This article is part of The Ascender, the Highrise platform for articles and resources.
Round Up

12 Leadership Behaviors Everyone Needs

Andrew Langat
November 10, 2021
Two executive high-fiving each other in a good mood.
Read our case studies document and learn how Highrise helped other individuals to improve their professionnal skills and careers.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

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 other qualities, 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, and show that we can learn from and implement the fundamentals of leadership.

With the right mindset, anyone can adopt leadership behaviors and 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 studying why leading organizations spend a lot of money on employee fulfillment.

<div id="one">

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 the team and 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.

<div id="two">

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 you to get more information from people. In addition to information transfer, effective listening helps 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, active listening skills can help a leader navigate the thin line between counseling and coaching. With this skill mastered, leaders can quickly advise team members on improving skills, recognizing emotional problems and poor attitudes, and dealing with different personalities.

How can you practice active 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 reap all benefits of 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 give and 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. But 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 can be difficult to recover from. People detest lies and dishonesty, so leaders should not rely on these.  

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. However, 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 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 they contribute to a company or organization appearing more trustworthy in the eyes of partners, vendors, and investors, and inspire loyalty among staff members.

Ethics promote employee engagement, leading to increased productivity and better 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 achievements of team members is a crucial leadership behavior. 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 parties within an organization. Accountability from leadership means that they are responsible for all decisions and actions.

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

Third, 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 assists in promoting 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 insecurity 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 in leadership. A commitment to learning by people in leadership is hard to come by, yet it provides guidance and the ability to 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. Molding great leaders is more easily accomplished 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 utilizing a framework that prioritizes learning the details at all 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.
  • Taking on new  leadership projects.
  • Learning from others.
  • Embracing mistakes.
  • Looking for areas of weakness and working to strengthen them.
  • Approaching 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 instead 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 includes the following:

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

10. Compassion and Empathy in Leadership

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

  • Use intentional words and phrases, such as “I understand how you feel,” etc.
  • Be there when your team members need your presence.
  • Practice putting others first.
  • Create a safe space for sharing.
  • Don’t assume concerns, but ask and be open to hearing what others say.
  • Practice active listening to understand and connect with others.

11. Emotional Intelligence in Leadership

Effective leaders show high levels of emotional intelligence. When a leader can manage their emotions, it becomes easier to understand and navigate team members' emotions. To exercise emotional intelligence, do the following:

  • Show a great sense of self-awareness.
  • Practice self-regulation.
  • Improve your social skills, especially around communication.
  • Be highly motivated in your work.

12. Delegation

A great leader understands that they cannot be everything in an organization. Practicing delegation boosts performance and assists team members by capitalizing 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 delegate 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.

<div id="three">

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.

Want to read more from us? Subscribe to our newsletter to read our latest resources

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Inspiring, isn’t it ? Want to learn more about connecting self-awareness to professional development? Get in touch today.
Thank you! Your Downloads is here:
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Andrew Langat
Facebook logoTwitter logo
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.