4 leadership tips from renowned business professionals

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The Washington State University Carson College of Business’s Master of Business Administration online program was designed to help you make the leap from employee to elite business leader. Our base curriculum, which includes courses in accounting, marketing, management and more, is structured to guide you through the tools and information necessary to thrive in a modern business environment. In addition to taking away leadership advice from the online MBA, some of the best lessons come from modern leaders themselves. Read below for 4 leadership tips from some of the world’s most renowned business professionals:

1. Focus on specific goals

In a conversation with Fast Company, Raji Arasu, the chief technology officer for StubHub, directed her advice towards women in the tech industry. “Narrow in on one goal that inspires and challenges you,” she told them. However, the wisdom she gave is universal. Having a focus keeps distractions at bay, and choosing a subject that both challenges and inspires you prevents you from becoming complacent.
Part of being focused involves directing your education towards your interests. If you enroll in The Carson College’s online MBA program, you’ll have the option to choose one of four concentrations to focus on. These were designed to tailor your educational experience to a specific area of business to better prepare you for a career in your field of choosing. Your four concentration options are:

• Finance
• Hospitality Business Management
• International Business
• Marketing

If you haven’t yet decided on a focus, you can still enroll in our general track of the online MBA. This track allows you to pick three electives from any of the concentration courses as a way to help “concentrate” your education.

Having a goal helps focus your education and future career.

2. Include the perspectives of your team members

This advice comes from the former chief executive officer of Cold Stone Creamery. He now acts as a coach for other CEOs worldwide. When speaking with Forbes, Harris noted that leaders are only as good as their ability to motivate others into action. “Inspiring followership is the result of seeking input from others more than giving it,” he said.

As such, the best leaders understand that this kind of inspiration does not come by acting as the sole decision-maker. Rather, great leaders take on more of an open role, soliciting feedback in a way that takes everyone’s opinions into account, not just their own.

What does this mean for you as a future business leader? When making decisions, solicit information from your team to get their perspective. Not only can this help you arrive at a more informed conclusion, it also makes your employees feel more appreciated and valued.

In a similar vein, ask for input on your effectiveness as a leader. Continuous improvement is important for any employee, and you can only do so with feedback from others. Asking for details helps you identify problematic areas you might overlook. For example, one staff member might note that you take a little too long when responding to crucial questions over email. This delays their work in turn, possibly leading to missed deadlines. It’s possible you may have overlooked this habit if you hadn’t asked for feedback.

3. Persist through setbacks

Having successfully turned her eBay vintage clothing store into one of the fastest-growing apparel brands of the internet age, NastyGal creator Sophia Amoruso knows firsthand the importance of perseverance. Amoruso had a troubled past and no business or retail experience before founding her company. Now, per Forbes, she’s one of the world’s richest self-made women, and her book inspired the Netflix series Girlboss, on which Amoruso serves as one of the executive producers.

In a conversation with CreativeLive, an online education platform, Amoruso stressed the importance of perseverance in her path to success. “Don’t give up, don’t take anything personally and don’t take no for an answer,” she advised. Amoruso noted that many didn’t take her seriously as she built her business. However, as NastyGal sales increased and Amoruso started becoming successful, these same people became eager to work with her.

You might find yourself in a similar situation as you consider whether or not to get your online MBA. Friends or family members may try to dissuade you from the idea and provide a multitude of reasons why. However, thanks to programs like Washington State University’s online MBA curriculum, it’s never been easier for parents, active military members, veterans and working adults to get their master’s degree. The 100% online nature of your assignments gives you more flexibility when studying, so you’re better able to attend school, no matter where you are or what other obligations you have.

Perseverance is vital for entrepreneurship.

4. Prioritize values when making decisions

During an interview with Jim Cramer of CNBC’s Mad Money, Tim Cook said, “People should have values, so by extension, a company should.” He explained that values should be the driving factor of an organization. People have their own cherished beliefs, and those ideas shouldn’t disappear just because these individuals are part of a group known as a corporation. Rather, the business itself should declare values based on the makeup of its employees.

From a leadership perspective, this idea means you should let values influence every decision you make. For example, if you’re sorting through vendor options and sustainability is listed as a priority for your company, choose the supplier with the smallest carbon footprint. Alternatively, if creating a supportive work environment is a value, give employees constructive feedback. By seeing you make decisions that support the company’s stated values rather than contradict them, your teams will likely feel more positively about their employer and be more inclined to follow your lead.

Becoming a leader at Washington State University’s Carson College of Business

The Carson College of Business’ online MBA program is a great way to build the knowledge base to take your career to the next level. Our four concentrations and general business track allow you to tailor your educational experience to your interests, which can help you become a strong leader in whichever field you choose.

Recommended Readings:
Your Roles as a Leader in the Company Culture
Five Business Leaders Making an Impact