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Tap Into Your Leadership Skills to Become a More Effective Manager

The online Master of Business Administration (MBA) program from Pittsburg State University (PSU) emphasizes the in-depth study of leadership. Students explore the many aspects of leadership that affect managerial effectiveness in the organizational environment. PSU’s MBA degree candidates apply what they learn to practice through an experiential exercise in leadership and team building.

This experiential application of leadership practices transforms knowledge gained from studying leadership skill development. These skills help managers foster team cohesion, build constructive work cultures, improve performance, encourage innovation and inspire employees to achieve shared goals.

After all, managers are the primary leaders of their teams, poised to directly influence employee engagement and performance. By imbuing managerial practices with excellent leadership, managers can maximize the impact of their efforts. Here are a few leadership skillsets that are central drivers of organizational effectiveness and success:

Interpersonal Skills

Respondents to GMAC’s 2021 Corporate Recruiters Survey ranked interpersonal skills number one among the “most important skills for business school graduates.” Similarly, Monster’s 2022 Global Report highlighted two specific interpersonal skills, communication and collaboration, as the two “most important skills employers want.” This set of “soft” skills has become essential in the modern age of collaboration- and innovation-driven business.

Interpersonal skills involve the ways people interact and build positive relationships. For instance, managers who excel at communication can clearly articulate company goals, expectations, guidance and support for employees. This clarity helps employees understand how they should perform and why.

At the same time, open, two-way communication fosters the trust and connection necessary for solid relationships. Supportive, mutualistic relationships create team cohesion and positive work culture. These factors motivate employees to collaborate and work together to achieve shared goals.

Empathy is also a core component of these interpersonal skills. Empathetic managers seek to understand their employees’ feelings, motivations and how to improve their experience. Managers model positive interactions by valuing and demonstrating compassion at the leadership level, engendering an empathetic work culture.

This interpersonal approach can result in cyclic improvements in employee engagement, performance, collaboration, job satisfaction and retention. These are core drivers of modern business success.

The Ability to Motivate and Inspire

As IMD notes, “One of the most effective leadership skills is knowing how to continuously motivate employees.” Leadership brings people together, motivating and inspiring them with a shared purpose. This intersection of motivation and leadership was ranked the second most important skill in GMAC’s survey, just behind interpersonal skills.

Leaders inspire employees by clearly communicating their vision and goals, including why that vision matters and the purpose achieving goals will serve. Encouraging open, honest communication and actively eliciting feedback promotes critical thought, engagement, teamwork and diverse ideas. A manager who incorporates employee critique and ideas into action and strategy shows they value employee input and creative thought. This engagement supports a culture of creativity and innovation, motivating employees to take the initiative, achieve beyond expectations and add value to their team.

Providing ongoing opportunities for targeted professional development can also help motivate and engage employees. At the same time, it creates a culture of continuous growth, improvement and diversified skill development. This progress offers employees long-lasting rewards and skills that will advance their careers while increasing how employees can benefit the organization.

Problem-Solving and Decision-Making

IMD, GMAC and Monster also highlight the importance of problem-solving and decision-making skills. On a practical level, managers must use critical and analytical thought along with all tools and information available to create effective solutions to complex business problems. This ability is the manager’s responsibility as a decision-maker.

As a leader, a manager’s ability to solve problems and make decisions that benefit an organization and its employees builds trust in that manager’s competency. Moreover, confidence in leadership’s competency underlies employee alignment with and investment in company goals, vision and organizational change, which is always essential, especially in times of organizational transformation.

Another critical aspect of leadership and decision-making is the ability to delegate more than simple tasks. Influential leaders recognize the strengths and potential of their employees, delegating decision-making and leadership opportunities to employees who demonstrate aptitude.

Showing employees that their skills and hard work are valued will motivate them to take on more leadership roles and responsibilities. Strategically delegating decision-making to those who deal most directly with the tasks at hand can also make decision-making processes more efficient and less bureaucratic.

Decentralizing decision-making, where appropriate, also frees up a manager’s time to concentrate their efforts on how they can have the most impact. It allows managers to foster open communication, collaboration, creativity, innovation and the motivation that inspires high-performing teams.

Learn more about Pittsburg State University’s online MBA program.

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