9 Key Leadership Behaviors Effective Leaders Need to Have

CoachHub · 15 November 2022 · 6 min read

If your organization is filling a leadership role, you may be wondering what behaviors to look for in an effective leader. Whether you’re promoting from within or hiring from outside your agency, the management style of the candidate you choose will impact the retention rate of your teams. Who you choose will influence workforce performance and even the success of your business. 

If you lead a team, you may be wondering how your leadership style impacts the actions and behaviors of your team. And if you’re considering leading a team, you may be wondering what attributes will make you an effective leader, or even a great leader. The answers may surprise you.

Effective leadership isn’t about being able to drive your team to work harder, commanding respect (or fear), or winning affection from your team. Great leaders have a leadership style that inspires change, innovation and inclusion in their teams.

How does leadership style affect the actions and behaviors of your workforce?

In her Ted Talk, leadership expert Roselinde Torres says that 58% of companies cite significant talent gaps for critical leadership roles. This means businesses are failing to foster good leadership behaviors despite their programs in place to do so.

The problem with this is that poor leadership is one of the top reasons employees leave. In fact, a Flex Jobs survey reveals that 68% of employees who leave because of poor management do so without having another job lined up!

The message the “Great Resignation” is sending is loud and clear: today’s workforce won’t put up with poor leadership styles in management. So what are effective leadership behaviors? Torres says businesses can uncover the answer by asking three key questions of their leadership teams:

How is your business model changing?
Effective leaders understand what trends drive business change and impact their teams. They recognize potential gaps and plan to course correct. Great leaders prepare for the future–they don’t react to it.

What is the diversity measure of your stakeholder network?
Effective leaders develop relationships with people who are very different from_them. They can connect with a diverse group and cooperate to achieve a shared goal. Great leaders surround themselves with diverse individuals who think differently.

Do you have the courage to be different?
Effective leaders are risk-takers. Leaders develop the most powerful solutions when they are able to stand up to individuals who say their ideas are irresponsible or simple-minded. Effective leaders prepare themselves for the reality of today and the unpredictability of tomorrow.

With this in mind, we’ve put together a list of key leadership behavior examples. Look for the following attributes in leaders who will shape the future, connect and cooperate with a diverse group, and take a risk.

leadership behaviors

Key leadership behaviors that help shape the future

Whether you lead a team now or are contemplating doing so, consider whether you have the attributes necessary to effectively guide your staff. If you’re hiring for a leadership role, does your candidate have what it takes to drive actions and behaviors that lead to success, improve performance, and job satisfaction? Don’t worry, if you find your leadership lacking any of the following attributes, leadership coaching can help!


Effective business leaders have their ears to the ground. They’re in tune to changes in the market and customer dynamics. They pay attention to industry trends and listen to what their teams and customers are saying. A leader with foresight is better able to predict and prepare for a pivot.


Change is inevitable, but when businesses usher in change, they also usher in anxiety. Because change impacts the status quo and one’s comfort zone, people are naturally resistant to change. Effective leaders have an attitude of adaptability and resilience that they pass on to their teams. When leaders and their teams are adaptable to change, they make a difficult business pivot not just possible but painless.

Effective Communication

The Great Resignation is a clear indication that transformation and effective leadership must go hand in hand. When business goals pivot, great leaders know that listening and collaboration are as important as clear communication. Secrecy and lack of transparency–especially around change–often leads to speculation, false assumptions and lack of trust. When teams lack clarity, misunderstandings increase, and employees jump ship.

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Key leadership behaviors that foster diversity of thought


Forbes suggests that bad leadership stems from a lack of self-awareness. Yet, according to Harvard Business Review, only 10-15% of the workforce is self-aware. When leaders cultivate this skill in the workplace, they can better predict and respond to situations that might create conflict. Additionally, self-awareness helps leaders to read a room and tune their message to non-verbal cues. This can improve company culture, and help businesses meet diversity, equality and inclusion goals.


Empathy is an extension of self-awareness that Forbes reports is a key to a diverse and inclusive workplace. Leaders who are empathetic tend to be more emotionally intelligent. They see their team members as individuals and have better listening skills. An empathetic approach to leadership removes barriers that impede an inclusive workplace culture. Not everyone has empathy, but it is a skill that can be taught through workplace coaching.


Open-mindedness is an extension of self-awareness that is key to developing diversity in the workplace. According to Washington Post surveys, 88% of employees who work at a “Top Workplace” say they work in an open-minded culture. Open-minded leaders welcome debate, fresh-perspectives and input. They encourage all opinions, even when they don’t agree with them.

effective leadership behaviors

Key leadership behaviors found in risk-takers


A survey by Visual Capitalist reveals that 72% of executives believe accountability is crucial in organizations. Yet only 31% believe that leadership accountability is demonstrated in the workplace. Accountable leaders assume the full responsibility of their risk-taking, whether the outcome meets success or failure. They foster trust in their teams and clearly communicate their results as well as their goals. This helps to align their teams and focus their efforts.

Managing for creativity

According to Harvard Business Review, an effective leader doesn’t manage creativity. Instead one manages for creativity. Managing for creativity draws on a leader’s ability to communicate clearly and approach diversity of thought with an open mind. Leaders who manage for creativity develop intuitive solutions by encouraging team members to approach a problem from different angles. But an intuitive solution is just the beginning. An effective leader must be able to map, follow-through, and bring an intuitive solution to fruition.

The ability to inspire

According to Forbes, the ability to inspire separates great leaders from average leaders. Risk-taking leaders inspire passion and engagement in their teams. Inspirational leaders clearly communicate where they are going in a way that makes their team want to join them. The ability to inspire doesn’t come naturally to everyone but it is a skill leaders can learn with coaching.

Leaders must have a coaching mindset to develop these attributes

Leaders who don’t demonstrate the above leadership skills examples can still learn to be effective leaders if they have a coaching mindset. Leadership coaching shows supervisors, managers, executives and other team leaders how to maximize their abilities to lead their teams effectively.

A strong coaching culture fosters diversity, equity and inclusion and benefits businesses with increased productivity, engagement and employee retention. CoachHub provides digital coaching services that empower average leaders to become great leaders. Our coaching services can train your leadership team to develop the attributes of great leaders and transform your organization from within. Learn how our on-demand coaching can help.

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