Five behaviours that can make you a better leader

Five behaviours that can make you a better leader

What makes a great leader? Charisma? Confidence? Charm? That certain something you can’t quite put your finger on?

We all know them though, don’t we? Those people who take charge of a situation, surging forward while everyone else follows happily along in their wake.

But what if people aren’t ‘born’ leaders? What if leadership is a set of behaviours you can teach and learn? And what if everyone can benefit from demonstrating leadership behaviours, whether they’re the MD or trainee?

Leadership behaviours

Decades of research by Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner, who studied the behaviour of thousands of ordinary people – not just managers – led them to identify patterns of behaviour that we call good leadership. They distilled these behaviours into The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership®.

Importantly, Kouzes and Posner went on to prove that people who employ these behaviours are more effective and successful than those who do not.

So what makes a great leader?

The great thing about Kouzes and Posner’s research is that they turned the mystical concept of ‘leadership’ into a set of practices and behaviours that can be taught and learned. They discovered that good leaders demonstrate the following behaviours:

1.       Model the Way

Leaders create standards of excellence and set a good example for others. They break down ultimate goals into smaller steps that give opportunities for their peers to achieve wins along the way. They help remove barriers and guide people through uncertainty.

2.       Inspire a Shared Vision

Leaders have passion and believe that they can make a difference. They create an image of what the future could be and instil belief in others that these goals are possible to achieve.

3.       Challenge the Process

Leaders are innovative and not afraid to take risks in pursuit of improvement. They experiment and are prepared to make mistakes along the way. They see set-backs not as failures but as learning opportunities.

4.       Enable Others to Act

Leaders are collaborative. They involve others and create an atmosphere of trust and mutual respect. By believing in other people’s abilities, leaders make each person more confident of their actions and capabilities.

5.       Encourage the Heart

Leaders keep hope and determination alive by acknowledging effort and celebrating accomplishments. Everyone shares in the rewards success brings. In Kouzes and Posner’s words: “[leaders] make people feel like heroes.”


Learning to be a great leader

At Lakeside, our programmes are designed to create situations where delegates can learn and practice leadership behaviours. Tony Ball, Programme Operations Manager said:

“Time and again we see people, who can be quiet and unassuming, start to demonstrate these behaviours and emerge as confident leaders. It reinforces our belief that leadership is about how you think and behave, rather than personality.”

It doesn’t matter whether you’re in charge of a team of 1 or 100; having people who can lead effectively at all levels of an organisation can turn a good business into a great business.

Find out how our Leadership Capability programme can equip your talented people with the skills and behaviours they need to become great leaders. Call 01539 539000 or email

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