The unique behaviors key to climbing career ladder

2020 | 08 | 12

The findings of our “Ladder of Leadership” research, show a direct correlation between the most successful business leaders and specific behaviors at first/intermediate-level, senior-level, and C-levels of management.

3 types of behavioral competencies required for leadership

The new research collected over a two-year period, used a database of over 1,000 high performing managers.  The findings suggest three types of behavioral competencies that are required for success at —and between— each level:

  1. Always on: Two fundamental behavioral competencies are important at every level of management — to lead decisively and thrive in chaos.
  2. Leap: There are a few bridging behaviors between first/intermediate to senior-level management and a different set between senior and C-level management.
  3. Lead: There are a few competencies unique to each leadership stage.

For example, the research found at the mid-management level it is crucial to be able to build consensus. But at the senior management level, it’s more important to demonstrate character. By the C-level, the most important people skill is exercising political influence.

Our clients are calling this a game-changer

Jocelyn Bérard

Sr. Vice President, Leadership Assessment and Development at Optimum Talent

The methodology

SuccessFinder research has created a framework that shows clearly the behavioral propensities that characterize exceptional performance at each leadership level, as well as the transitional behaviors that will be necessary to adapt from one level to the next.  It is the practical application for managing in a VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous) world.

The database for the research consisted of 1,003 high performers:

  •  711 first/intermediate-level managers -including managers and directors
  • 209 senior-level managers- including senior directors and vice-presidents
  • 83 CEOs

The KPIs used to identify high performers included:

  • Tenure (10 years or more in the role)
  • Consistent managerial ratings (composite average of 3-5 supervisors’ ratings of the individual’s performance in a formal yearly performance review)
  • 360º feedback results
  • Special designations/awards

Download the complete report here.

Written by
Amanda Fleising

“As a behavioral researcher, I wanted to understand the details around the What got you here won’t get you there mantra,” said Dr. Laurence Crevier-Braud, Research Director at SuccessFinder. “What our team found is that there are key competencies that all leaders need, and others that are distinctly different at each rung of the corporate ladder.”