15 Behaviors of Successful New Leaders

What separates new leaders who thrive from their less-successful counterparts? The successful ones have mastered 15 behaviors that allow them to jump into a new situation—a leadership role in a new organization or a higher position in their current company—and begin making positive contributions right away.

Those behaviors are:

  1. Seeks input from others and actively listens to the responses.
  2. Identifies and builds key stakeholder relationships.
  3. Seeks to understand and respects the organization’s culture and historical precedents.
  4. Exhibits an appropriate level of interpersonal sensitivity and “people smarts.”
  5. Defines and clearly communicates expectations.
  6. Delivers on commitments.
  7. Sizes up each situation on its own merits and avoids preconceived ideas about the problem or its solution.
  8. Builds the foundation for change before taking action.
  9. Builds coalitions to overcome resistance and gain support for change initiatives.
  10. Takes on and implements an appropriate amount of change—not too much or too little.
  11. Understands and skillfully deals with organizational politics.
  12. Empathizes with people’s needs, concerns, and goals.
  13. Provides team leadership that causes the team to perform better.
  14. Gives high priority to the boss’s priorities.
  15. Produces “early wins” that move the organization toward needed outcomes.

Rank your newly placed leaders (or yourself, if you’ve recently taken on a new position) on these 15 behaviors on a scale of “not at all effective” to “highly effective.” If any one comes in at less than highly effective, your organization isn’t benefiting from optimal leadership, and it’s time to take action to improve.

The PowerStart Onboarding program is an excellent way to ensure that newly placed leaders recognize and master these skills during their onboarding period. View an outline of our program content to see how we address these and other leadership musts.

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