In today’s business world, having locations and clients on nearly every continent has become the norm. Even mom and pop shops in rural communities have access to global business partners and customers, creating a need for diverse leadership skills that will not only propel your organization to new heights, but also set you up for career advancement.
Effective leaders must display leadership skills in three primary areas as they drive the mission of the organization forward: leading themselves, leading others, and leading the business. Let’s look at a few essential skills for each.
It is important as a leader to be honest with yourself about your strengths and weaknesses. Take some time to get to know if you adapt well in a fast-changing business environment, if you like to drive innovation, if you are resilient after a setback, and if your communication style is effective. Leading yourself well means you are committed to consistent self-development, both with character traits you need to strengthen, as well as business knowledge and skills you need to acquire or improve. Ottawa University’s Master of Arts in Leadership and MBA are both excellent ways to master the essential leadership skills required in today’s global marketplace. We even offer an MBA in Leadership Development!
Emotional intelligence (EI) is both inward and outward facing. When focusing on yourself, it pertains to knowing and managing your emotions, as well as motivating yourself. When focusing on others, emotional intelligence recognizes and understands others’ emotions and appropriately manages them. Emotional intelligence 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. EI also demonstrates to an employer how you act in accordance with your values and manage your emotions when facing change and overcoming obstacles. Leaders who exhibit emotional intelligence are able to inspire their teams, build bonds, and promote collaboration for achieving goals. The good news is, EI can be practiced and improved as part of leading yourself.
You are the primary HR manual your team will read. Developing and displaying a high level of professionalism will make it easier to lead because your team will follow your example. Bolstering your professionalism in relation to social interactions, time management, responsive and appropriate communication, attire, organization, following company policies, and respect for authority will help you become known as a leader of integrity.
Leading others starts with building a high-performance team. That can include hiring the right people for the job, as well as training and development for current employees to give them the knowledge and skills to succeed. A highly effective leader successfully brings together a diverse workforce by learning the strengths, expectations, and potential of each team member and maximizing those for best performance, both individually and collectively. By coaching and developing the team, setting clear expectations, acknowledging accomplishments, and communicating frequently and effectively, strong leaders will retain their best talent and achieve greater corporate and personal loyalty.
The beauty of servant leadership is that it allows you to maintain authority without having to utilize the heavy-handed power of your position. When employees see you as being in the trenches with them, identifying with their needs and challenges, and tying your success to theirs, they are going to follow where you lead. They see that you value their differences, encourage and motivate them, and listen to their ideas. It’s also clear that you will lead them through conflict and failure to better performance, share the glory, and accept responsibility. Find out more about the characteristics of a servant leader.
Engagement and Innovation
Effective leaders regularly engage with those above and around them to lead collaboratively. They are also innovative in their approaches to problems and business goals, looking at things from all angles to provide holistic solutions that may not fit the norm. Just as importantly, strong leaders foster engagement and innovation in their team members, setting processes in place to share and implement their best ideas. These leaders will not be afraid to delegate tasks to trusted employees, ask for feedback, and leverage networks to creatively accomplish common goals. By doing this, good leaders demonstrate that they are not a one (wo)man show but that they are part of a highly valued team.
Leading the Organization
The view shifts here from managing the team to the greater mission and vision of the company. Of all the leadership skills for driving results in today’s business environment, having a global mindset and the ability to manage organizational complexity are highly sought by employers. Not only must you understand the business practices of other countries or locations and know how to appropriately operate across diverse cultures, you must also be on the lookout for emerging global opportunities. The effective leader will actually leverage the complexities of the global business to create a competitive advantage. Often decisions must be made in a moving-parts environment, and a strong leader will be comfortable calling the shots utilizing situational analysis. Leaders with a global mindset have a big-picture view with a road map mentality for implementing ideas. They are confident, flexible problem solvers who aren’t easily rattled.
Strategic plans have traditionally been formulated for one, five and ten-year goals, along with methods and milestones to achieve them. But today’s business climate is fast-moving and unpredictable. As a result, effective leaders must continuously assess the strategic goals and methods of the company and be prepared to adjust them as needed to capture new opportunities, stay ahead of the competition, or address sudden challenges. Because they are often closer to the front lines of the business than senior management, mid-level leaders are increasingly trusted with decision-making powers for executing these adjustments. These leaders will form networks inside and outside the company to accomplish strategic change for advancing the mission and vision of their organization. Graduates of our MBA in Strategic Innovation are prepared to enhance and strengthen the organizations they lead.
Online Masters in Leadership
These eight essential skills for leading yourself, leading others, and leading the business must be continually cultivated, whether on the job or in the classroom. Ottawa University’s Master of Arts in Leadership will set you on the trajectory for highly effective leadership. Additionally, our MBA in Leadership Development and MBA in Strategic Innovation are both great options for career advancement. Whether you complete one of Ottawa University's accelerated online degrees or attend one of our campuses in Kansas City, Milwaukee, and Phoenix, we are here to help you lead the way up the corporate ladder.
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