Yesterday I attended an MN AMA event on Grown Up Leadership hosted here at St. Thomas. Martha Carlson, an experienced leader and executive coach with The Bailey Group, discussed improving your leadership effectiveness, and understanding more about your personal leadership style and how to be a more mature leader.

What is it that a leader really does? How do they add value to the business? That value comes in the way they lead, not necessarily in doing the work of their department. As Martha put it, “that’s why CEOs get paid the big bucks”–because they take the risk and responsibility for the company, even though they don’t do much of the actual work, or often even know exactly what work is being done. And at every level in a company a leader has different responsibilities. Sometimes it takes a while to settle into those new duties after a promotion because the  “work” changes. Business education is one way you can gain those varying leadership skills.

Being a good leader requires self awareness AND the ability to change the default way you might react to something in order to get a desired result. Our career services office helps UST MBA students with this idea with a variety of assessment tools and coaching to help students understand different interaction and leadership styles. Once a leader understands themselves they can start to better understand their team and each member’s needs, skills and talents.

Another thing Martha pointed out is that leadership is “getting task done with and through others” meaning that a leader isn’t only the “boss” but we each lead in our every day interactions. She also had some very interesting things to say, which actually reminded me of the challenge many MBA applicants face when working on their application essays. In our  questions, we are looking for why you want an MBA and a glimpse of your leadership ability, among other things. Showing an understanding of your leadership style, like Martha discussed, is useful in being able to effectively work on a team–as the leader or not.

Speaking of applications, if you’re still interested in applying there are spring deadlines for UST graduate business degrees.