Effective leadership behaviors are the traits, skills, and actions that set great leaders apart from satisfactory managers. They’re the behaviors that determine whether a body of employees are inspired by their management or disheartened by them and their presence, or lack thereof, is often the determining factor in whether a company will sink or swim.
The good news is that while some leadership qualities can be innate, such as charisma, humidity, and a sense of humor, almost all other traits such as problem-solving, work ethic, and patience can be learned.
In the same way that good leaders yield good results, great leaders inspire greatness - it’s a fact. Organizations thrive on leaders who thrive by example and use their leadership qualities to inspire others, even when times are hard. In this article, we’re going to examine the things you can do to leave a positive impact among your team members, inspire retention, and above all else, thrive.
So if you’re an HR executive who is looking for ways to finesse your top-level management or an aspiring leader, you’ve come to the right place. We’re here to help.
When you think of great leaders such as Barack Obama, Mary Robinson, or Nelson Mandela, it might be difficult to imagine them before their success. They all just seem like ‘born leaders’, right? However, there was a time when each of these individuals had a lot to learn about being a motivational leader and the key leadership traits themselves.
The truth is that there is no one secret ingredient that makes a great leader. Instead, behind all great leaders lies a long, arduous journey of resilience, humility, empathy, and accountability. Very few individuals are born with the natural know-how and emotional intelligence to inspire a passionate, proactive team and consistent employee retention.
With the support, motivation, and the right principles, any individual can evolve into a powerful leader who respects and listens to their employees. The difference between good leaders and great leaders is intention.
Successful leaders don’t just embody leadership behaviors at the office, they demonstrate them in their personal lives too.
An effective leader is someone who always aims to lift others up, it isn’t someone who clocks out as soon as their shift ends or does the bare minimum. The best leaders treat their responsibilities as a round-the-clock job, so if you’re hoping to polish your leadership skillset be prepared to dedicate some serious time, effort, and energy to the cause.
Though there are countless qualities and practices that you should work on to become the best leader you can be, all strong leaders make a conscious effort to integrate the following practices into their leadership strategy.
1. Cultivating An Inspiring Vision
One of the most attractive things about being a leader is the opportunity to inspire a wonderful team to look up to you, pursue their own projects, ace their own goals, and become the very best that they can be.
Motivational leaders understand the importance of community. They are dedicated to nurturing a sense of belonging within their team and regularly checking in with and rewarding their team members on their progress.
However, in order for you to inspire and motivate your team, it’s important that you continue to nurture your own skillset so that you can cultivate an inspiring vision within your team. You have to leave some of your own glass full for you, no matter what.
Do you know when you’re on an airplane and the cabin crew advises you to secure your own mask before attending to anyone else? Well, in the case of your company, we recommend that you continue to prioritize your personal development throughout your term in leadership.
Being a fantastic leader requires you to balance your time between self-development and communal progression. It’s up to you to set the standard for your employees and that requires you to lead by example.
2. Team Development
One of the key signs of an effective leader is employee retention within their team, and the best way to enhance your retention rates is through focusing on your employee's development.
An involved manager is someone who doesn’t just take an active interest in their employee’s individual goals but incorporates them into their own personal strategy. Managers who cultivate successful relationships with their employees tend to be ones who establish a shared vision of their employee's goals and a clear, regularly revisited plan of how they intend to reach these goals.
Establishing this kind of relationship within your network is key. It cultivates steady trust and promotes an environment of continual growth and mutual respect between company tiers.
The very best leaders are able to choose employees whose personal growth objectives line up with their team's collective goals and company values. That way, the entire team is aiming to thrive in the same direction and all members feel fulfilled.
3. Strategic Thinking
While having a plan is important, embracing your mistakes is also key if you want to guide a team to success.
No matter your leadership capabilities you will undoubtedly encounter hiccups, failures, and roadblocks on your route to success. A successful leader understands that failure doesn’t define them, instead they adapt, and look at their failures as opportunities to learn and grow.
Sure, failure is disappointing, but if you want to lead a group of people to greatness, it’s important to never let it discourage you. It’s also critical that you don’t take your fear of or frustration with mistakes out on your team members, otherwise, you risk losing their trust, their respect, and ultimately, their employment. You know what they say, people don’t quit jobs, they quit managers and if you’re taking your disappointment out on your employees that’s a surefire way to make them give up on you.
Successful leaders don’t just take failure on the chin, they embrace it. They aren’t afraid of losing small battles because they understand that good leadership, and teamwork is lifelong learning processes. They use their mistakes as opportunities to further better their mindset, finesse their decision-making abilities and team culture.
4. Ethically minded
While sacrifices are sometimes necessary to help secure goals, it is never acceptable to compromise your ethics for the sake of success, particularly when you are the leader of your organization.
Strong leaders always consider the ethical consequences of their decisions and are mindful of how their actions might impact their employees. In order to achieve this, we advise you to practice and research compassionate management.
Compassionate management requires leaders to step into their employee's shoes so that they can better understand their motivations, weaknesses, and strengths. It also helps to reduce stress, anxiety, and frustration within organizations.
Only through practicing compassionate management can you make top-level decisions that aren’t only positive for you, but beneficial for your company on the whole.
5. Cross-Cultural Communication
Respected leaders are master communicators. They aren’t afraid to address any situation and understand that effective communication skills are vital to building a strong, healthy, happy team.
Although we generally see public-facing leaders at the forefront of their teams, we bet that behind the scenes they are practicing their listening skills just as much as their speaking ones. The best leaders understand that listening and being quiet are sometimes more powerful than being loud.
Effective listening requires you to truly hear where someone else is coming from. It is a skill that should be practiced regularly within your team so that your teammates understand that you’re dedicated to their feelings, goals, and dreams just as much as you are to yours.
In addition to practicing the above-mentioned leadership behaviors, it’s vital that you adopt a certain mindset if you want you and your team to thrive. Among others, successful leaders make a conscious effort to embrace the following values throughout their leadership development:
As mentioned, adopting behaviors that cultivate a culture of trustworthiness among your team is key and always necessary. Remember, while building trust might be time-consuming, losing trust can be instant.
A successful leader is a fair leader. In the same way that you should never tear down your teammate if you are a normal employee, you should always focus on communal empowerment and constructive feedback if you are a leader.
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Great leaders are adept at problem-solving. They’re keen and creative innovators who are dedicated to their craft and team and you can bet that they won’t stop until they’ve done all that hard work they can do for their employees.
As the team leader, you’re the thermometer for your team’s energy, attitude, and engagement. If you’re feeling unmotivated, it’s likely that your employees are also and if you’re feeling directionless, there’s a pretty good chance that the entire team is struggling with that too. That’s why it’s important to consistently look inward and focus on developing your leadership skills, so you can continue to improve your own abilities and thereby enhance the abilities and progression of your team.
To become a better leader, we recommend focusing on the following key areas;
Having self-confidence means that you accept yourself and have a sense on control over your life trajectory. People who suffer from low confidence often have errors in their thinking or break under pressure, that’s why having killer confidence is key if you want to be a leader.
Self-awareness refers to the ability to focus on yourself and your actions. In a professional context, having a keen sense of self-awareness is important because it means that you can interrupt your actions, feelings, and think objectively.
Having great decision-making skills means that you are adept at sieving through multiple options and choosing the one that best suits your goals and objectives. Of course, as a leader, it’s important that the option you choose doesn’t just match your personal objectives, but also the goals of your team.
Communications skills refer to the ability to convey or share feelings collectively. As a leader, having effective communication skills is key so that you cultivate a harmonious dynamic within your team.
Great leaders aren’t just capable of motivating their team in a particular moment, they’re dedicated to guiding them for seasons to come. In today’s world, that means taking charge when everything else in the landscape feels uncertain.
Although new-age leadership is not a new term, it has become increasingly important in recent times as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. It is in reference to the continual need from business leaders to nurture a sense of company culture and teamwork no matter their employee's work environment or location. Today, a great leader needs to be capable of motivating their employees remotely.
Generally speaking, there are five different types of leadership styles:
Throughout history and business, strong leadership figureheads have adopted variations of these styles to provide direction and implement plans within their teams. However, we recommend all leaders take inspiration from the participative, delegative, or transactional styles as they are most likely to promote a healthy environment for you and your employees.
Remember, a happy boss is only as happy as their most unfulfilled employee, so make sure your leadership style benefits everyone, not just you.
So that concludes our examination on leadership behaviors!
In this article, we’ve discussed the various leadership behaviors, attitudes, skills as well as examined the various ways in which you can modernize your own leadership styles. We hope that you can use it as a regular reference point to lead your team to and beyond your goals. Good luck!