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4 Behaviours that Transform People into World-Class Leaders

Updated: Jun 26, 2022

After a senior leadership gathering, I nearly had tears in my eyes due to the pressure I was putting on myself. I was feeling very different to the rest of the group. A colleague told me then, very wisely, that it matters less where I am different. Instead, what I had in common with the people surrounding me was more important because those were the traits required to succeed.

I allowed the myths to cloud my vision and self-perception at that time. Now that we are past those myths let’s explore what the facts say about what makes world-class leaders. What are the behaviours that these leaders share? What do they do well to transform their companies and their industries?

Based on a data-driven study on 2600 leaders, the real differentiators are:

  1. Making decisions with speed and conviction. They make decisions faster, make fewer decisions, and learn from their decision-making. They are not looking for the perfect decision, and they know how to operate in uncertainty.

  2. Engaging for Impact. They lead with intent, having a clear vision, goals and measures in place. They are masters of relationships, and they understand people’s unique needs: emotional, financial, recognition or otherwise. They value their relationships and recognise that they can’t achieve much independently. They orchestrate masterfully all players impacting the outcome and keep them constructively satisfied. Their transformational intent aligns with their transactional actions.

  3. Relentless Reliability. They are someone others can count on. So, they consistently deliver on their goals to their shareholders, company, team and individuals. They create high-performance organisations: teams, culture, systems and routines to enable consistent delivery with realistic expectations in mind, which they proactively manage.

  4. Adapting Boldly. They are looking for change; they don’t wait for change to come to them. They are humble and expose themselves to very different perspectives. If they are not uncomfortable, they are not changing or learning fast enough. Adaptability is a muscle they build over time in themselves and others.

You can perform a self-assessment against these four behaviours at CEOGenome

Who is mastering these four behaviours can become a memorable leader. Learning them takes practice. You can start your practice today.

And on the path, it’s critical to remember that everyone is in a learning process, including the best leaders in the world.

Final Note:

Credit goes to The CEO Genome project, available at for their extensive research of over 10 years. The data set of assessments of 17,000 C-suite executives, including more than 2,000 CEOs — covers all major industry sectors, and companies ranging from the Fortune 100 down to $10 million businesses.


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