Many people who decide to get an MBA degree do so in the hope of landing a management position or starting their own business. But to truly excel in these types of careers, it’s important to possess a strong set of leadership skills. And good leadership traits are not learned from textbooks and manuals. They are a set of behavioral traits that people develop over time. Some might be inherited, while others are learned through dedication to personal development and overcoming challenges.
If you are considering getting an MBA, leadership qualities and skills are some of the first things that admissions staff are going to look for when you apply. While there will be a chance for you to develop your existing leadership and management skills as you study, it’s down to you to dedicate yourself to personal development and working on the following important qualities that will help you succeed.
Many people make the mistake of believing that leaders and managers are there at the head of the team and are not a team player as a result. However, a good leader knows that even though they might be trusted to lead the team, they are still a crucial part of it. As a leader, working well as a team often means that you are the first to take responsibility for the team’s failure and the last to take responsibility for their success. Good leaders work together with their teams to help them achieve their goals and are not shy about praising their team members for the work that they do while being private and compassionate with criticism. These are skills that come naturally to good leaders and is often one of the key qualities measured in MBA applications.
Self-regulation is an important skill to have when it comes to how the leader behaves in the workplace. Leader who are highly run by their own emotions and unable to keep themselves in check tend to be the ones that are not trusted, put people off, and don’t have much support from their teams. On the other hand, leaders who can effectively regulate themselves and can keep a level head even when times are stressful tend to inspire the most respect from their teams, are well-trusted, gain support from their peers and subordinates, and are well-liked for being easier to work with.
Good leaders know that it is important, to be honest with feedback and that there are always going to be times when they will need to share some constructive criticism or unwelcome feedback with a team member. However, the difference here is that when a good leader gives advice for improvement, it is always done with empathy. They can put themselves in the shoes of the team member that they are speaking to and put the feedback across in such a way that does not make the employee feel criticized or judged, but rather inspired and supported to do better.
Before making any major changes in the workplace, leaders will first evaluate the repercussions that this might have from the perspective of the team before considering the impact on the bottom line. As a result, this often works better in the long-term, since a lack of empathy from leadership is often a number one cause of attrition. People like to work for companies with leaders who genuinely care about the impact of changes on them and how they feel in their roles, and are much more likely to be loyal to an empathetic boss.
Being proactive about change is a key skill that often distinguishes managers from leaders. When it comes to triggering change, a manager or a boss often has a limited motivating capacity and tends to be narrowly focused on output. On the other hand, a good leader is concerned with how they can make positive changes to the workplace, whether it be in the company culture or the effectiveness of the teams that work together. A good online MBA programmed from Aston University not only focuses on helping you develop technical management skills, but also provides you with the foundation that you need to become skilled at giving honest feedback and proactive when it comes to making positive changes in your workplace.
If you have ever worked for a manager who didn’t seem to see a problem with bending the rules and had little respect for ethics and law, you will understand how demotivating it can be for teams. Ethical decision making is key for any good leader, and most business courses will involve ethical decision making in essays and team projects to prepare future leaders for this eventuality. After all, a company’s reputation with its customers, employees and others is determined by the decisions that are made by those at top management levels, and unethical decisions can often no longer be hidden from the world due to social media.
Good leaders make sure that they are surrounded by experts and others who can help them with advice when needed. As a result, they ensure that they are able to avoid making ineffective decisions as a result of confirmation bias. While good leaders are confident in their abilities, they know that it’s often important to get the advice and support of others when making key business decisions that could have a large impact on their team. Being skilled at solving problems requires a lot of contextual knowledge that comes from regular interaction with experts in the field. Although leaders will typically have expertise in some areas of business, they are fully aware of the fact that they will not always have the knowledge and expertise needed to solve certain problems and make certain decisions, which is why they keep their professional network strong and are always striving to learn as much as they can from other people.
Whether you are considering getting an MBA to start your own business or land a promotion, demonstrating these key leadership skills will boost your application and set a strong foundation for your future career.