Is Leadership Development Measurable?

Leadership development is a hot topic for most organisations. This is understandably so since leaders are the ones who ultimately decide the trajectory and purpose of a company. But the question remains – is leadership development measurable?  

How do organisations gauge the effectiveness of a program or even prove that it actually works? In the world of sales and marketing, success is easily measured via delivered quotas and revenue. A software engineer can clearly showcase his achievements through a turnkey program that reduces manpower hours. 

But there’s the rub in leadership – where intangible dynamics abound. Technology, people, and bridging the two are the primary yardsticks of management efficiencies. In fact, great leadership transcends IQ, EQ, or SQ (social quotient) and requires a certain level of impressiveness in all. 

Understanding SMART Leadership

Anything measurable requires a structure. In this sense, the SMART system is commonly applied in the sphere of leadership. A leadership development program may be tallied against a SMART system to provide a consistent review of learning outcomes. 

SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timeliness. This list of attributes will help customise lesson plans and prime the mindset of leaders ahead of their first session. 


Every leader enrolls for a program with the goal of achieving something. It is necessary to establish what that is from the get-go. These could be specific objectives such as reducing employee turnover rates or inspiring greater participation in meetings. 


The next step involves actual measurable and undisputed data. Leaders should refrain from guesswork or estimation when it comes down to goal-setting or monitoring results. If you wish to improve employee engagement, how does this translate in terms of numbers in attendance rates and calculable performance? The smiles and other perceived changes in employee behaviour are inaccurate indicators of progress. 


Leadership goals should always be attainable. This means that objectives are challenging enough to invoke a sense of urgency and action but not beyond reach. Leadership development should improve morale and not add unnecessary stress for the decision-maker. Also, goals should not be overly simple to the point that they breed complacency and stagnation. 


Time is precious, more so for leaders, who account for the livelihood of their team. As such, every leadership development course should be relevant toward enhancing an organisation’s vision and mission. It is easy to get lost in the current digital “gold rush”, where many leaders are accumulating tech knowledge regardless of relevance. 

Leaders should invest some time in considering the priorities of their organisation and only seeking channels that add value to their projects and operations. 


Timeliness is a factor that works hand in hand with attainability. Leaders need to set a practical timeline against expected results. This will help them decide if a leadership development program is supporting them in the right direction. Also, this mitigates unnecessary costs incurred by an ineffective program. 

Leadership is complex at its core but a SMART approach will minimise the errors and missteps in its developmental process. 


StrengthsAsia has helped many individual and corporate clients all throughout the region in empowering leaders by enabling breakthrough experiences for both leaders and followers. If you want to learn more about the Strengths Leadership Program, feel free to reach out to us here.

A devotee at the altar of language and a celebrant of expression. Laurenzo has written for various SMEs, MNCs, startups and international brands over the last three years. He specializes in topics of psychology, lifestyle, employee management, and digital trends.

Aly is StrengthsAsia’s marketing and communications guru and lead editor. She's over the top inquisitive and everyone in the company knows her as “The Googler” as she practically googles everything. Honestly, we all worry for her… She is also the Principal Trainer for our one of a kind ice cream team building workshops in Asia.

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