Do an honest inventory of your team, your organization, or your business and find out how much waste there really is. Not what you assume there is. Not what you guess there is. Not what you want to believe. Wasted time, wasted talent, wasted potential. How many people are coasting? How many are giving everything they’ve got? And by what definition? How many people are letting it slide? And here’s the big question for you as a leader – how much do you truly let slide?

Step 1 – Examine your own conscience first. Before you evaluate others for their waste, assess who you truly are and what you truly do and what you truly don’t do. Subjective evaluation is the hardest score to keep because we can’t trust the scorekeeper. Here’s a recommended practice that I use for subjective analysis as a football coach:

i. Won-loss record
ii. Team performance stats
iii. Individual performance stats
iv. Did the gap close? How much improvement was there since the beginning of the season?

The best was to subjectively evaluate your leadership is to measure it quantifiably. Change the evidence. Replace qualitative opinion with quantitative. Physical evidence doesn’t lie. People do. A combination of will get the truth but human opinions have to be credible to have any value. Until we become completely honest with our leadership performance, we nee outside evidence – physical evidence and independent eyewitness evidence. We make poor eyewitnesses until we’re trained to tell the truth. That’s why we need other eyewitness statements to corroborate our subjective analysis. But evaluating credibility of independent eyewitness statements isn’t easy. I have a 10-point strategy that works. I’ll explain it in future articles.

Examining your conscience is a powerful self-evaluation strategy if you let your conscience speak freely. You conscience will tell you the truth. It will send you a brutally honest answer in the form of cognitive dissonance. But if you shout it down or disconnect yourself from the messenger or close your heart to the message, the voice of your conscience gets shut down and the message gets lost.

Step 2 – repeat step one with your team as a whole and with it’s individuals. Dishonest evaluations are the number one cause of losing in any field. If you’re afraid to honestly evaluate your team, you will become the leading cause of misleading and for ending up in dead last. Dishonest evaluations work two-way – not telling the full truth about the good and the bad performance. Spiteful little leaders can’t give credit to where credit is due because of fear that someone else will take the spotlight or pass them. That’s one sign of coward leadership. Then there are enablers who don’t tell the truth about half-assed unacceptable performance – the sliders…those who let mediocrity slide. Enabling makes you an accomplice for team waste by willful negligence. Allowing your team to take their salary without earning it.

If have a public sector leadership role, you are responsible to taxpayers to minimize the waste. If you’re in the private sector, you’re responsible to the business owner who took all the risk. No leader is unaccountable. No leader has the right to let it slide. Conversely , no leader has the right to not recognize the waste-managers, those who excel, who earn their money, those who give more than they receive, those who work to full capacity.

Leadership may seem to be a mystery. Leadership may appear to be a complex dynamic. But there’s an essence of simplicity to leadership. Be honest. – continued in part 3 –

Gino Arcaro has written 12 books. He started his writing career by writing 6 best-selling academic law enforcement textbooks. Then he changed his focus and wrote 6 non-academic books to compete on a new stage. The first book is Soul of a Lifter, available in paperback and e-book. The book is about how lifting is a life-saver – lifting others and lifting weight. Dual-purpose lifting. You can review all Gino’ books them by clicking “Books” at the top of the S.O.A.L. blog.