The most visible leader in almost any country is that country's political leader. In Australia, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was interviewed by Leigh Sales on 7.30 following his re-election. She was attempting to nail down some of the results that the government would achieve over the upcoming term. When Sales asked how the public should judge the government's performance, Turnbull replied:
Well the public should judge us against the delivery of the commitments that we have made ... [The government's performance] will be measured against many different criteria, but the fundamental measurement, of course, is ‘are the projects underway', ‘are they being delivered', ‘are they being delivered on-budget'.
This is a rather typical response from many political leaders about how they define success: that promises (which often means projects) will be implemented.
But the results we want from our government aren't that it invests taxpayers' money on projects. It's that our way of life is improved thanks to these projects. But to measure how much better specific aspects of our lives actually become is risky in a political environment. Anything less than a perfect result is attacked by the Opposition and by vocal community groups, and these attacks slow down and sabotage progress. The broad, complex and intangible results that make up a better way of life are never completely within the control of any one person or group or political party, ...