9 Repeatable Behaviors of a Great Leader

7. A leader builds relationships. That doesn’t mean that she has to be buddies with everyone on the team or in the organization. That may not even be wise. But she has to build strong, positive, respectful, cooperative relationships with everyone possible. When I asked Ed Caldwell, the Vice President of Protective Life, what accounted for his success, he answered, “I have been blessed with four mentors and bosses over the last 30 years who took the time to build a relationship with me, who gave me candid feedback on the differences between leadership and management, and provided specific guidance at key points in my career. Those relationships created what I consider to be the real turning points in my personal and professional development.”

“A leader doesn’t wait for a miraculous business turnaround before he celebrates with the team. He knows that little things count.”

8. A leader celebrates. A leader doesn’t wait for a miraculous business turnaround before he celebrates with the team. He knows that little things count. In fact, little celebrations can make a big difference. As psychologist Dr. Terry Paulson points out, “When people are asked to consider what works, too many look for the big things—those things that get measured and reported. But many times, it is the consistent little things leaders do that mean the most to their teams,” such as recognition for a job well done. Or as Blashack-Strahan adds, “When we’re all stressed out, that’s when we need to take the time to celebrate what’s right with the world and our business.”

9. A leader exhibits calmness in rough waters. When Vaclav Havel became the first elected leader in the new country of the Czech Republic, the citizens were uncertain of their future. So he told them, “Hope is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense regardless of how it turns out.” And Larry Blakely, the Process and Improvement Director at EY, says, “When you’re up to your eyeballs in alligators, it’s hard to remember you’re not there to drain the swamp. You’re there to be a calming influence in the midst of the storms.”

You may not be a born leader. But you can learn to be a leader. And a good leader … a great leader … an effective leader … exhibits these behaviors. Start using them now. You’ll be amazed at how well they work.