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Early Behaviors That Are Often Linked to Leadership
Leadership coaching helps leaders develop healthy behaviors and turn them into habits. Excellence is not an act, but a habit. By developing positive behaviors (i.e., being good listeners and communicators), leaders can have positive impacts on employees and organizations.
Traits are poor predictors of leadership inclinations and future success. Instead of traits, leadership coaching specialists and researchers look at leadership-related behaviors.
Executive coaching instills leadership facilitating behaviors in clients. Cementing these behaviors into habits makes them second nature for leaders. That’s what leadership coaching professionals seek to accomplish.
How do behaviors reveal someone’s leadership inclinations and “talent?”
Our behaviors define us to a significant degree.
Psychologists use two fundamental characteristics to define humans: personality and behaviors. Personality is trait-related; behaviors, less so. Unlike our traits and personalities, we shape our behaviors relatively easily. That’s what executive coaching exploits to help leaders develop into better versions of themselves.
What leadership behaviors do business coaching professionals find relevant? How can we use behavioral analysis to predict leadership success?
Researchers have discovered two broad categories of behaviors that have relevant impacts on leadership:
- Task-oriented behaviors define how leaders work with reports to accomplish something. Leaders provide employees with instructions, define and communicate expectations, set roles, and try to encourage and improve productivity.
- People-oriented behaviors focus on the well-being of employees. People-oriented leaders go out of their way to provide necessary material and moral support to teams. They seek to empower, motivate, and inspire. They actively listen to reports’ concerns and ensure they understand that their input matters.
Both sets of leadership behaviors have their advantages and disadvantages. Their effectiveness depends on the circumstances under which leaders engage in them.
Task-oriented behaviors may be more effective for boosting productivity in smaller organizations. In larger ones, an overabundance of task-oriented leadership behaviors can cause employee burnout. Under these circumstances, people-oriented leadership behaviors yield better results.
Let’s look at some desirable leadership behaviors that can help leaders accomplish their most relevant objectives:
- Employee retention
- The boosting of productivity
- The development of future leaders
Leaders’ perceived and real approachability hinges on their communication skills. Approachable leaders are good active listeners and know how to engage reports in meaningful dialogues.
When relevant feedback flows back and forth, employees feel their opinions and input matter. They’re meaningful contributors to common efforts and feel encouraged to develop psychological ownership of organizational goals and values.
There is no trust without honesty. As I’ve pointed out in my leadership coaching books and posts, trust is the hard currency of effective, intelligent leadership.
Honesty creates an environment of psychological safety at the workplace. It allows people to shed their fears and contribute to the best of their abilities.
Employees expect confident and trust-inspiring decisions from leaders. Strong, confident leaders can use their decision-making skills to build trust with their reports and increase efficiency.
Leading by Example
Intelligent leaders practice what they preach. If there are tasks that requires the team to stay longer, leaders should work shoulder-to-shoulder with employees. Having mastered the leadership behaviors their organizations require, leaders must then model them to employees.
Leading by example is the most genuine form of leadership.
Employees are more likely to rally around leaders who hold themselves to the same standards as reports.
Addressing Individual Needs of Employees
People-oriented, self-aware, and emotionally intelligent leaders are aware of the needs of those around them. In addition to addressing the needs of the team as a whole, such leaders are sensitive to the individual needs of team members.
This level of caring inspires trust, loyalty, and respect in employees. Working for a leader that’s ready to meet one’s individual needs motivates people and inspires them to take on more responsibilities and go beyond the call of duty.
Positive leadership behaviors have the power to transform organizations from top to bottom. This is how business coaching makes its impact. Under the right circumstances, positive leadership behaviors trickle down and trigger positive effects in many different ways on every organizational level.