The list of challenges could run on and on – just ask any CEO. But for those getting a graduate degree in leadership, it helps to know there are certain issues that stand out above others. The combination of strategic and soft skills learned in a leadership program puts graduates in the best position possible to handle these challenges. But that doesn’t mean they are easy. Here are five of the biggest – although by no means not the only – issues business leaders face.
Developing Leadership Effectiveness
In a survey of leaders around the globe, a recent study found that this ranked among the top half dozen issues leaders are concerned about. It makes sense if you think about it like sports – every team plays the same game by the same rules and draws from the same talent pool. It’s the leaders (coaches, coordinators, assistants) who make the difference. The same is true for business leadership. In a competitive environment, businesses with the best-trained leaders have the best chance for success. Issues mentioned by those surveyed included communication, time management, strategic thinking and decision-making.
Process improvement doesn’t sound very exciting, but every leadership student knows exactly what this is about. Areas such as project management and methodologies such as Lean, Six Sigma and Agile have become critical in the modern workplace. It’s not just about continuing to do what you do well, but also find ways to do things better (as in more effective and efficient). It’s a continuous process, and only leaders can make sure it happens.
The Aging Workforce
There’s no way around the fact that the country’s population is aging and Baby Boomers are retiring – about 10,000 reach the age of 65 every day. That’s an amazing statistic and a major alarm bell for business leaders. Facing a “brain drain” of seasoned workers, they must now find ways to attract and retain talented workers to take their place.
In an environment where finding new employees can prove tough because of the competitive job market, many companies have taken steps to work harder in identifying and training those already on staff who show leadership talent. Those who wish to stand out also can help themselves by earning a graduate degree in leadership, volunteering for important projects and working hard to improve their leadership skills.
Technology and Data
These two items might be on this list for the foreseeable future. Technology clearly has already impacted every industry. But the potential for automation, machine learning and the Internet of Things has just been tapped. Data is the same. While companies have become expert at collecting data, not all have done such a great job in using it to drive strategy. Tomorrow’s leaders will want to do a better job of that or run the risk of getting left behind. These are just some of the bigger issues facing business leaders. Leadership has never been easy, but today’s business world is more complex than ever. Earning a graduate or doctorate degree in leadership can help develop the skills needed to get the top jobs in many industries.