Having capable, talented, and passionate leaders is crucial for any business to thrive, regardless of its size or the industry it operates in. Therefore if you are hoping to progress to a leadership position within your current company or the wider field you’re in, there are lots of key abilities that you should be thinking about developing. From communication and change management to team building and strategic thinking, good leaders must be well-rounded individuals with a broad variety of talents.
There are, of course, many different ways that you can develop your leadership skills, but one of the most effective methods is to take a masters in leadership online. These programs are ideal for those who want to develop all the tools necessary to lead and empower people and organisations to succeed and grow in a personal and professional capacity themselves. The degree covers a wide and interesting curriculum to help you become a genuinely inspiring leader who brings out the best in those that work under them.
This article will take a closer look at the masters in leadership online program, including the type of topics you will focus on and the sort of skills you will develop. It will also cover some specific benefits and considerations in terms of online study and the next steps if you want to enroll.
What is amasters in leadership online program?
A masters in leadership online program is a postgraduate level qualification aimed at people who wish to move up into managerial or other leadership roles within either their current organisation or a new company. It’s also suitable for those already working in such roles, who wish to boost their skills in order to do their job more successfully.
The course can usually be completed in as little as a year, although if you wish to study on a part-time basis, then it’s common to do it over two years. This means that it’s possible to take the program at the same time as working your current job, meaning you don’t have to put your career on hold whilst on the course. In order to be eligible for the program, you normally need to have a bachelor’s degree (or higher); however, there are few restrictions on the subject you majored in.
As an online course, you are not required to attend classes on campus as you would with a traditional masters program. Instead, you will study virtually, using a wide variety of methods such as live or pre-recorded lectures, discussion groups and forums, videos and audio materials, reading, written assignments, and more.
Just as with traditional courses, you will have close contact with faculty members, but rather than in person, it will be via email, video chat, messaging, or phone. Similarly, you will have virtual access to a range of college services such as the library and careers center to ensure that you get the maximum benefit from your masters in leadership online.
What will I study on a masters in leadership online?
A masters in leadership online program is intended to help you discover your personal leadership style, develop your leadership skills, and prepare you for high-level job roles in your chosen industry. To do this, you will study a selection of academic modules on relevant topics. Some of these will be compulsory, while you may have the chance to choose others from a list of optional modules.
The exact titles available to you will differ according to the college you study with, but the following gives you an overview of the sort of topics you can expect to cover:
Organisational Structure and Behaviour
Communication for Leaders and Managers
Leadership and Diversity
Leading the Digital World
Human Resource Management
Building Organisational Culture
Leadership and Values
Personal Leadership Development
Strategy Development and Implementation
Mentoring and Coaching
Some programs may also offer you a choice of different specialisations, which will have an impact on the modules you can pick.
In addition to the modules you take, you will also be required to complete a capstone project. This is where you put what you have been learning into practice and demonstrate your mastery of the subject area. It normally involves conducting an in-depth case study of a real-world situation, in which you will identify, analyse, and provide a solution for a leadership problem. You will be able to tailor this project to suit your specific interests and career aspirations. As such, many students find it the most stimulating and rewarding part of the program.
What skills will I develop through doing a masters in leadership online?
You can probably tell from the list of modules above that doing a masters in leadership online will help you gain a wide variety of different skills relevant for high-level managerial roles. After all, ‘leadership’ is not one ability but the combination of many. Some of the skills you can expect to work on include:
Managing, mediating, and resolving conflicts between people and teams
Motivating and inspiring others to be more productive and work towards a shared vision
Seizing opportunities and affecting change to solve a wide range of organisational issues and problems
Responding with confidence to external changes
Developing a big-picture perspective that encompasses different departments, functions, locations, and methodologies
This is in addition to gaining technical knowledge about all different facets of an organisation and how they work together, plus understanding the legal, ethical, and political responsibilities of being a leader. The best part is that there is no single set way that you have to do this. You can discover your own personal leadership style and bring that into your studies and the career you embark on after your masters in leadership online.
You will also develop plenty of skills that are more general and transferable and therefore useful even before you take up a leadership position. For instance, these include written and verbal communication, time management, organisation, presentation, teamwork, confidence, critical thinking, and self-discipline.
All of this will put you in a strong position when it comes to applying for leadership roles either within your current company or externally, no matter what field of business you work in. The program can therefore be a huge boost to your employability and job security. Plus, because these high-level jobs tend to come with correspondingly higher salaries, you are also likely to see an increase in your earnings and financial stability.
What are the advantages of studying for a masters in leadership online?
Virtual learning is soaring in popularity, and there are many advantages to be gained from studying for your masters in leadership online. Firstly there’s the flexibility; online study means that you can learn at the times of day and days of the week that best suit you, enabling you to fit your degree around any existing work or family commitments as well as your hobbies and social life. It also allows you to study at a location that works best for you, whether that’s in the bustle of a coffee shop or the peace and quiet of a home office. This adaptability extends beyond simply time and place – it also means you can study at a pace that suits you and in the manner that best fits your personal learning style.
Another benefit of online study is that it widens the field of potential colleges you can apply to. This is because you’re no longer restricted by institutions that are in commuting range or ones in a location that you would be willing or able to move to. Nowadays, you’re free to take courses with colleges all across the country – or even the world – from the comfort of your own home. Likewise, distance learning can actually be a more affordable option, both because the fees are often lower and because you don’t have to worry about the cost of commuting or term-time accommodation.
Finally, online courses can even offer you a broader skillset than a traditional campus course. This is due to the fact that, in addition to the subject knowledge and experience you acquire, you will also be learning a variety of technical skills. Virtual degrees utilize a range of modern technology to facilitate learning, much of which is also used in the business world, and so the experience you get using it will likely be helpful in your future career too.
Are there any disadvantages to doing a masters in leadership online?
If you choose to take your masters in leadership online, there are no specific disadvantages as such; however, there are certain factors that you should take into consideration. Firstly, as the program is entirely online, your study experience will be different. For example, you won’t be able to go to a coffee shop after lectures with your fellow students or socialise together in a bar in the evenings. Therefore if you’re hoping to have the full, traditional college experience with sports games, extracurricular activities, and late nights studying in the campus library, an online course might not be the best choice for you.
Having said that, you will, of course, be able to socialise and network with your cohort virtually, so there’s no reason you can’t make lifelong friends during the program. All it means is that you might have to make a little more effort to make connections because you won’t be physically in the same room.
Similarly, you may find that you need to be a little bit more disciplined with your studies when taking an online course. It will be entirely up to you to log on, do your reading and other assignments, and meet all of your deadlines – there won’t be anyone with you to check up on you. For many people, this freedom and responsibility is actually a benefit though, plus it will help you develop vital skills such as organisation and time management.
Remember that you’re not alone, though. Just because faculty members are not in the same physical location as you doesn’t mean that you don’t have their full support. If you are struggling or you need any guidance, they are always at the other end of a phone call or email.
What are the next steps if I want to take a masters in leadership online?
For those who are interested in taking a masters in leadership online, the first step is to start researching the courses that are available. Have a think about whether you want to study part-time or full-time, then take a look at the modules that different colleges offer. That way, you can narrow it down to two or three courses that truly align with your interests and career aspirations. After making sure that you meet the entry requirements, it will be time to start putting together your applications.
To apply, you will likely need certificates and transcripts from your undergraduate studies, academic or professional references, and a certain level of work experience. You may also be asked to write a personal essay about why you want to take the course. This is an important part of the application, so be sure to take your time over it and re-read it thoroughly for spelling and grammar errors before submitting it. Keep an eye on all the relevant deadlines too.
At this stage, it’s also a good idea to start looking into options for financial aid. See what scholarships there are available, or speak to your current company to find out whether they might be willing to sponsor your studies if you agree to continue working for them for a certain amount of time after graduating. Remember, scholarships often have earlier deadlines compared to course applications, so check carefully to be sure you don’t miss out.
Once you get the good news that you’ve been accepted, you can get started on the reading list and any pre-course study requirements – that way, you can ensure you hit the ground running when the semester begins!