Disclaimer: We sometimes use affiliate links in our content, meaning, at no additional cost to you, we will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. For more information, visit our Disclaimer Page.
Every day, we are faced with decisions that require leadership. Sometimes, the decision is big, like whether or not to declare war. Other times the decision might be smaller, like what to wear to work.
Leaders make these decisions by using their behaviors to influence those around them. There are many different leadership behaviors, but some of the most important include setting goals, providing direction, and motivating.
For leaders to be effective, they need to know which behaviors work best for them and use them accordingly. By doing so, they can inspire others to achieve great things.
What is leadership behavior?
Leadership behavior, or leader effectiveness in a work setting, has been a popular subject in organizational psychology since the 1960s. In 1977, Bernard M Bass developed his model of leadership effectiveness. This model describes how effective leaders influence followers and shows five distinct features that leaders must have to be effective: legitimate power, expert power, inspirational power, referent power, and coercive power.
This model has been expanded into one that includes seven steps of leader behavior to accommodate the role of followers in leadership effectiveness. One key point is that leaders are neither inherently good nor bad. Instead, an individual’s behavior changes depending on their environment, especially the behavior of those around them.
Leader and follower behavior and their effects on each other contribute to overall group effectiveness. However, the interplay between leaders and followers is complex, often resulting in a nonlinear dynamic where the impact leader behavior will have on follower performance varies depending on circumstances or interactions at hand.
Related: Theory of Leadership
Why are effective leadership behaviors important?
Leadership skills are critical to becoming someone who can inspire and direct others to achieve organizational objectives. Also, Leadership behaviours are crucial for achieving these goals. It is how one interacts with their staff. It helps generate trust from those being led and empowers others.
Through this empowerment, a social relationship is built, which furthers teamwork. A complete understanding of the different types of effective leadership behaviors is needed to lead an organization efficiently.
According to leading experts in organizational behavior, five categories make up good leadership skills: task behaviors, relationship-oriented work behaviors, supportive work behavior, decision making and problem-solving behavior, and development-related behaviors.
Behavioral theories propose that these five categories are the different types of effective leadership skills that form the core of good behavior or leadership traits.
15 most effective leadership behaviors
To be successful as a leader, there are certain behaviors that you need to incorporate into your personality and practice daily. If you want to become the best leader you can be, you must learn what those behaviors are and achieve them.
Leaders make dozens of decisions that impact their team’s motivation and drive daily. Whether it’s a procedural decision or a big strategy call, each is an opportunity to inspire employees and enhance productivity.
Although everyone has a unique leadership style, some common behaviors are present in all great leaders. There is no single leadership style; however, here is a list of 15 key behaviors to avoid poor leadership.
1. Leaders listen more than they speak
Most people can tell when someone isn’t listening to them; others don’t seem to care if they’ve heard or waited until the other person has finished speaking before they start talking again. So the best leaders ask questions and encourage dialogue for everyone to get on the same page and move forward constructively.
2. They remain positive when communicating with others
Leaders need to be upbeat when communicating with their teams, whether it’s encouragement during times of hardship or a call to action during the good times. Likewise, employees want some form of reassurance that everyone will make it through hard times together.
3. They are open-minded
Great leaders are open to new ideas, even if those ideas come from individuals who aren’t “key players” on the team. They work hard to be fair and understand different perspectives that may differ from their own. This can help them discover new ideas or solutions that they would have never thought of before – but might be beneficial in the future.
4. Leaders hold themselves accountable for mistakes made
This is one-way employees know their leader is authentic — admitting that they are not perfect and have made mistakes. They don’t blame others or try to shift the blame. According to Gino Wickman, author of “Escape from the Drama Triangle.”
5. They show appreciation
Employees want to know that they are valued for their contributions, even if it’s just accepting “thank yous” graciously instead of brushing them off with a dismissive response. When leaders show appreciation regularly, everyone feels better about their work, which naturally boosts morale throughout the company.
6. When pointing out errors in performance, leaders give helpful feedback
Employees want criticism rather than insults when it comes to constructive criticism. The best leaders are objective in assessing the work they review and keep emotions out of it when explaining what needs improvement. Even if an employee has made one small mistake, the leader should provide corrective feedback immediately instead of waiting until the end of a project or evaluation period.
7. They let employees take risks
This doesn’t mean that managers need to abdicate control or management over their team’s activities entirely, but they do need to trust them enough to give them autonomy most of the time. Of course, there will always be times when there is no room for error, which is why embracing risk-taking in some cases is smart leadership. Employees feel more confident taking chances when they know their leader has their backs, even if the results are sometimes unpredictable.
8. Good leaders communicate efficiently
They practice clear communication daily – with the entire team and each team member where appropriate. They speak in ways that all levels of an organization can understand, so everyone is on the same page and knows exactly what is expected of them at all times. However, if things need to be explained too often or there’s confusion about specific topics, it could be a sign that better communication techniques need to be implemented throughout the company.
9. They understand the value of teamwork
When there are projects to be completed – especially when deadlines are involved – leaders need to ensure that their team members work together for everything to get done on time. This doesn’t mean that employees can’t collaborate with other teams or individuals, but they should look out for one another and find ways to help each other if necessary. Great leaders know how important it is for employees to feel part of a larger group to still excel at their jobs even if some obstacles come up along the way.
Related: Team Leadership Style
10. Leaders delegate tasks
A successful leader ensures that everyone has more than enough work, so all hands are on deck whenever possible – not just during busy periods or critical stages in specific projects. If employees always feel overwhelmed, it can be challenging to produce their best work.
Delegating effectively means not only knowing which workers are capable of doing what (and motivating them accordingly) but also allocating tasks in a way that ensures projects get completed on time without causing burnout.
11. They share information openly
Ideally, for great leadership, an individual knows employees should never have to “snoop” or “steal” whenever they want information about certain aspects of the business (such as upcoming events or milestones).
Information may come in different forms – written memos, emails, verbal discussions, etc. – but these days, it’s even easier to share articles and updates through social media platforms or other online avenues where everyone can access it easily.
12. They are transparent about company decisions
When leaders make critical changes to personnel or policies, they let their employees know immediately instead of keeping them in the dark for days after the fact. This allows everyone to understand better why specific actions are being taken and how it impacts them in concrete ways – especially when there are negative aspects involved that need to be faced head-on. Employees appreciate transparency more than just about anything else because it shows they’re valued members of the team who deserve fair treatment at all times.
13. Leaders don’t expect miracles from their workers
While good leaders do hold employees accountable for what they get done and how quickly or efficiently they can get tasks completed, it means managers should constantly complain about how employees are “falling short” whenever they don’t meet every single target. Instead of thinking about what they’re not getting done, leaders should recognize their workers’ strengths and focus on harnessing that potential to the fullest extent possible.
14. They aren’t afraid to delegate critical tasks
When employees are overwhelmed – or when specific individuals have too many responsibilities piled onto their plates – it’s okay for leaders to take charge of particular activities for everyone else to stay focused on what needs to be done at any given time. This is especially useful when deadlines are approaching fast and stress levels run high because these employees expect everything without much guidance from managers.
15. Leaders rely on feedback more than punishment
A good leader knows that rewarding employees for a job well done is always a more effective strategy than making up for their shortcomings with punishments.
They also value feedback from their direct reports and other key stakeholders because it helps them understand where they succeeded and where they need to improve to get better results in the future.
So that’s it. All the listed above are some of the best key leadership behaviors are followed by successful leaders.
How to build effective leadership behaviors?
Effective leadership behavior lies at the core of successful business and management. It involves a person’s ability to lead and includes many other components such as integrity, strong work ethic, commitment to excellence, and a high level of motivation.
Like any other skill or character trait developed in an individual, it is essential to note that developing effective leadership behaviors starts from within.
7 ways to build effective leadership behaviors
1. Identify your purpose in life – The basis of all effective leadership behaviors starts with the will to lead and the desire to change oneself. Every successful leader must have a strong sense of purpose. This will able you to discover why you want to be a leader.
Do not get distracted by other people’s reasons or motives for becoming leaders; find out why you think you can make a difference. Then, once you find your calling, commit yourself 100% of the way towards pursuing it.
2. Be self-assured about your stand on some issues – Authenticity matters when it comes to effective leadership behavior; this would mean adhering strictly to one’s principles and opinions even though it goes against the grain.
To be effective in leadership, you need to have self-confidence and stand firm on your beliefs. You might be challenged or attacked by other people for not doing things their way, but this should not make you waiver away from what you know is right.
3. Be consistent – Consistency is also one of the core components necessary to build up effective leadership behavior, which means being consistent with what you say and do at all times. Always strive towards serving others through your actions no matter how big or small the task may seem; it could also mean simply taking time to listen to someone’s problem. If ever there are deviations from your set standard, take ownership and responsibility in them so as not to leave room for misinterpretations.
4. Be inclusive – One of the most important skills you can possess ineffective leadership behavior is to be inclusive and gain people’s trust so that they would willingly follow your lead. Recognizing other people’s uniqueness, strengths and contributions will go a long way towards building your credibility as a leader. In addition, the more you learn about others’ perspectives, the easier it becomes for you to form personal relationships, which are essential in attaining their loyalty and commitment.
5. Have self-assurance – For an effective leader, faith in themselves is crucial because it would motivate them to persevere during challenges and adversities; it enhances self-confidence, making them believe that they could overcome any obstacles ahead with ease despite all odds. Also, every successful leader has strong self-awareness.
6. Be approachable – As a leader, your willingness to listen can make or break your effectiveness in leading others; it makes people feel that you care about what they say. Make sure to ask questions and avoid interrupting when other people share their opinions.
7. Be visible – Showing up at meetings, events, and other activities indicates how important you think these things are; showing presence shows that you take leadership roles seriously, reflecting well on who you are as a person and your leadership skills.
The journey to becoming a better leader starts with you. Always take the time to reflect on how different situations have affected who you are today and what kind of leader you would like to be tomorrow. Everyone has flaws, but good leaders realize that they can improve upon themselves for future success through awareness.
Becoming an effective leader means manifesting leadership behaviors at all times in different kinds of situations. It also involves having the willingness and courage to make personal sacrifices for the goals of your team/organization could be attained effectively and efficiently; this is especially true during times when opinions differ from one another, which might result in conflicts or problems within the group dynamics. All these contribute towards building effective leadership behavior and skills.
Related: 5 Levels of Leadership
In this blog post, we explored the different leadership behaviors and how they can influence those around us. Many people find it challenging to be a leader to know which behavior works best for them in what situation.
By becoming aware of these things, leaders are more effective at their jobs because they know which type of behavior will work most effectively with who or what they’re leading towards achieving goals. But, of course, we want you to be successful as a leader too!