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  • Writer's pictureTony Richards

4 Common Leadership Behaviors & When to Use Them

First off, in today's post, let's get some clarity on what we mean when we say leadership. We define leadership as achieving extraordinary business results through people. While sports analogies are typically way overused, I will use one of mine to draw quick attention to the position I feel modern leaders are in. The same as a sports coach, the leader should have defined boundaries they cannot cross. The sports coach cannot run onto the field or the court and "do the action" for the players.

In other words, they cannot throw the pitch, hit the ball, catch the ball, tag anyone, make a pass, shoot the free throw, or make the basket. They have a defined area where they must accomplish all these actions and corresponding results through the players. If our businesses had more defined spaces like these, we would have better leaders. While this is not reality, it would serve us if we tried very hard to abide by the same paradigm as the sports one I offered. The reason is that some people are better at scoring or passing than they are at getting it done through others. Others are much better at getting it done through others than they are at executing the actions. The skillsets for each of these roles are different. Getting it done through others is a different set of skills than the one required to do it oneself.

This is why the great individuals in certain areas do not make great supervisors, because they are so accustomed to and are good at doing it themselves. To be successful, you must make the transition from a great player and executor to a great teacher and instructor. Since this transition is often a bumpy one, in today's posting, I want to point some behaviors, the manager and leader must possess in their toolkit and the situations that require them.


This behavior is exactly as the word describes. The leader becomes a "teller" rather than an "asker." Some leaders who have high-dominant behaviors become susceptible to using this leadership behavior too often because directing is so natural to them. They are very good when it comes down to telling people what to do. They have to work on pulling back on this behavior and exercising some of the more growth-oriented behaviors in this post. This behavior is useful when you are working with sub-contractors, or when work is outsourced and you have a clear picture of your outcome, and you are not counting on those folks for teamwork or support.

This behavior becomes useful in situations such as business turnarounds or crisis because people tend to respond to the Captain of the ship when the ship is in trouble and needs strong leadership and direction.


Leaders are responsible for crafting a vision and then selling that vision to the members of the team. In order to effectively communicate the vision and create the objectives necessary to accomplish it, the leader is required to excite, motivate, and create the belief among team members that it is possible. Although the vision may or may not have been created with the team's help, you need their accountability and support to perform.

Coaching is a transfer of expertise and knowledge to other team members while allowing them to make mistakes for opportunities. In order to successfully coach, you must remove or at least minimize the fear of failure, as failure is a big part of the coaching process. When you have a team made up of contributors who are full-time employees, you have a team you can coach. In coaching, there are 90% questions and 10% instruction.


If you want a successful team atmosphere with individuals who are comfortable making small mistakes in order to advance your vision, you need collaboration. Collaboration occurs with ideas are shared, suggestions are made, and solutions are formed. You, as the leader, have the final say in most situations. When this behavior is practiced correctly, then each of your team will feel like a contributor to the success you want to achieve. This behavior is almost the exact opposite of the directing behavior. Leaders with high-influence and high-rhythmic behaviors are the naturals in this leadership behavior, as directing may be more difficult for them.

This behavior works well when you need the team to do tasks that need to be carried out without the initial involvement of the leader until a final decision may be required. They have full control over the process until it comes time to hear their full input, ideas, and suggestions. This behavior works well as you rise in an organization and you begin overseeing other managers, directors, departments, and divisions.


This behavior can also work well when leading a team of experienced or more seasoned employees, managers, or directors. In this case, the difference is giving full control, including the decision to the individual or team to make the final call on the project, initiative, or task. This behavior requires full trust to be transferred to the capabilities of the person in your direct reporting line. When using this behavior, make sure you fully trust the experience and (this is a very important "and") their emotional maturity.

You can use this behavior with small teams and lower-level staff members if the final decision and impact is very low risk. Use this type of scenario to help people learn as they are exposed to more and more important-level type activities and decisions.

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