10 Key Leadership Behaviors for Effective Leaders

Updated June 30, 2023

Adopting positive leadership behavior can motivate your team to be more effective and increase its ability to reach goals. These behaviors also help you to retain top talent within your department, as team members may value the opportunity to work alongside you. Learning how to behave like a leader can have a direct effect on your ability to generate revenue for your employer and achieve organizational success. 

In this article, we discuss why leadership behaviors are so essential within an organization and share some simple steps you can take to develop your own effective leadership behavior.

What is leadership behavior?

Leadership behavior refers to the traits and actions that make an individual effective as a leader. This behavior is the process by which a person can guide, direct and influence the work of others to meet specific goals. Leaders can learn these actions and strategies to increase the effectiveness of those around them. Individuals use these behaviors to motivate people into action when they have a vision for an organization, a product or a group of people.

Related: How To Be a Good Boss: 10 Ways To Be a Great Leader

Why are effective leadership behaviors important?

Good leadership behaviors are crucial to becoming someone who inspires and leads people to maximize efficiency and achieve the goals of the organization. Leadership behaviors are essential to:

  • Increase the productivity of a team: Consistent leadership can motivate a team to greater performance.

  • Retain people: Employees are less likely to leave if they receive great leadership and mentorship in their current roles.

  • Nurture future leaders: Leadership behaviors are integral to developing and nurturing future leaders within an organization.

Related: 10 Common Leadership Styles (Plus How To Find Your Own)

How to demonstrate effective leadership behaviors:

Here's a list of ways you can behave like a leader:

1. Be honest

Honesty helps to create a work environment that feels fair and open. Employees may be more likely to trust your decisions and trust you with their problems if they feel that you are honest with them. Following through on your words and commitments is also an essential component of honest leadership.

Related: Manager Areas for Improvement (With Tips)

2. Be confident in your decisions

Making decisions swiftly and confidently is one of your primary duties as a leader. By practicing this behavior, your team can develop trust in your decision-making abilities. This can also allow you to increase your efficiency when time is an essential resource.

Related: Learn About Organizational Leadership and Its Components

3. Be approachable

Work to keep lines of communication open so that your team feels like they can talk to you. Display active listening skills to encourage communication, such as asking open-ended questions and being attentive while the employee speaks. Keep your employees informed by communicating with them regularly about decisions and what is happening within the team and organization.

Related: 9 Ways To Help and Support Colleagues at Work

4. Provide objective feedback

Let your team know what you expect of them and how they can improve. You can do this positively with a focus on educating employees rather than punishing them. You can conduct corrections privately so as not to embarrass team members. Create a positive, trusting relationship by identifying what the employee is doing correctly and suggesting ways they could do better.

Related: 8 Ways to Teach Leadership Skills to Students and Employees

5. Lead by example

Hold yourself to the same standards as employees. If your team is required to stay late, stay late with them. If your team wants to reach a particular goal, you may consider making it a goal that you can also attain. While delegating is an essential skill that leaders often possess, your team may appreciate it when you can work alongside them toward a common objective.

Related: How To Communicate Expectations To Employees

6. Create a reward program for staff members

Publicly recognize the achievements and milestones of each team member. When employees feel as though their accomplishments receive appreciation, they are more likely to work towards new goals and achievements. Having a reward program in place helps motivate employees to reach individual and team objectives. Even a simple thank you to staff members for their efforts is a way to show appreciation and encourage employees to continue to do their best.

Related: What Is Innovative Leadership?

7. Change how you approach your work

Becoming an effective leader is a skill that you can practice daily. One way to start the process of becoming a leader and being recognized as someone with strong leadership behavior is to change the way you think. People who wish to become leaders can redefine their job duties. Consider what you could do in addition to your typical tasks to help your team, department or organization. The goal is to be proactive with your work and find a way to contribute meaningfully.

To begin to implement these new behaviors, start with just two actions you can do that display leadership. For example, you could notice and recognize the achievements of your peers or any staff members that you supervise and provide positive and objective feedback on how to improve. Actively focus on two leadership behaviors until they come naturally to you. Then identify two more leadership behaviors and incorporate them into your daily routine until they become a natural part of your leadership style.

8. Address potential issues before they become problems

By closely monitoring your team, you may be able to notice areas that have the potential to develop into a problem. If there is a lag in productivity, for example, you may recognize the issue and be able to take corrective action before it becomes a larger problem. This can help you improve the overall productivity of your team and help you maintain constant communication with your team about their performance. 

Related: How To Be a Good Manager and Leader (With Tips)

9. Pay attention to the needs of individual employees and try to meet them

In addition to monitoring your team members for potential issues, you can also note what their individual needs are. Some people may work better with minimal supervision, while others may find they work best when presented with a challenging variety of tasks. When you know what each individual needs, you can try to meet those needs and gain the respect of your team. This can improve motivation and job satisfaction.

Related: Functional Leadership Model: Key Components

10. Encourage creativity by keeping lines of communication open

Allow and encourage people to approach you with their ideas. When your team knows they can talk to you about potential changes and ways to improve the work environment, you are more likely to discover their creative solutions. For example, someone may have a suggestion on how to make a task more efficient.

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