Today’s world presents new challenges for modern leaders, and certain behaviors are becoming more important to excel at if you want to succeed.

First, managers and leaders are not the same thing. Managers do well at the business side of things, and leaders do too—yet, leaders must also excel in areas beyond the ability to get basic business things accomplished.

The following five areas of behavior are not the only skills executive leaders should seek to improve, but they ones that are important, particularly in today’s world.


For an executive leader, reflection may be the most important area, according to an AchieveGlobal study, which had a goal of developing a comprehensive model articulating key areas of focus for 21st-century leaders.

A leader’s ability to successfully navigate continually changing, uncertain waters requires continual reflection and improvement.

Key leadership behaviors demonstrating the ability to reflect include:

  • Ask themselves how they can become better.
  • Act with the self confidence to experience new behaviors.

Consideration of Society

In this area, leaders balance individual and group welfare. They attend to economic, environmental, and ethical matters.

Key leadership behaviors demonstrating the consideration of society as a whole include:

  • Act ethically to serve the larger good.
  • Take actions that benefit others, not only themselves.
  • Encourage others to take socially responsible actions.
  • Recognize and reward others based on merit.
  • Challenge unethical decisions and actions.

Promotion of Diversity

Understanding the value of human differences is an important skill for modern leaders. Leaders need to demonstrate a commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion.

Key leadership behaviors demonstrating the importance of diversity in the workplace include:

  • Collaborate well with employees different from themselves.
  • Lead groups made up of diverse employees.
  • Manage virtual teams.
  • Facilitates recruitment and hiring of a diverse and qualified staff.
  • Display sensitivity in managing across other cultures.
  • Strive to meet the needs of customers representing other cultures.


In this area, leaders are clever, original, and inventive. They also create a climate in which innovation can survive.

“Ingenuity is the currency of success in a capricious global economy,” according to the AchieveGlobal study mentioned above.

Key leadership behaviors which lead to an environment and culture of ingenuity include:

  • Solve problems by thinking clearly and engaging others.
  • Tell stories to motivate others toward strategic goals.
  • Promote speed, flexibility, and innovation.
  • Help other people adapt quickly to changes.
  • Willing to take risks needed to achieve success.
  • Treat mistakes as opportunities for learning, not disasters.
  • Asks people what they can do to improve.

Connection with People

Leaders are able to connect personally with others in a meaningful way.

Key leadership behaviors demonstrating the ability to connect include:

  • Help others resolve issues of work-life balance.
  • Adapt to the leadership needs of different groups, employees.
  • Make a daily effort to inspire the trust of customers and colleagues.
  • Develops leaders.
  • Provides others with helpful and timely feedback.
  • Knows how to work in teams—something that is much more valuable in our modern world.
  • Helps build employee’s confidence.

As a leader, how can you take action to improve your skills in one of the five areas above?