What Leadership Behaviours are needed?

Having introduced Employee Engagement in the first few posts of this series (start at part 1 if you’ve missed them), part 4 looked at the Leadership Skills required to create Employee Engagement. In this post, we look at the Leadership Behaviours that allow a Leader to create an environment conducive to Employee Engagement.

Firstly, what do we mean by Leadership Behaviours? Put simply, these are the behaviours, attitudes, (ways of being), that make the difference in the relationships that a leader has. As with Leadership Skills, they are ones which leave the relationships improved.

There are many behaviours which positively impact relationships; the following are the ones which I consider to be the main ones.

Key Leadership Behaviours are:

Valuing People – one of the fundamental Leadership Behaviours, and the one which will make everything else flow, is that of valuing people. With this Leaders do not make the same mistake that many of us make: valuing people based on their performance or output, or even worse, based on how easy or difficult they are to handle. Leaders have the ability to Value people as people. This then means that every interaction they have, demonstrates this valuing. From acknowledging their contribution, to addressing performance issues, it is all more effective if the Leader values the person.

Respect – managers often look for respect from their staff. However, it is clear to me that respect is something you get back. Therefore, when you respect people, the interactions you have with them will continually demonstrate that respect.

Trust – when I ask managers if they trust their people, I often get the answer “most of them” or “the ones that are trustworthy”. However, when you don’t trust people, your relationship is based on this lack of trust; the things you do and they way you do them communicates that you don’t trust. When you intrinsically trust your people, everything you do communicates this. Therefore, similar to respect, the way to have people trust you, is to trust them.

Responsibility – using Stephen Covey’s wider view of responsibility, Leaders look at an outcome and see the part they played in that outcome. If communication is not working, they see the problem as them not communicating effectively. When the result they get is not the one they want, they look for the things they have done (or not done) that contributed to the outcome. This behaviour, more than any, means that leaders always find a different way to be, or thing to try, in order to get the results they want.

Visionary/Inspirational – Leaders have an ability to know where it is they are going, and describe that place in a way that inspires others to go there. Possibly two behaviours, to me they are very closely linked. Leaders are clear on the desired destination; when they describe this destination, they use language which has people genuinely feel what it will be like to be there. This inspires people and generates the Creative Pull that results in an aligned drive towards the future.

There are other behaviours which are important, however these 5 are the core behaviours that, coupled with Leadership Skills, create an environment where people will choose to become engaged. These behaviours result in people having loyalty to their leaders; people find them approachable and want to work for them. These behaviours, and the skills that go with them, create followers. And remember, to paraphrase the West Wing: “A Leader without followers, is just someone going for a walk“.

What do you think? Do you have these behaviours? Do you see them in your leaders? Are there more important ones? Join the discussion by commenting.

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Next time we look at what process will help.