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Beginning Your Career in Leadership

Beginning Your Career in Leadership

No matter your current job or career, training in management, leadership, and business can be the springboard for promotion opportunities and prepare you for a wide variety of careers in management. The skills and knowledge you gain through such training can significantly benefit your professional development and upward mobility.

Beginning your career as a leader or manager starts with getting equipped through such programs as a degree in leadership or online degrees in business. These programs, like Ottawa University’s degrees in Business Administration and Leadership, will prepare you with practical managerial and communication skills, as well as the decision-making capability necessary to compete in today’s challenging business environment. If you are interested in helping companies achieve a sustainable competitive advantage and leading through times of change, then you should consider a top-tier career in leadership. Ottawa University’s MBA or Master’s in Leadership are excellent tracks to pursue.

Benefits of an Education in Leadership and Business

Whether you’re an aspiring, new, or experienced manager, the world of business is constantly changing, which is why the business major can always benefit from additional leadership and management training. Even those who have a degree in a related field need to stay abreast of current trends and gain targeted education to excel as a business leader. Here are eight reasons an online degree in leadership or an MBA can prepare you for a satisfying career in management - and give you important life skills as a bonus.

Understanding Planning & Budgeting

The business major will gain a working knowledge of basic financial systems used in business settings. This includes business planning and its related budgeting tools and models, such as balance sheets, income statements, cash flow analysis, time value of money concepts, and project planning techniques. Future managers will also examine financing of an organization from the administrative viewpoint - both internal financial management as well as external financing and capital structures.

Exploring Human Behavior

Beyond the business skills and knowledge, a highly effective manager must understand the tenets of human behavior, especially within work organizations. At varying levels, both a Master’s in Business Administration and a Master’s in Leadership focus on individual satisfaction and motivation as related to organizational structure, nature of task and locus of power. Effective communication and conflict resolution are also key components of the exploration of human behavior, so topics covered in management training will likely include mediation and arbitration, problem solving, grievance handling, listening, fact finding, body language, and skills development in different dispute resolution methods.

Managing Personnel and Cultural Diversity

Your role as a manager will encompass the hiring, development, and appraisal of your employees. In addition, understanding the diverse nature of your workforce and learning how to capitalize on the differences and strengths of each person to form a unified, highly productive team is a skill of paramount importance in today’s business world. Online degrees in business and leadership, including an MBA, will prepare you in these areas by focusing on process and management of the personnel function, including task specialization, selection and placement, development and training, collective bargaining, appraisal, and compensation. Programs will also examine the impact of gender, ethnicity and other cultural diversity dimensions on the work organization and teach you how to manage and supervise a diverse workforce for organizational effectiveness while encouraging individual professional development.

Embracing and Leading Change

One of the most sought-after skills in today’s managers is the ability to not only manage the perpetual change within organizations and the global marketplace, but to creatively lead through change to capture new opportunities, stay ahead of the competition, and address sudden challenges. OU’s business majors will learn to assess individual skills and discuss the role of a leader in managing teams through environmental and organizational change, utilizing extensive application exercises designed to develop leadership skills.

Employing Emotional Intelligence

Research shows Emotional Intelligence (EI) is more important than IQ in determining outstanding job performance. It is a critical leadership skill because it shows you are aware of how your behavior impacts others, as well as how others affect your emotional state.

Having high emotional intelligence helps you actively listen, model empathy, and showcase authenticity. It fosters cultural sensitivity, the ability to read situations and people, and flexibility in your communication style. Leaders who exhibit emotional intelligence are able to inspire their teams, build bonds, and promote collaboration for achieving goals. Management training will explore a variety of instruments and writings used to build EI in the workplace, thus equipping you to effectively utilize this skill as a manager.

Improving Decision-Making

Rather than making business decisions off the cuff or using your “gut,” business majors learn how to employ quantitative analysis to make data-driven, informed decisions. Business majors will learn methods and gain practical experience in collecting and evaluating measurable and verifiable data such as revenues, market share, and wages to understand the behavior and performance of a business. These quantitative analysis techniques will utilize software to assist in practical business decision-making and managing organizational goals and strategies.

Enhancing Communication

The best managers are ever aware of their communication style and effectiveness. They have the ability to choose the correct method and tone and manage delivery, be it intentional listening, proper body language, clear verbal interactions, well-crafted written correspondence, thoughtful questions, or needed disciplinary action. Whether you are enrolled in a master’s in leadership program, an MBA, or an undergraduate online degree in business, you will receive both didactic and experiential training in leadership as action, understanding others, and interpersonal theory as the connection between leadership and communication in an organizational context.

Gaining Practical Experience

It may be easy to learn good management theories and techniques in the classroom but putting them into practice is where the rubber meets the road. Practicums and internships are great ways to gain first-hand management training and experience before beginning your career in management. The practicum, which averages 40 work hours, allows business majors the opportunity to apply and integrate knowledge acquired in their courses and to demonstrate leadership, independence and originality, usually in an applied project. Internships are more long-term opportunities to work directly with an employer and gain real-world experience alongside a mentor or supervisor.


And these are just the beginning. Business and leadership degree programs encompass a wealth of topics that will set you on the path to a successful career in management. With Ottawa University’s accelerated online degrees, you can reach your goal for advancement even quicker, or you can take advantage of our locations in Kansas City, Milwaukee and Phoenix. Call today to get started!

Posted: 08/26/2021 by OU Online
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