3 executive leadership trends students in MBA programs need to know about

September 21, 2016

Traditional command-and-control leadership is conceding to empowerment, personalization and flexibility strategies. Learn more in this blog!

Professor talking to MBA class

To navigate the complex challenges faced by businesses today, successful leaders are adapting their organizational strategies to integrate more effective communication, employee empowerment, and flexible practices. CEOs around the world are rightly investing in leadership development, recognizing that it constitutes an essential role in thriving companies.

While individual priorities will inevitably vary depending on contextual factors, there are a relatively few leadership trends that a wide variety of organizations have identified as catalysts for effective improvement. World-class MBA programs such as the WU Executive Academy analyze state-of-the-art applications of emerging management models and other international best practices to develop forward-thinking leaders.    

Here are three leadership trends becoming more important in today's top organizations.

Developing employee empowerment strategies in MBA courses

As technology shifts, globalization and changing consumer preferences are creating new challenges for staying competitive and corporate culture is gradually evolving to become more democratic, dynamic, and sophisticated. Traditional top-down, command-and-control leadership is giving way to more inclusive approaches that empower employees and provide meaningful support.

One man writing on a whiteboard and another watching. Both smiling.
Employee empowerment may require additional leadership training

Effective leadership balances the needs of the organization with those of employees, nurturing new leaders to react with agility to changing conditions. With baby boomers retiring at an alarming rate, millennials are assuming more early leadership positions, leveraging their intimate understanding of emerging technologies and key consumer markets. However, significant investments in leadership development training may be necessary to fill the skills gaps in these rising stars.     

MBA school presents techniques for encouraging diverse perspectives

Managers that actively encourage employees to contribute ideas for performance improvement may mitigate potential biases, basing decisions on broader analysis. Students in MBA courses will find that more and more leaders are embracing interactivity, expanding communication channels to talk personally and transparently with employees.

A group of MBA students discussing
Open offices and expanded communication channels can encourage meaningful contributions

Demonstrating authentic interest and listening attentively to expressed concerns inspires trust and initiative taking, nurturing engaged brand ambassadors from within. To overcome the risk of condescension and one-way communications, leaders must instil the genuine values, norms and behaviors that welcome productive dialogue.

Large or growing companies may consider adapting communication characteristics of thriving start-ups to promote operational flexibility and tighter strategic alignment, providing the tools and structural support to motivate meaningful contributions. Companies such as Athenahealth have gone so far as to treat each employee as an "insider," entrusted with sensitive strategic and financial information.

MBA program techniques for integrating company flexibility

With world economies picking up speed, engaging employees with empowering work and meaningful benefits could make the difference between retaining and losing your key talent. Many companies have been striving to make their compensation plans and leave time more competitive. As the next generations become a more influential business force, traditional workplace structures are beginning to shift toward more open office designs, mixing collaborative spaces with comfortable individual working stations.

Valuing personalization and results over structure, millennials are increasingly prioritizing workplaces that offer telecommuting. While MBA program students understand the potential efficiencies and employee satisfaction that these arrangements can create, they also necessitate an adjustment in leadership communication style to ensure sustained business success.

Are you interested in a world-class MBA school?

Contact WU Executive Academy to learn how our MBA programs are designed to meet the challenges of today's competitive business environments. 

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