Most Valued Qualities in Leadership (How an MBA Can Help You Get There)
Focusing on mastering the hard skills needed for success is understandable. Expertise in finance, accounting, marketing, and sales are essential to business success. However, the most successful business leaders realize that “soft” leadership skills like emotional intelligence, good communication, and empathy are at least as necessary.
Research supports the value of management skills that go beyond technical experience. The Innerwill Leadership Institute cites experts who have established a connection between leadership skills and outcomes such as employee turnover, customer satisfaction, productivity, innovation, and profits.
“Having engaged, trained, effective folks is good for all of us – it’s good for business, and it’s good for society. And that’s the true impact of effective leadership,” the institute wrote. It’s a critical concern for professionals entering an MBA program.
Why Leadership Skills Are Highly Valued
Leadership skills are essential to success for all managers, whether they work in lower, middle, or high-level management. The Center for Creative Leadership reports that decades of research show the most successful leaders at all levels develop effective soft skills.
The term “soft skills” refers to empathy, compassion, and authenticity–all skills that allow leaders to develop meaningful connections with others. The best leaders hone these skills, using them to nurture employees and create workplace cultures that support innovation, adaptation, and inclusivity. This leads to more effective teams, as well as engaged and motivated employees.
LinkedIn writes that effective management goes beyond overseeing tasks and products to “developing a skill set that empowers others.” Doing so creates a more satisfying work environment and more productive employees.
Some of the Most Influential Leadership Skills
No one person can become the perfect leader overnight or display every leadership quality every minute of every day. However, focusing on the following can make a manager a better leader, allowing them to create a company culture that treats everyone fairly and rewards innovation and creativity. As with technical skills, leadership skills improve the more people practice them.
Managers can unify teams when they develop strong verbal and written communication skills, keeping employees informed on issues vital to short-term tasks and long-term goals. One of the keys in this area is adaptability – the best leaders use the communication method that works best given the person or situation. They also develop good listening skills, paying close attention to what others say.
Forbes considers trust as an essential leadership attribute of the 21st century. Modern employees want transparency and ethical behavior from leadership. Managers can win employees’ trust by offering them consistently fair treatment and respect for each member of a diverse workforce.
Managers need to understand the people who work for them. They achieve this understanding by developing empathy and sensitivity. Rather than treating workers as cogs in the corporate machine, the best leaders create a compassionate approach, recognizing what motivates each individual. They also recognize signs of burnout or becoming overwhelmed by work among their subordinate workers.
A good place for a manager to start building emotional intelligence and other leadership skills is first looking inward. One of the most consequential skills for a manager is acknowledging how their own internal emotions can color reactions and decisions. A self-aware manager is better at practicing restraint and understanding emotions that drive others.
Organizational skills encompass various issues. The best leaders know how to keep an eye on the big picture while also paying attention to the granular details of every project. Time management is a critical part of developing organizational skills.
Strategic Thinking and Risk Management
These two skills go together because identifying risk is a substantial component of intelligent strategic planning. Leaders do well to factor potential risks into long-range strategies, anticipating challenges before they happen.
Knowing when to “let go” and turn over important tasks to others is an essential leadership skill. It flows from the other skills on this list that involve good communication and emotional intelligence. Smart leaders know which tasks to match to specific people, increasing the chances of success. This is a vital skill for developing a more efficient, accountable, and effective team.
Good leaders know that the best accomplishments involve the work of every team member. They create and support diverse, inclusive teams that provide the most value to any business.
Earn an MBA at Touro University Worldwide
Students who enroll in the MBA program at Touro University Worldwide learn the technical and leadership skills needed for management success. The online MBA program is designed for working professionals motivated to earn their graduate degree while working full-time.
Earning an MBA opens the door to promotion and higher salaries (the average MBA salary is currently about $90,000, according to Bankrate).
The TUW MBA curriculum focuses on developing strong leadership skills, covering professional communications, management across cultures, ethics, strategy and planning, and organizational behavior.