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Round Up

12 Leadership Behaviors Everyone Needs

Andrew Langat
November 10, 2021
Two executive high-fiving each other in a good mood.

What you Need to Know:

  • Effective Leadership behaviors are composed of many behaviors.
  • Leadership skills can be enhanced through mentorship and coaching
  • To effectively manage employees, one needs a varied set of leadership behaviors.
"One's philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes... and the choices we make are ultimately our responsibility." ‍ -Eleanor Roosevelt

Eleanor Roosevelt’s words perfectly encapsulate what it takes to be a great leader. 

In most instances, words are not enough to define exceptional leadership traits or leadership behaviors. Actions make a leader, not words. It is in a leader’s behavior that the art of leadership shines through. We are likely to remember a good leader based on, among others, communication skills, inspiring vision, innovative thinking, and the positive culture they help nurture.

Mentoring, executive coaching, and leadership coaching can go a long way in modifying an organization’s culture and getting effective leadership in place.

These programs go against the famous saying that great leaders are born, not made, as they explore the fundamentals of leadership.

With the right mindset, anyone can adopt the right leadership behaviors to become a goal-oriented or visionary leader. Slight modifications in behavior can make team members more likely to follow a leader and feel more engaged in their tasks.

While staff morale might sound like a trivial thing to focus on, confidence and happiness can play a massive role in the overall performance of a company or organization. It is a scientific fact proven through several decades of research why leading organizations spend a lot of money on employee fulfillment.

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What are leadership Behaviors?

Leadership behaviors are the sum total of a leader’s management style. This encompasses characteristics, values, and actions. Through these traits, a leader can lead to team to set objectives.

Based on this, a leader can be described as a transparent leader, an emotionally intelligent leader, an effective leader, a resilient leader, or simply a true leader.

Leadership behavior forms the building block of great or poor leaders. It is thus essential to understand how to apply these behaviors for effective leadership.

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12 Great Leadership Behaviors

An infographic listing 12 great leadership behaviors.

1. Active Listening

Active listening is a powerful communication tool that few possess. It is a difficult habit to master; however, it allows one to get more information from people. In addition to information transfer, effective listening makes people trust you, aids conflict resolution efforts, helps you figure out what motivates others, and helps you obtain higher levels of commitment from team members.

A clear sign you have mastered effective listening is the ability to match your responses to a diverse range of contexts.

In leadership, practical listening skills can help a leader navigate the thin line between counseling and coaching. With this skill mastered, leaders can quickly advise how team members can improve skills, recognize emotional problems and poor attitudes, and deal with different personalities.

How can one Practice Effective Listening?

Effective listening is a well-studied subject, and most mentoring, executive coaching, and leadership coaching break it down into the following steps:

  • Probing
  • Deflecting
  • Advising
  • Reflecting

These simple steps help a leader listen more effectively and reap all the benefits of possessing this powerful communication skill. 

2. Honesty

Honesty is a good leadership behavior as it is the foundation of trust. To build honesty is to build trust. In the leadership setting, honesty comes into play in verifying that the information you receive is accurate, proving that you are dependable and can be held to your word.

For outside parties such as customers and investors, honesty is critical to upholding a leader’s reputation. There might be an initial instinct to exaggerate a company’s potential, product effectiveness, timeliness, or capabilities; however, failing to meet these expectations will soil a leader’s reputation.

A leader’s or company’s long-term reputation depends on delivering on promises.

In the short term, honesty is not always gratifying, and it can seem like shooting yourself on foot, but lies and half-truths can be a slippery slope that could be difficult to recover. People detest lies and dishonesty, so leaders should not rely on these vices to get ahead.  

How Can You Practice Honesty?

A leader can practice honesty in the following ways:

  • Surround yourself with honest team members
  • Keep your word, always.
  • Hold yourself to high moral standards for each team member
  • Thank team members for their honesty
  • Hold team members accountable when they lie
  • Practice self-awareness

3. Ethics 

Movies often portray leaders as cut-throat operators with no time for ethics; nevertheless, real-world leadership calls for the ability to differentiate wrong from right at all times. Ethical leadership is an all-encompassing behavioral trait that permeates through personal actions and defines interpersonal relationships.

A leader’s ethical behavior will set the trend for appropriate conduct in the workplace. Ethics are crucial because it helps a company or organization appear more trustworthy in the eyes of partners, vendors, and investors and inspires loyalty among staff members.

Ethics promote employee engagement, as they are proud to associate a company with moral superiority. This manifests itself in increased productivity and easier staff recruitment and retention.

Ethical leadership means you must lead by example and consider ethical considerations in all company operations. Ethical leadership also means a leader should evolve and adapt to emerging issues. Dealing with issues head-on will set a precedent and allow leadership to steer the company positively.

How can you Practice Being More Ethical?

A leader can practice being more ethical in the following ways:

  • Define your morals
  • Lead by example
  • Establish a clear code of conduct
  • Beware of personal biases
  • Hire people with ethical conduct

4. Reward Achievements

Rewarding achievement by team members is a crucial trait used to inspire followership. A leader can only succeed if they consistently inspire loyalty and respect in team members. Rewarding achievements makes people feel important and encourages better performance.

To recognize achievement, a leader needs to put in place the appropriate criteria to gauge workplace performance, consider all aspects of operations, foster a frequent recognition culture, align performance landmarks with organizational goals, and incorporate training and career development as part of the recognition.

Typical rewards for achievement include: 

  • Additional pay
  • Group rewards
  • Stock options
  • Profit-sharing
  • Time off
  • Autonomy at work
  • Recognition and praise

5. Accountability

Accountability is a valuable trait for leadership at all levels of an organization or company. It is a good leadership behavior for the following reasons:

First, accountability builds trust. Trust is essential for good relations between several parties within an organization. Accountability from leadership means that they are responsible for all decisions and actions.

Secondly, accountability improves performance by eliminating unproductive behavior. Unaccountable leadership breeds ineffective behavior. A leader can spot these behaviors with accountability before mistakes and errors happen.

Thirdly, accountability inspires confidence in leadership. Accountable leaders provide honest feedback on mistakes and errors and then work with other team members to find solutions. When team members know that someone is listening, they are more likely to give their best.

Finally, accountable leadership promotes ownership. Ownership within an organization or company is crucial as it makes team members value their work. Accountability brings positive feedback and direct corrective actions. These learning tools impact the team and make members feel valued and essential.  

How can you Practice Accountability?

To be accountable, a leader must do the following:

  • Take the lead
  • Communicate clearly with team members
  • Create a safe environment for team members to exercise accountability

6. Consistency

Consistent behavior for leaders is vital in leadership as it lets team members know what to expect. Inconsistency wastes time as team members have to wait before taking action. These delays create additional costs and hesitance at all levels.

To be consistent, a leader must not act erratically or be unprincipled, and a leader must continually evaluate their actions before taking a step.

How Can You Practice Consistency?

A leader can be more consistent by taking the following steps:

  • Establishing clear expectations for themselves and team members
  • Communicate clearly and schedule regular check-ins with employees
  • Communicate reasons for actions taken
  • Embrace feedback from employees or team members

7. Commitment to Learning

A commitment to learning often puts one ahead of the pack, and this advantage is further amplified for leadership. A commitment to learning by people in leadership is hard to come by, yet, it provides several answers and can see things from other perspectives.

Leaders with a mindset of always learning set an excellent example for team members in an organization. Learning makes a company agile and ready to adapt to dynamic market conditions and operating climates. Lessons can also be formalized and packaged in leadership and executive coaching. It makes it easier to mold great leaders through a tried-and-tested approach.

Toyota, the Japanese vehicle manufacturer, is a perfect example of a company with leadership that prioritizes learning. Despite its size and success, the company is still learning through a framework that prioritizes learning at the details and strategic levels.  This approach helps them maintain their technological edge in the competitive vehicle manufacturing market. 

How Can a Leader Show a Commitment to Learning?

A leader can show a commitment to learning through the following actions:

  • Developing situational awareness
  • Take on new  leadership projects
  • Learn from others
  • Embrace mistakes
  • Look for areas of weakness and try to master these areas
  • Approach learning with excitement
4 hands are joined together to symbolize team work.

8. Constructive Criticism

As a leader, you must review your team's performance regularly. This will entail offering constructive feedback on the assigned tasks - both the good and the bad. Great leaders understand the importance of constructive criticism in shaping desired behavior. 

To offer constructive feedback the right way, do the following:

  • Encourage open communication on why a particular task was not delivered as required
  • Create a sense of Psychological safety so that feedback does not generate unnecessary pain and that it creates a strong sense of responsibility
  • Be firm but not overbearing.
  • For challenging projects, get to know where the pain lies.

9. Mentoring Mindset

Successful leaders have a mentoring mindset. They understand that leadership positions are transient, and their responsibility is to nurture future leaders. 

A Mentoring Mindset entails the following:

  • Establishing a mentoring program in your organization
  • Admitting to not knowing everything and pointing in the right direction
  • Creating room for open discussion on mentorship areas
  • Respecting the mentees

10. Compassion and Empathy in Leadership

One of the most positive leadership behavior is empathy. When team members understand that a leader understands their feeling and thoughts, it becomes easier for them to feel appreciated and boost morale. To exercise empathy, do the following:

  • Through intentional words, such as “I understand how you feel,” etc.
  • Actions, i.e., being there when your team members need your presence
  • Practice putting others first
  • Creating a safe space for sharing
  • Don’t assume concerns
  • Listening to understand

11. Emotional Intelligence in Leadership

Effective leaders show great mastery of Emotional intelligence. When a leader can manage their emotions, it becomes easy to manage team members' emotions. To exercise emotional intelligence, do the following:

  • Show a great sense of self-awareness
  • Practice self-regulation
  • Better your social skills
  • Be highly motivated in your work

12. Delegation

A great leader understands that they cannot be everything in an organization. Mastering delegation boost performance and assist team members in playing on their strengths. For leaders struggling with how to delegate effectively, executive coaching or leadership development can help shed more light on this crucial aspect of leadership. That said, to deliver effectively, do the following:

  • Identify your strength and weakness. For effective delivery, delegate weakness for optimum performance.
  • Clearly explain to team members why you are delegating
  • Remain accessible for any clarification
  • Set reasonable but firm deadlines for delegated work

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How We Can Help

At Highrise, we understand that leadership behavior is the cornerstone through which successful leaders cement good leadership traits. Our executive coaching for leadership development can enable you to become a successful leader.
Get in touch today for a customized coaching experience.

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Andrew Langat
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Andrew Langat is an experienced content specialist in Leadership, Productivity, Education, Fintech, and Research. He is an avid reader and loves swimming as a hobby. He believes that quality content should be actionable and helpful.