How To Build and Measure Leadership Behaviors That Increase Employee Engagement & Productivity

Between leadership training, assessments, and a myriad of other related resources, companies spend thousands of dollars per year on developing their leaders. And for good reason! From frontline manager, to mid-level director, and senior executive, this small group of people has an outsized impact on the employee experience of everyone else at the organization. Their daily behaviors and efficacy directly influence employee engagement, productivity, and whether the company achieves annual goals. 

Still, company leaders struggle to answer basic questions like:

– Who are my best leaders? What kind of habits do my leaders have, or need to improve?

– Which behaviors should my leaders emulate so that our employees feel more engaged and satisfied at work?

– How can I communicate those behaviors and hold leaders accountable to them in a measurable way?

The world is moving too quickly to rely on costly, event-based measurement tools like 360 assessments; one pile of data every 6 months (or 2 years!) won’t cut it anymore. Company leaders need visibility into and control over the leadership behaviors affecting their employees’ experience and success every single day. Waiting months between assessments is simply too risky.


Happily, the answer may be more intuitive and attainable than you’d expect – and it can be broken down into 3 steps:

1. Design a behavioral blueprint your leaders can follow to drive team-wide engagement and achieve goals

2. Collect frequent feedback from their direct reports, peers, and managers on how well they exhibit those behaviors

3. Measure the degree to which their alignment to that behavioral blueprint influences their team’s engagement and productivity

Step 1: Design a behavioral blueprint.

Your leaders need to know precisely which behaviors to emulate every day on the job. Sure, plenty of articles talk through the ~10 leadership habits that drive engagement and productivity – but how many of them break those habits down into the behaviors that comprise them?

For instance – ‘Building Trust’ is a common leadership habit that is known to drive engagement. But if you told your leaders “all you have to do is build trust with your direct reports”, would they know how to do that?
leading remote teams broken down into leadership behaviors

You can help them by breaking that leadership habit down into observable behaviors that they can begin implementing first thing tomorrow morning.

Step 2: Collect frequent, anonymous feedback from their closest coworkers on how closely they’re aligning to that blueprint.

Once you’ve communicated your expectations and how they tie in to the goals of the company, make your expectations ‘real’ by collecting anonymous feedback on how frequently the leaders reflect those behaviors. 

Ask their feedback providers to tell you how frequently they observe their leaders exhibiting a specific behavior. 

In this example, the feedback provider would be asked how frequently over the past 2 weeks Michael Holland has let others do their jobs without micro-managing them.

Of course, we’d love for you to use Rhabit to do this – it’s what we built our entire company around. 

If you don’t, but you still want to try out frequent feedback, here are some key traits you should focus on.  

Feedback that’s anonymous. 

Feedback providers – especially direct reports – will only feel psychologically safe to be honest if they know the leader can’t determine the type of feedback they gave.  

Feedback that’s frequent.

Collect feedback frequently – ideally, once or twice a week – so that your leaders can understand which of their efforts are successful and noticed by their closest coworkers. 

Feedback that’s accessible.

Ensure your leaders have access to their own feedback data, so that they have visibility into and feel more in control of their own development & alignment to prescribed behaviors.

Step 3: Measure the degree to which your leaders are aligned to their behavioral blueprints.

Once you’ve collected a few weeks’ worth of objective feedback data, take some time to understand the overall landscape of your leaders’ behaviors, and whether there are individual or systemic problems. 

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In the above image, we can see that “Building Trust” is the lowest rated leadership habit for your leaders. Is it a problem for all of your leaders, or are there a couple of leaders pulling down an otherwise healthy score?

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By breaking down the feedback data for each habit by leader, we can see that most leaders are strong in Building Trust, but Michael Holland is struggling a bit in this area.

By collecting feedback on specific leadership behaviors, you can see precisely which behaviors related to ‘Building Trust’ are strong for Michael, and that there are two that need some focus.

At this point, you can run an intervention for this habit to share with Michael what you’ve learned, how he can improve, and whether there are courses on the subject you might recommend.

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By collecting feedback frequently, you can see how Michael’s feedback changes over time as he tries new methods to build trust.

Ideally, he’ll have access to his own behavioral deep dives and data over time, so that he feels equally in control of his own development.

leader habits changing over time
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Behavioral blueprints and continuous employee feedback help company leaders do what they’ve never been able to do – have visibility into and control over the behaviors impacting their organizations.

Want to see how Rhabit helps develop leadership behaviors that drive results?
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