Are you a successful IT leader? On the surface, it seems like something that should be fairly easy to answer, right? After all, it only requires a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ response.

But when you actually stop to come up with a response, you might find yourself faltering a bit. What does success as a leader even mean?

Does it mean you’ve simply achieved the role as an IT leader, and thus by default you’re successful? Or is it reflecting on your achievements, outcomes or abilities as a leader? Are you only successful if you have the material possessions like a big house, fancy car and hefty bank account to back it up? Or do you prove your success as a leader by being able to maintain a healthy life/work balance on top of everything you do in your professional life?

These questions make measuring your own success as an IT leader a bit more tough, but not impossible. We’ve put together three key metrics to help you do so.

1. Success at work

We can’t talk about how successful you are in a professional capacity without at least touching on your abilities at work.

The best way to look at this is to split it into three spheres:

The past - how well has your team performed in the past? All of the projects and accomplishments you’ve held as a leader don’t necessarily have to have positive outcomes. The important thing is to learn from the things that didn’t go to plan: how well did you learn and improve on them? It can be easy to complete one project and move on, but your past experience is a big part of your overall story in IT leadership.

The future – every good leader has their sights set on the future and how they can influence change to make a positive impact on their team, organisation and clients/customers. The level to which you’ve got your vision laid out is a huge contributing factor to measuring how successful you are.

The present – strangely enough, the present situation of your team can often be overlooked. It’s so easy to be caught up in what you’ve already done, or the goals you’re looking to achieve, and forget about what’s right in front of you. The way you hit your key performance indicators, the culture and attitude of your team, and the daily effectiveness of those you’re responsible for today are all important measures of success.

2. Success outside of work

Your success as a leader can’t just be defined within the confines of your office walls. If you truly want to measure your success, you must look beyond that. There are a couple of ways this can be measured:

How you treat your loved ones. Are you there for your family? Do you make time for your friends? A healthy work/life balance isn’t just important, it’s essential to ensure you’re a well-rounded individual who you can bring your best self forward into your career.

How content you are with your life. You don’t necessarily need to have all the material possessions in the world (does this bring happiness, anyway?). Being able to fulfill your needs – and, as an added luxury not many get to enjoy, your wants – represents a certain level of success in your life.

3. Success within yourself

Before your eyes glaze over (or begin to roll), hear us out. Having a strong relationship with yourself is a huge factor when it comes to measuring your outward success. Being self-aware and able to internally process situations in a positive way can be the difference between a successful and unsuccessful leader.

Ultimately, measuring success as a Master of Information Technology specialist isn’t always clear cut. But it’s still an incredibly important question to ask yourself, to keep track of where you’re at and ensure you can keep challenging yourself to do better.