Decision making is a key leadership skill.
What is it that distinguishes 'good' leaders from 'mediocre' ones? Is it their decision-making abilities, their charismatic persuasiveness, or the clarity of their vision? Do great leaders have these qualities naturally, or were they acquired at college?
The good news is that you can learn to be a leader, just as long as you put in the time needed to learn the fundamental skills needed. How these skills are applied on a day-to-day basis, however, is what sets good leaders apart from mediocre ones.
So, if you want to be a better leader, what specifically do you need to learn to do? Do you need to go business school to learn these things? Or can you learn them on the job?
J. Sterling Livingston, a professor at Harvard Business School, attempted to answer these questions by studying the connection between formal education and successful leadership. In 1971, he published "The Myth of the Well-Educated Manager" in the Harvard Business Review.
One of Livingston's conclusions was that a formal business education, such as an MBA, was not a good predictor of leadership success in the long term. This finding is much less surprising today than it was back in the early 1970s. However, his other main observation is as relevant today as it was back then – namely, that four key skills define successful leadership:
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