Some leaders achieve wild success, while others are plagued by mistakes and failures. Usually, behavior — not personality — is the determining factor. So what are the characteristics of effective leadership behavior?
But we’ve found that the most effective leadership behaviors have little to do with these kinds of personal habits.
Over the years, our Consultants have used a number of assessment tools to help organizations hire and develop their talent. Through our more than 60 years in business, we’ve found that these 12 leadership behaviors can be tied to better selection and promotion decisions.
12 Characteristics of Effective Leadership Behavior
- Q4 leaders analyze issues effectively. Effective leaders solve problems with speed, objectivity, and creativity. They traffic in information and facts, not illusion and politics.
- Q4 leaders know the business. Successful leaders understand their business and industry trends beyond the organization. This knowledge fuels better decision-making and better organization of resources.
- Q4 leaders inspire people. Effective leaders seem to have abundant commitment, passion, energy, and charisma. But inspiration doesn’t need to be a lofty ideal. Sometimes, setting a good example and working on self-improvement is enough to motivate others.
- Q4 leaders provide coaching and feedback. Leaders can’t empower others without sufficient coaching and feedback. Effective leaders work with their direct reports to help develop their full potential.
- Q4 leaders empower others. Executives who try to do everything themselves won’t achieve all of their goals. Successful leaders are skilled delegators who respect and rely on their team.
- Q4 leaders model professionalism. Successful leaders maintain credibility by demonstrating professional behavior — especially when they might be tempted to act otherwise. Professional behavior garners respect.
- Q4 leaders promote teamwork. With corporate culture’s renewed emphasis on teamwork, leaders who communicate goals, share knowledge, support others, and respect everyone’s talents have become even more valuable.
- Q4 leaders show vision. Successful leaders aren’t just concerned with current events and daily operations. They also foresee future opportunities, develop plans, and communicate the vision clearly to their team and clients.
- Q4 leaders value people. Respect and concern are as important as professionalism. Successful leaders tend to be sensitive to individuals’ needs, and to value people in general.
- Q4 leaders communicate effectively. Effective leaders share information in a way that’s easily understood by others — and are just as interested in listening to what others have to say.
- Q4 leaders handle challenges well. Being able to manage change is a valuable skill. When effective leaders face a crisis, flexibility, perseverance, and a calm demeanor can all contribute to long-term success.
- Q4 leaders get results. It sounds obvious: What defines success, other than results? But effective leaders stimulate the right kinds of results. They distinguish between important and unimportant tasks, seize opportunities, and tackle problems head-on.
A 360° survey can help determine which behaviors come easily to you — and which ones could use further development. You’ll receive feedback and evaluations of your day-to-day behavior from your boss, peers, direct reports, and others.
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