Mastering the Art and Science of Leadership: 12 Core Behaviors for Success

art and science of leadership

Leadership is an art and science that requires various behaviors with the ability to measure the effectiveness of each.  While there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to effective leadership, there are certain core behaviors that consistently stand out as crucial for success. In this post, we will explore 12 essential leadership behaviors: awareness, vulnerability, transparency, accountability, courage, creating a vision, developing strategies, inspiring people, approachability, mentoring others, ensuring results, and work/life balance; as well as tools to help identify your potential strengths and challenges. These behaviors, when cultivated and practiced, can help leaders excel in their roles and create a positive impact on their teams and organizations.


Self-awareness is the foundation of effective leadership. Leaders who possess self-awareness understand their strengths, weaknesses, values, emotions and behavioral tendencies. This awareness allows them to make better decisions, manage their behavior, and adapt their leadership style to different situations. Additionally, being aware of their impact on others enables leaders to foster healthy relationships and build trust with their teams.


Contrary to popular belief, vulnerability is not a weakness but a strength of great leaders. Leaders who embrace vulnerability demonstrate authenticity and humility. They are willing to admit mistakes, seek feedback, and acknowledge their limitations. By being vulnerable, leaders create an environment where team members feel safe to take risks, share ideas, and collaborate openly.


Transparent leaders foster a culture of trust and open communication. They share information, goals, and decisions openly, ensuring that everyone is on the same page. Transparent leaders encourage dialogue, value diverse perspectives, and maintain consistent and honest communication with their teams. This fosters a sense of ownership and enables everyone to work towards shared objectives.


Accountability is a crucial behavior that underpins effective leadership. A leader’s ability to take ownership of their actions, decisions, and the outcomes of their team is paramount. Accountable leaders ensure that promises are kept, commitments are honored, and responsibilities are fulfilled. They don’t shy away from challenges or failures but instead, use them as opportunities to learn and grow. By holding themselves and their team members accountable, leaders foster a culture of responsibility, continuous improvement, and integrity within the organization. This trait reinforces trust and credibility, both of which are essential for building strong and resilient teams.


Leaders who exhibit courage demonstrate the ability to face challenges head-on, make tough decisions, and navigate through uncertainty with confidence. This quality empowers leaders to take calculated risks, step outside their comfort zones, and confront difficult situations, even when met with resistance. Courageous leaders embrace change and innovation, inspiring their teams to explore new possibilities. They acknowledge and address conflicts, providing solutions that may not always be popular but are in the best interest of the team and organization. Moreover, courageous leaders stand up for their principles and values, even in the face of adversity.  This behavior is crucial for fostering a resilient and adaptive organizational culture. When leaders exhibit courage, they set an example for their teams to persevere in the face of challenges, encouraging creativity and resilience.

Creating a Vision:

A compelling vision inspires and motivates individuals to go beyond their comfort zones. Effective leaders have a clear and compelling vision that paints a picture of the future they want to create. They communicate this vision with passion and purpose, aligning their team members’ efforts toward a common goal. A strong vision provides direction and helps teams navigate challenges and uncertainty.

Developing Strategies:

Leaders need to think strategically to guide their organizations to success. They analyze data, anticipate future trends, and make informed decisions that align with their vision. Strategic leaders identify opportunities, set goals, and develop actionable plans to achieve them. They are proactive in identifying potential obstacles and adapting their strategies accordingly.

Inspiring People:

Leaders who inspire their teams create an environment where people feel motivated, empowered, and engaged. They lead by example, embodying the values and behaviors they expect from others. Inspirational leaders encourage and recognize their team’s efforts, provide support and guidance, and create opportunities for growth and development. They foster a positive culture that encourages innovation and excellence.


Approachable leaders create an atmosphere of trust and open communication. They actively listen to their team members, value their ideas, and provide support when needed. Being approachable encourages collaboration and ensures that everyone feels comfortable voicing their opinions and concerns. It also enables leaders to understand the pulse of the organization and address issues promptly. 

Mentoring Others:

Great leaders are committed to the growth and development of their team members. They act as mentors, providing guidance, feedback, and coaching to help individuals reach their full potential. Mentoring leaders invest in their team’s professional and personal development, fostering a culture of continuous learning. They recognize and leverage the unique strengths of each individual, fostering a high-performing and engaged workforce.

Ensuring Results:

Leaders are accountable for delivering results. They set clear goals, define metrics for success, and hold themselves and their teams accountable. Results-oriented leaders create a culture of excellence, focusing on continuous improvement and celebrating achievements. They motivate their teams to strive for greatness and overcome obstacles, ensuring the organization’s success.

Work/Life Balance:

Leaders who prioritize work/life balance demonstrate the importance of well-being and sustainable success. They lead by example, setting boundaries and encouraging their team members to do the same. Leaders who foster a healthy work/life balance promote productivity, creativity, and employee satisfaction. They understand that taking care of oneself leads to better performance and long-term success.

Great leaders aspire to be as effective as possible in the many situations they encounter.  Becoming aware of your strengths to exploit, and the potential challenges to address, is the first step in developing and refining your leadership skills.  One of the many assessment tools on the market to help create this awareness is Profiles International’s PXT Select™ Assessment and Leadership Report.  This tool is designed to illuminate your inherent executive potential and your approach to confronting challenges, while achieving excellence in leadership by predicting how your characteristics will manifest in your behaviors.  As a leader, you are responsible for engaging people, implementing policies, making decisions, and driving developments that advance organizational goals, for which stakeholders hold you accountable.  The PXT Select™ Assessment and Leadership Report provides insight on the way you approach meeting these obligations and how to utilize your knowledge to maximize your leadership talent.  The assessment provides straightforward, no-nonsense leadership behaviors (identified above), the types of activities that motivate you, the advantages you can leverage, and potential challenges to consider.  This information can outline how best to capitalize on your strengths, and where to focus your personal leadership development efforts.  The PXT Select™ Assessment and Leadership Report is a very powerful and comprehensive tool that is worth exploring further to see how you might benefit.

A second approach to create awareness of your strengths, and potential challenges is conducting a 360 assessment across your direct reports, peers, managers and even customers.  This can be done qualitatively through confidential 1to1 interviews of the various key constituents you interact with and is usually conducted by a neutral third party.  Another more quantitative method is using a tool such as Profiles International’s Checkpoint 360™.  Either way, getting feedback from those you interact with on a regular basis is critical to harness effective leadership skills and drive results.  You never know how you are really perceived by others and how your daily interactions are interpreted until you ask them.  It’s critical to review your leadership skills through the lenses of others so you can adjust accordingly to maximize your leadership potential.

In summary, effective leadership is a journey that requires continuous growth and the development of various core behaviors. By cultivating awareness, vulnerability, transparency, and accountability, being courageous, creating a vision, developing strategies, inspiring people, approachability, mentoring others, ensuring results, and work/life balance, leaders can create a positive and impactful environment. These behaviors enable leaders to build strong relationships, empower their teams, and drive sustainable success. Both emerging and seasoned leaders should strive to develop and strengthen these core behaviors, ensuring their effectiveness in leading teams and organizations toward a prosperous future.

For additional resources please explore the following posts.

Comparing Leadership Traits: Insights from Diverse Sources

Best Leadership Books: A Comprehensive Guide