4 Top Leadership Skills: Do You Have Them All?

Let’s decode leadership.

That was the basis of a study that identified certain types of leadership behavior that most strongly correlate to nearly 90% of leadership effectiveness.

Researchers first recognized 20 leadership behaviors – such as motivating others, communicating and championing for change – but found four leadership habits or skills that were most frequently detected in high-performing companies.

Dell Women's Entrepreneur Network 2014 - Austin
Photo via Flickr by Dell Inc.

While you can’t change your innate personality, you can learn to change your behavior.

The Most Effective Leader: What Really Matters

Adopting these top leadership behaviors will enable you to be lead more effectively.

1. Results-Oriented. This type of leader tends to see the end in mind and looks for the fastest way to get there. They clearly assign roles, responsibilities and expectations that will move the company forward. Additionally, they prioritize, as they build the company and manage relationships.

  • Instill this skill: Becoming more results-driven means setting very clear priorities on what you do and then concentrating on the most valuable use of your time.  You set goals and determine priorities. You’re available for your team, supplying resources and contacts – whatever they need to get the job done.

2. Opinion Seeker. Good leaders come to realize that their most valuable resource in any problem situation is their team. Great leaders seek input from those most affected by a problem, particularly those who must implement the solution. They seek different perspectives from customers, team members, vendors, etc., then make an informed decision. Effective leaders also have a mentor or coach who questions their thought processes and forces them to grow — as leaders.

  • Instill this skill: By soliciting team members’ perspectives on how to address a new challenge, you’ll keep an open mind. By giving everyone a voice, you’ll make better decisions. Great leaders embrace dissenting opinions and seek them out at every opportunity.

3. Relationship-driven. “Most women are naturally empathetic and value relationships,” says Anna Crowe, CEO and founder of Crowe PR. “This enables them to have a strong understanding of what drives and motivates people, and how to acknowledge different people for their performance.” Research shows how women are better than men at empathy – sensing what others are thinking and feeling. A relationship-driven leader empowers others and knows companies can only achieve results through employee development.

  • Instill this skill: Relationship-driven leaders take an active role in developing each member of their team, providing frequent feedback and helping them reach their individual goals. They meet with their team members regularly to identify new challenges and training opportunities. This type of leader knows that a team member’s success is directly related to her success.

4. Problem Solver.  The most effective leaders solve problems by seeking feedback from all levels in the organization because this puts them in the best place to make an informed decision. When faced with a problem, this type of leader knows some problems cannot be solved right away. Other problems need to be solved immediately. Considering the outcomes narrows the options and provides a choice.

  • Instill this skill: There are many different approaches to problem solving. No approach is foolproof. However, structure is often overlooked problem solving. First, it’s best to to assess the situation – if only for five minutes. Once you’ve had a chance to think, Then brainstorm. Gather your team and listen. Be non-judgmental. Consider solutions. You might use a simple three-step formula of: “Why are we doing it this way? What if we tried another approach? How can we get that done?”

You probably already embody these leadership priority skills on some level, but by weaving them into your day-to-day management, they’re sure to have impact on your leadership.