When facilitating a high-performing, engaged, and productive workforce, there are many types of leadership behaviors to improve and prioritize. A strong leader possesses the self-awareness needed to identify areas of improvement and willingness to take action. When a leader lacks certain competencies or leadership skills, an organization may suffer. The best leaders have a positive impact on teamwork, employee retention, and empowerment.
What are leadership behaviors?
There's no shortage of leadership qualities that can contribute to an effective and healthy work environment. While people in leadership positions are often confident and innovative, with high emotional intelligence and an aptitude for delegating, many other behaviors can help shape better leaders. Our leadership behaviors definition includes any traits or qualities that aid in more effective leadership and enhance a leader's ability to motivate, guide, and inspire the people they lead.
Can you emulate the behaviors of a good leader and get results?
By mimicking the behaviors of successful leaders, you are putting tested strategies into practice. The more you put these behaviors into practice and pair them with an added understanding of leadership styles and leadership personality traits, the sooner they will become second nature to you and ultimately an internalized method of leading.
Leadership behaviors list: 10 key types of leadership behaviors to improve
Here are the key types of leadership behavior to consider improving when revamping your current practices:
To build trust within a team and cultivate a stronger foundation, leaders must be transparent and honest. When leaders are real, they inspire honesty from other employees and thus more successful collaboration. When leaders practice honesty in situations good and bad, they inspire loyalty and trust amongst their followers. When leaders are trusted by their people, important workplace practices improve significantly: employees are more engaged and can better understand their role within the team resulting in higher performance, motivation, and productivity.
Example of honest behavior in practice
Leaders practicing honesty can identify their weaknesses or mistakes. They keep all employees in the loop regarding all things organization-related (good and bad). By setting this example of honesty, other team members can follow suit.
Influential leaders must possess strong decision-making skills because they have an ultimate say in the big decisions. They cannot hesitate or falter in their choices and must make decisions with precision and confidence. When leaders exhibit confident decisiveness and can hold themselves accountable for the outcomes of their choices, they also help build trust amongst their people. If they don't, they risk losing the faith of their team or looking weak in their role.
Example of decisive behavior in practice
A decisive leader can efficiently gather information, weigh the pros and cons of each decision, assess risk, and make their decisions intentionally and mindfully. While they certainly won't rush into a decision, they understand the importance of being swift and precise when making them.
Communication is one of the most impactful practices for a strong team. Leaders themselves must be communicative to set the tone for others. Open communication can contribute to a more trusting environment, allowing employees to voice their concerns, admit to their mistakes, ask for help, and collaborate more effectively. When leaders lack communication skills, followers will likely misunderstand the vision or feel that their work is undervalued or unnoticed.
Example of communicative behavior in practice
Communicative leaders prioritize connecting with their employees. They welcome two-way feedback, clearly define goals and expectations, and encourage employees to share their opinions and ideas. Because they are constantly engaging in dialogue with their employees, everyone can clearly visualize their role and how it contributes to organizational goals.
Great leadership must be confident-- in their decisions, vision, role, goals, and roadmaps. Confident leaders motivate their followers towards a common goal and can inspire others in their vision. Without confidence, leaders may appear weak, indecisive, or even obsolete in the eyes of their people. If a leader is not confident, it can cause others to undermine their authority or question their decisions. Leadership simply does not exist without confidence.
Example of confident behavior in practice
A confident leader is secure in their decisions, ideas, and visions; they understand their actions' impact on their team and have a deep understanding of how to best support their organization and people. They face challenges head-on and do not shy away from difficult conversations that serve the greater good. As a result, their employees are committed to their mission and trust their position.
5. Gives constructive feedback
Constructive feedback is crucial in a team, as it encourages growth and transparency. Being a leader is also about being able to build up others and guide them on the path of success; to do so, leaders must be able to assess the performance of their employees and provide feedback in an actionable way that best supports them and their abilities. This type of feedback can be transformational for employees if done correctly and frequently, improving their performance, mindset, and workplace satisfaction.
Example of constructive feedback behavior in practice
In the workplace, a leader who practices constructive feedback schedules one-on-ones with employees to address, advises on any issues and provides guidance and direction. They also may check in with employees from time to time, remaining up to speed on any problems or potential areas of improvement. Constructive feedback includes clearly defined and actionable insights and is given in a supportive manner rather than critically.
6. Recognizes employee achievements
Great leaders mustn't neglect the impact employee recognition and appreciation has on overall team performance. Employees that feel valued in their roles and appreciated for their accomplishments are likely more motivated and committed to continuing a job well done. When employees feel that their hard work goes unnoticed, they may begin to question their impact on the organization or the point in their work.
Example of employee recognition behavior in practice
Employee recognition can be as small as a "thank you" acknowledging their contribution or as large as a monetary reward or other incentives. Don't underestimate the effect that simple words of affirmation may have on an employees' willingness to perform-- even just acknowledging a job well done or celebrating their annual milestones with the company can boost engagement and morale.
7. Addresses issues early
Good leadership takes action immediately and early on rather than allowing issues to fester just below the surface before reaching their boiling point. To lead effectively, one must possess excellent communication, conflict resolution, and problem-solving skills-- all of which are necessary to address issues effectively. In business or elsewhere, leaders are faced with a myriad of problems regularly; from deadlines and budgets to interpersonal conflict and struggles, these problems must be met with the knowledge and ability to support and enable resolution and growth.
Example of addressing issues early behavior in practice
As mentioned above, a great leader is communicative; they are also in tune with their team and any issues that arise. If and when problems come up, they understand what they represent and their impact on the organization; they also possess the wisdom and knowledge to best combat these issues rather than hiding from them. Rather than being fearful of conflict, leaders who address issues early on view conflict as an opportunity to improve and grow.
8. Inspires and motivates others
To get people on board with the vision and committed towards common goals, leaders must inspire and motivate them to follow. If a leader lacks influence, the foundation on which they stand is weakened, and their employees may be unfocused, complacent, or unwilling to follow. A leader is often an innovative visionary-- but all of those big ideas mean nothing if they cannot inspire the people around them to believe in them or motivate their followers to act.
Example of a motivating behavior in practice
A leader who practices a motivating behavior also will exhibit an understanding of the impact their choices have on the organization. They orientate their messaging and goals in a way that resonates with and excites their people. A motivating leader also understands the importance of employee development and continuously encourages people to work towards their potential.
9. Develops others
Leading is about more than simply setting an example or inspiring others towards your vision. Great leaders make the development of others a priority-- they genuinely care about their people, want them to succeed, and provide them with the tools, resources, and guidance to make it happen. A leader that prioritizes the development of others is also able to motivate and inspire towards action and result. Added bonus: when leaders prioritize leadership development for themselves and other team members, valuing the potential and growth of all.
Example of coaching behavior in practice
When demonstrating an interest in the development of others, leaders often will make it a point to check in frequently, be open to concerns and feedback, and offer guidance and support. From their position, they are knowledgeable and communicative, willing to provide clearly defined goals and guidance in the employee's best interest.
Great leaders are often innovative, with big-picture goals and little fear of the unknown. They often welcome new approaches, creative ideas, and positive change. They also embrace their team's different skill sets and abilities, as each has something unique to contribute to the overall goals. They typically cultivate a work environment that nurtures and encourages creativity amongst other team members.
Example of innovative behavior in practice
In practice, an innovative leader will often ask "What if?" rather than relying on tried and true methods. These leaders bring value to an organization in the form of creative and novel ideas. They probably utilize frequent brainstorming sessions and open communication with others to foster their ideal, creative workplace.
Our key takeaways on effective leadership behaviors and attitudes:
The bottom line, a team is only as good as its leader. When the behaviors of leaders don't measure up, the rest of the team's abilities will also fail to meet and exceed expectations. Strong leadership attitudes and behaviors shape company culture and empower employees towards high-performance and motivate them towards the common goal. Successful leaders must prioritize understanding how their actions and behaviors influence and guide their teams and always look for ways to improve.
To understand the strengths and weaknesses of themselves and their team members, leaders should make it a point to connect and engage with their people. Leaders can delegate more effectively and facilitate a more close-knit work environment when they can identify strengths, motivations, and working styles. By taking advantage of personality frameworks such as DISC, leaders can gain perspective, insights, and understanding of their employees much quicker.
Learn how your team members' communication and working styles, motivations, strengths, and weaknesses are influenced by their unique personality types. Crystal Teams gives managers the ability to facilitate more productive one-on-ones, conflict resolution, and task delegation.