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Top 5 Crucial Business Skills

In today's complex, global economy, it's crucial for business leaders to excel in a variety of areas to successfully run their organizations. They must motivate diverse workforces across multiple locations, inspire their staff, network with new customers, and possess an understanding of all functional areas of business - all the while adapting to rapidly changing environments.  Those who master these aspects of business are in demand in today's business marketplace.

Beyond fluency in critical business disciplines, there is a select skillset that transforms a capable business leader into an exceptional one; an individual who is defined as a visionary, strategic thinker, passionately competitive and able to overcome challenges to achieve success in the face of adversity - all skills you can learn in an online Master of Business Administration program. 

The common thread in becoming an exceptional leader is to possess and nurture these top five crucial business skills:

Critical thinking

Strong leaders have the ability to apply logical reasoning when sorting, reviewing, monitoring or assessing various problems, goals or purposes. When engaged in critical thinking, an individual ultimately must seek to bring clarity, precision, accuracy, relevance and sound judgement to these issues1.

With critical thinking, business leaders and team members can apply logic  to addressing the strengths and weaknesses of potential solutions when tackling problems and challenges within an organization2.

Solving complex problems

Business leaders and team members will inevitably find themselves navigating through unique problems in the workplace. Companies need leaders skilled in identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to formulate and evaluate potential solutions that can be implemented to benefit the company, its customers or its partners3.

Decision-making abilities

Every business leader must make decisions, but the methodology used can vary widely. Some executives rely on their instincts more than in-depth analysis. They assemble a big picture understanding of a situation given readily available inputs and previous experience. Other executives think the best way to make the right choices is to consider every data point. Some executives alternate or combine the two methods.

It's critical for leaders to have a firm understanding of the different areas of business and apply decision-making methodologies that will yield the optimum results for their organization.

Active listening and communication

Active listening calls for providing full attention to the person who is speaking, which means listening to what the other person is saying versus anticipating a response. It's about listening to understand, not just to respond.

In doing so, business leaders and team members can ultimately build a strong rapport, grounded by understanding and trust with employees, customers and partners4.

Cross-functional knowledge

Cross-functional knowledge provides business leaders and team members with the skills to interact, understand and collaborate with a multitude of people across a variety of departments, as well as with customers and partners. This cross-functional knowledge allows leaders to foster collaboration between different areas of business to drive operational excellence and achieve business results.

Experience is certainly an important way to hone these crucial skills over time. In addition, there are advanced education options focused on mastering business acumen and the skills required to become an exceptional leader. The Manhattan College online M.B.A. offers multi-course academic modules, including Analysis and Risk Management, Leadership and Social Justice and Organizations and the Competitive Environment.

To learn about the M.B.A. online offering from Manhattan College, click here or call (855) 841-2843 to speak with the Admissions office.

1Foundation For Critical Thinking, Center for Critical Thinking

2Forbes, The 10 Skills That Will Get You Hired In 2013

3O*Net OnLine, Skills — Complex Problem Solving Skills

4PsychCentral, Become a Better Listener: Active Listening