In every thriving workplace, you’ll find outstanding leadership at the helm. Bestowing a management title on someone does not inherently make them an effective leader. Similarly, you can cultivate leadership skills even without an official leadership role. We all know that being promoted does not guarantee that you will gain management skills, but what does it take to become a great leader? While there are countless personalities and leadership styles at the head of successful companies, a closer study reveals that great leaders have quite a few things in common.
What do successful leaders have in common?
When it comes to the qualities of a great leader, a few characteristics consistently rise to the top. When you think about the best boss you’ve ever had, a business leader you admire, or a public figure you respect, they likely possess these traits.
Successful leaders are self-aware and emotionally intelligent.
If you’ve spent time working for a bad leader, you know that they almost never consider themselves to be one. Prone to poor decision-making, sudden outbursts, and an inability to read the room correctly, these leaders make work more difficult for their subordinates.
In contrast, great leaders know how to control their emotions, even in heightened moments, and they know who they are and what they bring to the table. According to Forbes, self-awareness is a critical skill for every leader. It enables them to fill positions on their team according to potential gaps in their own leadership skills.
Successful leaders focus on both people and purpose.
The best leaders know that showing empathy is not a sign of weakness; it’s a sign of strength. To build a successful business, you need to create a team of people who feel valued and heard in the workplace. When you make a culture of care and trust in the office, people are inspired to do their best work. Higher productivity and lower employee turnover rates have been linked to laughter in the workplace, which can only come when people feel as though they’re a part of the team instead of just employees who punch the clock.
Just as they value people, all good leaders have the foresight to envision a greater purpose in their work and steer their organization toward it. Visionaries lead companies well because they’re able to work out immediate problems or urgent concerns without losing sight of the bigger picture.
Successful leaders are authentic and accountable.
Today, more than ever, leaders have permission to be themselves instead of trying to fit the “standard” of what a leader typically looks like. When you are aware of your strengths and willing to work within your limits, you appear genuine and relatable to those in your employ. When you bring your authentic self into the office, your employees realize that they can trust you. That trust matters when difficult situations arise.
Just as you know your strengths, it’s essential to know and acknowledge your weaknesses, too. No leader has it all, and even the best managers make the wrong decisions from time to time. Owning your workplace mistakes or missteps, rather than shifting the blame away from yourself, inspires loyalty and respect.
Successful leaders are both decisive and wise.
When the pressure is on, bad leaders freeze — but great leaders take action. As you rise through the ranks at any organization, business decisions carry more weight. Often, they also need to be made quickly. Weighing options quickly and choosing a decisive path will keep your workplace from grinding to a halt.
However, not every quick decision is a good one. Great leaders draw on their experience and education to make wise decisions that benefit their companies. And when they fall short or make the wrong decision, they own their mistakes instead of blaming others. This is an important kind of wisdom for leaders to possess.
Successful leaders empower and galvanize other leaders.
As leaders grow, they learn from difficult situations, gain powerful insights into business and relationships, and persevere with integrity. Along the way, they inspire others to do the same. In short, great leaders create more great leaders and build a loyal team of employees.
When a good leader recognizes management skills in someone else, they provide opportunities for that employee to further hone that talent. Micromanagement will always limit a company’s success because without scalability, a solitary leader will become overworked and under-resourced. By empowering others to lead, the entire company will benefit from a better balance in leadership.
How does an MBA shape you into a great leader?
There are many paths to becoming an effective leader, but a Master in Business Administration (MBA) can provide you with an immediate boost. Ambitious working professionals will find that an MBA offers invaluable training and provides a wide variety of tools that reach far beyond the basics of business and into leadership development at the highest level.
Whether you’re looking to shift into business administration from another field or hope to further your studies after an undergraduate degree, earning an MBA will hone your skills in business management and leadership simultaneously. In your course of study, you’ll learn how to see business from a big-picture perspective, think critically about business challenges and potential issues in today’s workplaces, and gain expertise in your desired field.
In addition to the tangible business skills you’ll gain through an MBA program, you will also cultivate many intangible skills that make a great leader. Throughout your coursework, you will collaborate with other students, learn interpersonal skills, and develop character traits that will help you as you enter the workforce or get promoted into a leadership role. The qualities that all great leaders possess are never cultivated in a vacuum. Instead, they develop through the kind of real-world experience that an MBA provides.
An MBA can also offer financial success and career stability. The Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) found that new hires with MBAs in 2020 received offers with starting salaries that averaged $115,000. There are many opportunities for career advancement in business management, which means that holding an MBA makes you a valuable asset in the workforce.
Earn Your MBA from Suffolk University
If you’re ready to find the best MBA for leadership, earn your degree at Suffolk University. Our online MBA curriculum allows students to learn in an experiential setting, collaborating with others as they learn how to solve real-world problems, guided by top business professionals. Earning your MBA from Suffolk University Online is perfect for prospective students already in the workforce. Our coursework offers you the ability to complete a degree in just four semesters, with the flexibility you need to balance your career and education. At Suffolk, you’ll prepare for real world challenges through live projects that strengthen your mental agility and teach you how to navigate situations with emotional intelligence.
If you want to sharpen your management skills, aim for future promotions into leadership positions, or make a career change to business administration, an MBA from Suffolk University can help you get there. Jeanlee, a 2021 MBA graduate, chose to pursue her MBA at Suffolk “because the program focused on real-world skills that I felt would help me move my career forward. In addition, given that I work full-time during the day, the fully online format of the program worked wonderfully with my schedule.” Ryan, another recent Suffolk graduate, “couldn’t imagine a better program where I had the ability to do an MBA with enough flexibility, while simultaneously feeling like I’m actually in the classroom. With an MBA, I now have the confidence and background to seek management positions at my company or elsewhere if I desire.”
Join Jeanlee, Ryan, and countless others in earning your MBA from Suffolk University Online and discover how this innovative program can take you to new heights as a leader. Connect with an enrollment advisor today to get started.