Leadership comes in many forms. Like any kind of management ^mdash; whether that means parenting, budgeting your personal finances, or running HR at a company – there is no universal definition or “style” of business leadership that’s correct. Rather, the way that you lead and manage others in a professional setting is ultimately a reflection of three things:
- The business goals or organization’s mission
- The personality types and skillsets of employees at the organization
- Your interpretation of 1 and 2 above, which must then influence your choices in developing and delivering leadership in a given scenario.
The kaleidoscope of businesses and organizations out there makes leadership not a one-size-fits-all tactic. The goals or mission at hand change the company culture and affect who is hired. Each business also takes either an implicit or explicit approach to encouraging or discouraging leadership amongst employees. Where the employee role exists within the business hierarchy may affect whether leadership potential is encouraged. These complicated facets will shape the expectations for your leadership role. They will also shape how you are evaluated.
So, is there one way to become a great leader? Not exactly! However, there are a few areas which you can focus on growing. These will help you demonstrate leadership competency and potential regardless of the setting.
1. Achieve an Advanced Education
According to an article in The Executive Education Navigator, which features global career advice and resources for aspiring executives, a bachelor’s degree continues to be an assumed requirement of business professionals. Yet, it is increasingly not enough for aspiring leaders. One of the reasons for this, as CareerBuilder explains, is that so many people today have the bachelor’s degree credential. Therefore, job candidates now must bring more to the table to stand out. In fact, between 2012 and 2017, 38% of employers raised educational requirements.
Earning a Master’s degree that relates to business leadership, such as a Master’s of Science in Organizational Leadership (MSOL), offers aspiring leaders a boost when applying to executive roles. If you’re already a working professional, it’s possible that you’ve considered (and maybe ruled out) going back to school. Maybe you’ve asked yourself, “Who has time for that?” Well, you would be doing yourself a great disservice to not acknowledge your inner growth potential, given the right educational program. Many adult learners select an online leadership program, which means that they can study when it’s convenient! Put together lunch breaks, after work, and some time on weekends, and in as few as 20 months of part-time learning online, you could be a master of the leadership caste.
2. Gain Key Leadership Skills
Employers will expect that top candidates have certain leadership skills. Usually a combination of experience and education will help you demonstrate your knowledge and provide examples. Organizational leadership skills include a mixture of practiced communication and persuasive techniques, hard skills like knowing how to leverage data and performance metrics, as well as natural soft skills that enhance those learned behaviors.
According to the major job search engine, Indeed.com, some general skills that strong leaders possess include patience, empathy, active listening, reliability, dependability, creativity, positivity, effective feedback, timely communication, team building, flexibility, risk-taking, and the ability to teach and mentor. However, the six most valuable skills are decisiveness, integrity, team building, problem-solving, dependability, and ability to teach and mentor.
The following graduate leadership classes will help you grow your value and show that you are more than ready to take on real challenges in the field:
- Data-Driven Decision-Making for Executives
- Sustainability of Innovation and Strategic Advantage
- Leading Organizational Change
For instance, analyzing metrics to improve margins. Or, working on a cross-team project charter to last a calendar year, that is innovative yet takes risk into account. Maybe you can share how you would motivate diverse parties towards contested change. Becoming a great leader means putting your own wonderful self out there, taking the tools you gather in your belt during a Master’s degree program, and showing how you can use them effectively, responsibly, and efficiently.
3. Convey Experience
Whether you are currently working customer service, or handling a whole department, you can always move up. Describing and quantifying how your current accomplishments make you the best candidate for the job at hand, is an important checkpoint on the way to that offer letter. Apply for roles that interest you and that reflect some part of your experience. If leadership has not yet been required of you at your current or past jobs, lean on your Leadership Capstone for examples. This 15-week course through Goodwin University’s MSOL steeps you in a real leadership issue at an external organization or as part of a simulation, with an overseeing faculty member. Experience is both gained and learned.
If you’re hoping to grow your career, become an influential voice at a business or organization, and qualify for more advanced leadership roles, these three steps will help you get there. Becoming a great leader is possible, and your own future is worth investing in. Bring out the confident leader in you, with a MSOL. Call 800-889-3282 for more information, or request more information online, today.
Goodwin University is a nonprofit institution of higher education and is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), formerly known as the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). Goodwin University was founded in 1999, with the goal of serving a diverse student population with career-focused degree programs that lead to strong employment outcomes.