Learning Successful Behaviours

Monday, April 3 2017
LeadByExampleRecently I was asked to write a letter for a one-year-old to open when she turns 18. My task was to share thoughts and advice that would benefit her when she reached that stage of her life. This request started me thinking about how much knowledge surrounds us and how much we absorb unconsciously. Adults, as well as children, can assimilate behaviours; and I believe that how leaders behave with others is very important to the culture of the organization.

Many behaviours support success in an organization but here are a few that I believe differentiate superior leaders. How often are you exhibiting them?


Authentic leaders are real and genuine. You always know where you stand with them. They are never perceived as “being political.” Authentic leaders bring out the best in others.


When you truly care about people and not just the bottom-line, you ensure they receive guidance, support, and coaching to be successful. That doesn’t mean the bottom-line is not important; but when individuals are cared for and find satisfaction at work they feel valued. The Hay Group’s research suggests that employees who feel valued will be 30% more productive; the bottom-line will automatically be their focus.


Poor communication is one of the most common complaints employees make about their organization. There are many important aspects of communication to consider. It will go a long way to help people feel more positive if you:

  • Become skilled at asking the right open-ended, non-directive questions
  • Listen so that you understand the responses
  • Set clear expectations early – there is nothing worse than spending hours completing a task only to discover the outcome was different from what the leader expected


There is so much to be gained by providing honest and timely constructive feedback. Whether it is about areas for development, recognizing successes or ensuring credit is given to those who actually performed the work. It is key to deal upfront and openly with issues.


Clarify the goal or end point of a project or plan. It is much easier to focus energy, set clear expectations and make decisions if you are able to work toward something concrete.

Think about the three best leaders you have ever experienced, whether a co-worker, a little league coach, or perhaps a parent. What did they do that made a difference?  What did you take away from those relationships? Did they display traits you wish you had now?

It is never too late to make a change or learn new skills.

All leaders are role models who influence the working climate and learned behaviours of others. If you want to change the organization’s culture look first at changing yourself. If your goal is to have happy, productive, and engaged individuals on your team then cultivate those behaviours that contribute to a positive working environment. Ensure that the behaviours they learn from their leader promote success.