The 25 Most Important Leadership Behaviors

Recently, I reviewed a number of leadership competency lists in order to make a recommendation for a company that was interested in updating their competency mandate for leaders. There are a number of good lists out there, including Michael Lombardo and Robert Eichinger’s list of 67 competencies (The Leadership Machine, 2001).  Leadership may be a complex animal, but it certainly has been well examined and classified.

Anyway, all of these competencies lists got me to thinking about what a list of “leadership behaviors” might look like. You see, most competency lists include a collection of traits like courage, compassion, technical skills, intelligence, etc.  Critical terms, to be sure – but they read as a list of characteristics leaders need as opposed to a list of what leaders actually do. If you take all of the traits and characteristics and bundle them together, you could potentially generate a list of what leaders do on the job, not just what it takes to be a leader.  So naturally, I had to take a stab at it…here’s what I came up with:

The 25 Most Important Leadership Behaviors

  1. Being a Role Model for Integrity & Ethics
  2. Demonstrating Optimism & Positive Energy
  3. Learning the Business
  4. Establishing a Vision & Mission
  5. Setting Strategy & Priorities
  6. Hiring Great Talent
  7. Creating a Culture of Customer Focus
  8. Building High Performance Teams
  9. Motivating & Inspiring Others
  10. Delegating & Empowering
  11. Listening
  12. Communicating
  13. Driving for Results
  14. Managing & Evaluating Performance
  15. Coaching & Developing Talent
  16. Managing Complexity & Ambiguity
  17. Managing Your Time
  18. Evaluating Risk
  19. Resolving Conflict
  20. Driving Innovation
  21. Influencing Others
  22. Collaborating Across the Organization
  23. Demonstrating Passion for Your Work
  24. Being a Champion for Work/Life Balance
  25. Keeping Things in Perspective (Humility & Gratitude)

I could have added 1 more – Managing Your Boss – but I like lists of 25 (Top 26 doesn’t have the same ring to it). Let me know what you think – what did I miss? What would you add or remove? And do you think this way of representing the leader’s skill set will ever replace the standard competency list?