Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) offers a fully online MBA with a concentration in Management/Leadership. This degree program is designed to prepare students to be leaders in practically any industry. The comprehensive study helps students develop essential knowledge and skills they can apply on the job in real time. But what are the essential skills future leaders need to develop? And do employers truly value these skills?
What MBA Courses Can Help Me Improve as a Leader?
Coursework in this online MBA program focuses on many aspects of developing a professional’s leadership aptitude in the globalized context, honing skills necessary for managerial roles. A course on strategic leadership helps students understand and develop essential skills like communication, the ability to effectively foster and lead collaborative teams, and decision-making from an ethical standpoint. Underpinned these skills is the development of the individual’s capacity for critical and analytical thinking. These and other aspects of effective leadership are studied within the current context of the globalized economy and rapid societal change.
A concentration course on organizational development and change helps students learn how to manage change, leading and guiding people within that organization through difficult times of transition. This is an essential focus of study, given today’s environment of uncertainty and volatility. Yet another concentration course delves into ethical, social, environmental and legal issues affecting leadership in cross-cultural, global organizations. The course addresses how effective leadership styles vary across cultures, with differing social norms for communication and negotiation.
Why Are Leadership Skills Important on the Job?
The importance of leadership skills for management professionals is somewhat self-evident. Critical thinking and problem-solving help managers evaluate information, make strategic decisions and address challenges. Knowledge of organizational behavior can help leaders understand the nuances of individual and interpersonal behaviors in employees. This understanding, coupled with advanced communication skills, helps those in leadership roles motivate employees and build effective teams. All of this fosters initiative and engagement in employees plus the exponential impact of highly functional collaboration within and between departments. Taken together, the impact of excellent leadership can result in improved productivity, efficiency and innovation as well as higher employee retention and lowered costs associated with employee turnover and hiring.
Organizational change management study can also help professionals guide companies through the upheavals inherent in modern technology integration, volatile market shifts and disruptive shifts in employment models and the workplace environment. These shifts may be generalized in nature, such as the move toward a hybrid of on-site, remote and freelance work. Or they may be due to external factors such as a viral outbreak, changes in regulations, global expansion or the increasing demand for ethical/social justice and corporate responsibility. Good leaders excel at devising creative ways to keep employees and company culture connected even when going through such disruptions and changes.
How Can Earning an MBA in Management/Leadership Help Me Advance into Leadership Positions?
At the most basic level, many employers require MBAs for top management positions. Employers also look for attributes which closely mirror the qualities and skills developed through a good MBA program focused on leadership. Numerous recent studies and surveys of employers support this claim.
For instance, a 2018 survey of top business executives conducted for the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AACU) reported that:
“The skill and knowledge areas of greatest importance to both business executives and hiring managers when hiring include oral communication, critical thinking, ethical judgment, working effectively in teams, working independently, self-motivation, written communication, and real-world application of skills and knowledge.”
The above statement closely fits the description of the learning outcomes of FGCU’s MBA in management and leadership. This is especially true given the experiential potential and focus of the online learning model, where students apply what they learn in real time to experiences on the job. Instead of merely claiming skill development from earning an MBA, the real-world demonstration of highly valued leadership skills shows employers how ready candidates are for management roles. It gives employers the opportunity to conduct an ongoing, evaluative working interview of sorts. It also gives employees looking to advance into managerial positions the opportunity to prove their worth and qualifications for leadership roles.
The National Association of Colleges and Employers’ Job Outlook 2019 also reported communication, problem-solving and teamwork skills among the highest-valued attributes employers look for on students’ resumes. The need for soft skills is outpacing the desire for industry-specific hard skills. If you are already working in an industry and looking to move into management, chances are you understand that industry and leadership development is what you really need. The transferable nature of skills developed through a leadership MBA can also help those looking for career versatility and the ability to move between industries. Either way, an MBA in management and leadership can help you advance your career in the direction you want.