Rankings Score: Are you going up… or down? « RESTAURANT LEADERSHIP·

  4. Eleanor, there’s both humor and wisdom in the concept. Perhaps companies could tie compensation to positioning on the leaderboard.


    • George – thank you for reading and commenting on my post. Can you imagine? I wonder how behaviors would change if there were that nearly immediate feedback of a leadership ranking tied to compensation. Interesting concept!


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  6. Hey Eleanor, Thanks for an interesting and enjoyable article. Being somewhat of a sports nut myself, I really enjoyed the unique perspective on leadership you proposed. In our monthly leadership sessions around the country we continually encourage a servant leadership perspective and we put processes in place (inside the organizations we work with) that allow leaders to maintain a pretty accurate awareness of how they are doing in a number of important areas that combine to reflect their overall leadership effectiveness. Leaders like to know how they are doing. Like most folks, they want to know that they really are making a difference. Thanks again for a thought-provoking article. Continued Success!


  7. Jim, thank you for reading my post, and taking the time to write a comment. The idea really is about awareness, and how that awareness would impact our performance. It’s great that you are helping leaders gain that knowledge, by which they can then begin to judge their effectiveness.


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