Businesses focus on making money. That requires leaders who understand finance and business strategy. However, companies around the world have learned that success in business is tied to having motivated, happy employees who rally together to achieve goals.
Accomplishing that requires good leadership. Becoming a leader involves developing a very specific skill set that incorporates people skills, motivational methods and understanding the cultural impact of leadership, among others.
That’s why universities have developed graduate degree programs that focus on leadership and how it applies in certain industries, such as higher education.
Programs such as these differ from MBA programs, which focus more on business fundamentals in areas such as accounting, finance and entrepreneurship. An MA in Leadership focuses on leadership theory, research and developing leadership skills.
The Importance of Great Leadership
Sometimes, a company can stand in its own way. Many spend millions on technology to make their operations more efficient. But they fail to focus on employees and the good leadership skills needed to motivate them and make a business as successful as possible.
Leadership also plays a role in attracting the best job candidates and developing programs to retrain those already on staff. That’s a very important factor in a market where low unemployment means job applicants often have plenty of choices for where they want to work.
As Forbes reported, the retention and job satisfaction of employees has a direct correlation to success. Businesses want the kind of culture where employees want to come to work each day and feel motivated to put their best effort into a common goal. Strong leadership goes a long way to achieving that culture.
What Skills Do Leaders Need?
Soft skills are often mentioned when it comes to leaders, and with good reason. Many people have the technical and business skills to operate a company. But they lack the soft skills to get the most out of employees and themselves.
The Harvard Business Review lists a number of skills that are important for “strategic leadership.” They include anticipating threats and opportunities for organizations, challenging current opinion, solid decision-making abilities and getting buy-in from everyone involved with a project, even if they hold different views.
Continuous learning is also important to the process – not just for employees, but also for leaders.
Many other soft skills are important to leadership, including strong ethics, communications skills, ability to delegate and enthusiasm for the company’s goals.
These skills can make a business better by building trust with employees. That’s something needed in the world of business. About one in every three employees does not trust their company’s management, according to research cited by the Society for Human Resource Management.
Leadership In Higher Education
Those who want to take on leadership roles can learn all the above from a quality master’s degree program in leadership. They also can focus on a specific industry, including higher education.
Higher education presents its own unique set of challenges. The higher education leadership program from Concordia University-Chicago offers graduates not only an education in leadership skills, but also a chance to learn about the globalization of higher education.
Emphasis also is put on how technology and diversity continue to impact higher education, which faces more economic challenges than ever. Part of the challenge is in attracting and retaining students, as well as marketing a university in an increasingly competitive environment.
Those who enter a master’s degree program in leadership may work outside the private business world or higher education. For example, graduates often go on to careers in government or working for a nonprofit. Specific jobs can include information officer, strategic planner, project manager or sales director.
Good leadership is needed everywhere. For those who want the best preparation for leading organizations in the 21st century, a master’s degree in leadership can provide the education they need.