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A leader without education is often using instinct to make decisions. While this can be effective, a leader with education is much more likely to make good decisions for the company and its stakeholders. However, don’t jump up and sign up for your MBA just yet! I think that leaders should learn critical thinking skills, advanced/specialized industry knowledge, emotional intelligence, and technical skills because each of these skills will benefit the person learning them and the organization they work for. You can learn most, if not all of these things, outside of a college or university.

Critical Thinking Skills

A leader in any field would benefit from strong critical thinking skills because they have been shown to improve a person’s ability to problem-solve. Since every person will deal with problems, these skills can be used to benefit an individual learning the skills as well as the organization they work for. Learning can foster critical thinking skills if it encourages the learner to think about why a topic is important rather than learning facts about the topic. Not sure where to start to enhance these skills? Try our On The Job Activity Builder.

Advanced Knowledge

An advanced degree provides more specialized education in a specific discipline. For example, if a business leader obtains a degree in psychology, it is more likely they will understand how the mind works. They can use this knowledge to motivate employees more effectively and build better relationships with clients rather than theoretical knowledge. Another example is a leader obtaining a degree in finance or business. Rather than buying heedlessly during a bull market or panicking during a bear market, a leader with a degree in finance will understand that these are trends and can change at any moment.

Emotional Intelligence

Building emotional intelligence is something that leaders can learn to do. As mentioned, some leaders might have an instinctual understanding of emotional intelligence, but building emotional intelligence can help leaders consider their feelings. This pause can allow the leader to move past their emotions rather than make a hasty or wrong decision because of them. Emotional intelligence can also be tied to critical thinking because a leader can learn why they are experiencing that emotion. Need more help? Get your EQ tested by a pro!

Technical Skills

Every leader needs to know technical skills related to the business or organization they are a part of. For example, a project leader may need to know technical skills such as how to code, even the basic level of coding necessary for HTML. That same leader could benefit from learning project planning or scheduling. On the other hand, a data entry manager should have a firm grasp on technical skills, such as email, statistical analysis, and numeracy.

Education can make a vast difference for any person in a leadership position. By learning these things, a person can lead a team more effectively. Learning and practicing emotional intelligence will allow a leader to make rational decisions rather than being led by ego or emotion. More education can allow a leader to focus on what is essential, whether that means developing a top-notch team of employees or accruing wealth for a company. By attaining a higher level of education, leaders will be able to solve problems effectively while avoiding pitfalls.

To learn more tips on how to be a great leader, take the leadership agility assessment!

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