A behavior-based approach to leadership does not focus on education, personal drive, or intelligence. Instead, the focus is on how you act. What you say and how you say it influences the nature of your corporate culture. A positive corporate culture leads to interdepartmental cooperation, reduces duplicated efforts that lead to wasted resources, boosts productivity, encourages innovation, heightens employee morale, and often bolsters profitability. These are worthy goals that can be achieved through a behavior-based leadership style.

In essence:

  • Leaders (of people, ideas, teams) need followers. Without them, you can’t lead. Your behavior impacts either positively or negatively the people who follow you. 
  • Behavior often results from conditioning. Positive or negative feedback can create a pattern of behavior. Recognizing the positive and negative inputs will enable you to change your behavior.
  • Feedback is essential in identifying what behaviors are negatively impacting the followers in your company. The 360-degree feedback process can identify these behaviors.
  • As a leader, you’re operating in a fishbowl. All eyes are upon you. Therefore, your behavior, even down to how you dress and what time you come to work in the morning, are all up for scrutiny among your followers. If you change your behavior for the better, your followers will notice.

In conclusion, the behavior-based approach to improving leadership effectiveness is both unique and highly doable. Of all the things you can control, your behavior is one of the most easily changed aspects of your personal and work life. Your followers will notice if you misbehave, and they will notice if you behave well. They will also notice changes for the better or for the worse. Remember, the big fish in the fishbowl can never swim in the shadows. The light of day will always be present, as it should be.

This is an excerpt from Paulette Ashlin’s book Leading: The Way – Behaviors that Drive Success which outlines the importance of responding to, changing, and improving your behavior to become the best leader you can be. Find out more at www.ashlinassociates.com