Though advancing employees with leadership skills is essential for the future success of a business, a recent survey shows more than half of businesses lack employees with the ability to lead.1

Obtaining leadership skills on the job is challenging, which is why more employees are turning to online programs like Lewis University’s Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership to enhance their career advancement and workplace skills.

Here are five organizational leadership skills that leaders need to succeed in today’s business world:

1. Leading People

Seventy-three percent of businesses surveyed by the Center for Creative Leadership say leading people is the most vital skill needed in the workplace.2 To lead authentically, a manager must be able to direct and motivate a team.

Leaders should identify the strengths of each individual, empowering employees and delegating responsibilities accordingly. Fostering a communication-rich environment and providing opportunities for employees to succeed are among the skills every business wants.

2. Strategic Decision-Making

No matter what the business climate, a leader must be able to make decisions that reflect the best interests of a company’s short-term and long-term goals. In ideal situations, leaders take time to weigh options, consider consequences and stand by their decisions once made.

A strategic decision-maker may rely on team members and others with specific expertise to help support their decisions, using the resources available to make choices in the best interest of the business.

3. Conflict Management

Leaders have to manage conflict in the workplace, which can be a formidable task in some industries. Resolving conflict is about more than choosing sides; it is about weighing the priorities of the parties involved, resolving the situation in an effective way, and learning from the experience as a whole.

Efficient conflict management is not just a valued skill, it is a cost-saving measure. Conflicts can lead to high employee turnover, which is a financial burden to a business.

Statistics from the Center for American Progress show the cost to replace a mid-level employee making $40,000-$50,000 is 20 percent of that salary.3 All the more reason companies want leaders who can manage and resolve conflicts quickly.

4. Participative Management

Companies are not looking for leaders who rule from afar and hand down decisions without collaboration. Progressive business models show participative management, where employees are involved in the decision-making process, can greatly benefit a business.

By being included in the planning, design, and execution phases of a business, employees are more motivated, productive and creatively fulfilled.4

5. Challenging the Status Quo

To promote growth, businesses must go beyond the status quo. A leader must reflect on the company’s goals and employ critical thinking skills and reflection to find innovative ways to elevate the business.

By developing a company culture that promotes creative and abstract thinking, a leader can draw upon his or her work environment for inspiration to offer new solutions to improve productivity and revenue. Change leadership is a fundamental skill for leaders today.5

Students can obtain all these skills in the online Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership at Lewis University. Through this program, students can target their leadership skills through five unique concentrations and three graduate certificates. With the education acquired, students can advance their careers and develop leadership skills to achieve their professional goals.

1 Ernst and Young Survey:
2 Center for Creative Leadership:
3 Center for American Progress:
4 Reference for Business:
5 Jim Collins: