4 Behaviors That Help You Lead More Effectively

A recent McKinsey study suggests that there are four kinds of leadership behaviors that account for 89 percent of leadership effectiveness.

There is an ongoing debate about what makes a great leader. There definitely are no shortcuts, but recent McKinsey study gives us some indication of which traits and behaviors help you lead more effectively.

First, the researchers identified 20 distinct leadership practices and surveyed 189,000 people in 81 diverse organizations around the world to find out which leadership habits were most frequently detected in the selected organizations. Using these findings they then created lists of organizations with strong leadership performance and with weak leadership performance.

What they discovered was that there are four distinct types of leadership behavior correlating with the leadership effectiveness and success. So if you want to make your leadership more effective and successful, adapt these four habits.

Solve problems effectively

According to the research effective problem-solving is one of the key attributes of a successful leader. This requires an ability to gather and analyze all the information you need to make decisions. It’s all about gaining an understanding of the big picture and using it as the basis for drawing decisive conclusions.

Follow results

Effective leaders do more than merely implement strategies and visions. The research found that leaders are more effective when they are strongly results-oriented. That’s because having a keen sense of the expected outcomes helps, you more readily identify the highest-value tasks. So follow the results, measure success and lead accordingly.

Seek different perspectives

If you have an analytical outlook, you are well on your way to becoming an effective leader. One of the key behaviors of effective leaders is their ability to consider different points of view when making decisions. Being aware of and actively inviting different perspectives helps you make better decisions.

Support others

The fourth key behavior for effective leadership involves supporting others. Simply put, it’s all about building trust and inspiring and helping colleagues. Think of ways to help others become the best at what they do and help them get there.

There are, of course, many other behaviors that are valuable in different leadership situations, but adopting these basic principles may well help you on your path towards better and more effective leadership.


Feser, C., Mayol, F., and Srinivasan, R. January 2015, Decoding leadership – What really matters. McKinsey Quarterly.

Photo credit: Shutterstock


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