4 Behaviors Account for 89% of Leadership Effectiveness

Mckinsey research* suggests 4 leadership behaviors make the difference between strong and weak leadership.

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Top 20 Leadership Behaviors:

  1. Be supportive.
  2. Champion desired change.
  3. Clarify objectives, rewards, and consequences.
  4. Communicate prolifically and enthusiastically.
  5. Develop others.
  6. Develop and share a collective mission.
  7. Differentiate among followers.
  8. Facilitate group collaboration.
  9. Foster mutual respect.
  10. Give praise.
  11. Keep groups organized and on task.
  12. Make quality decisions.
  13. Motivate and bring out the best in others.
  14. Offer a critical perspective.
  15. Operate with a strong results orientation.
  16. Recover positively from failure.
  17. Remain composed and confident in uncertainty.
  18. Role model organizational values.
  19. Seek different perspectives.
  20. Solve problems effectively.

Successful leaders engage in all 20 leadership behaviors, but four make the biggest difference in effectiveness. 

4 Behaviors Account for 89% of Leadership Effectiveness:

#1. Be supportive.

  1. Show authentic interest.
  2. Build trust.
  3. Help team members overcome challenges.

#2. Seek different perspectives.

  1. Monitor trends and patterns.
  2. Invite ideas that could improve performance.
  3. Differentiate between important and unimportant issues.

#3. Operate with strong results orientation.

  1. Follow through.
  2. Emphasize efficiency.
  3. Prioritize work that matters most.

#4. Solve problems effectively.

  1. Gather and analyze information.
  2. Make decisions.
  3. Handle disputes.

You can’t neglect any of the 20 leadership behaviors listed above. However, McKinsey’s research suggests that you would serve your organizations well if you get really good at the four that account for 89% of leadership effectiveness.

Which of the top four do you find most challenging? Why?

How might leaders demonstrate competence in the four behaviors listed above?

*Decoding Leadership: What Really Matters? Mckinsey surveyed 189,000 people from 81 organizations. This post offers a brief overview of their research.