Time is a scarce resource and your leaders can never have enough of it. Now that does not mean they use their time wisely. Everyone gets 24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week, and 365 days in a year.
How much of their time goes on solving the “problem of the day” or POTD? This refers to problems that arise and are solved seemingly at random, without a pattern or rhyme or reason. Either the dots don’t connect or no one bothers to connect them. Needless to say, this is frustrating and unproductive for all.
A certain amount of fire fighting is to be expected, but if it gets to a point where their effectiveness is compromised, it is time to take a good look at your planning and work assignment practices.
If leaders spend more than a small percentage of their time on POTDs, no amount of leadership training is going to help. It’s like planting an exotic plant in soil that is devoid of water and fertilizer, not really conducive to growth.
Be sure to suspend judgment as you gather this metric.
Faced by ambiguity, some “leaders” will become risk averse. They may withdraw physically and mentally. They will play not to lose, rather than play to win.
Other leaders, the true leaders, will take immediate steps to prioritize the ambiguity. If it is important, they will take steps to remove the ambiguity, and then solve the problem. Such leaders will solve problems worth solving and ignore the rest. If they are consistent, they will send clear signals on what they consider important.
Don’t confuse this with those “leaders” who recklessly rush into problem solving without thought. They are like generals who lead their soldiers into a battle when victory is unclear. This may appear brave to the casual observer. Their actions are not only destructive, but create the wrong role models for your organization.
Update your list of leaders with your findings, move the names around based on your insight.