Leadership development: What does a leader look like?

If someone asked you to give an example of a leader, what would you say? The MD of your company? The famous CEO of a world-dominating tech firm? A prominent political figure maybe?

The people in these roles are certainly all leaders, but these days the term is broader than these traditional archtypes, and it extends beyond the obvious. Indeed, the image of a leader may be less defined today than ever before. So, how and why is the concept of leadership evolving?

A fast-evolving economy

The contemporary business landscape is changing rapidly and entrepreneurialism is thriving. As a result, people in all kinds of positions can now consider themselves leaders, not just those in senior management roles.

The ‘gig economy’ – a growing movement towards independent, freelance working – means more and more professionals are becoming self-employed and completely in control of their own brands - and you needn’t look far for signs of the shift. Globally, the number of gig workers is currently estimated at 20% of the active working population, and this is set to rise to around 40% by 2025.

The world’s largest media company doesn’t own any content, the world’s largest taxi firm doesn’t own any taxis, and the world’s largest accommodation firm doesn’t own any hotels. What Facebook, Uber and Airbnb have instead is driven people leading their own ventures; content creators, drivers and property owners turning their own assets into fruitful careers.

What’s more, in 2017 $19 billion was invested in European business start-ups – an increase of 32 per cent from 2016.

Rather than rising to the top of long-established organisations, many of today’s leaders are creating new opportunities and establishing themselves through their own ventures. This shift means that leadership skills are more valuable than ever before.


Building leaders that never stop learning

Management degrees provide the perfect opportunity to invest in leadership development. Not all of these programmes are built equal, however.

For example, the Leadership Development course of our Online MBA has been carefully designed to give participants the tools and insight they need to lead confidently in their fields - and get the best possible return on their investment.

Covering all of the important elements of business leadership, such as goal-setting, feedback provision, support and action-planning, the course spans the timeframe of the entire MBA, and is delivered 100% online using a number of innovative and engaging study techniques. You’ll take part in synchronous classes and group sessions, for example, while having access to immersive video materials and interactive assignments.

However, our approach to leadership development extends far beyond your MBA graduation date. You’ll learn techniques and disciplines in self-reflection that will ensure you continue to progress as a leader throughout your career, building on your strengths and learning to adapt your thinking to overcome personal and professional challenges.

“The Leadership Development module was my favourite on a personal level, as it made me so much more aware of who I am and of those around me,” explains Online MBA participant, Sander Maebe.

“I learnt what my qualities are, how to approach certain situations and how to further develop myself.”

Leaders creating leaders

Most importantly, our Leadership Development course benefits from the passion and experience of course leader, Professor of Leadership and Coaching, Katleen De Stobbeleir.

Katleen is an bona fide expert in the field, having dedicated her career to coaching everyone from students to senior managers and executives to become better leaders in their own professional lives. Her research on leadership has been published in several international books and journals, and she uses innovative techniques to pass on her knowledge to audiences around the world. For example, Katleen uses a 360° Feedback Instrument, which allows participants to be given regular feedback from both peers and tutors, while also assessing their own work to create a constructive feedback loop.

Acknowledging that taking the role of a leader may not be easy is part of Katleen’s mantra, but rising to the challenge is all part of an ongoing personal development journey.

“To me, good leadership is like a good roller coaster - it's exhilarating and thrilling”, she says.

“But leadership can also be quite scary. Yet it's precisely that mix between thrill and anxiety that makes you feel alive.

“On the Leadership Development course, we will not settle for merry-go-round leadership, but we will go for the real thing. My job is to stimulate you to take the ride, to go out of your comfort zone, and to learn to enjoy the thrill of leadership.”

So, if you’re ready to join the ranks of tomorrow’s business leaders and develop your leadership capaibilites, our dynamic Online MBA could be exactly what you need.

Learn more about our Online MBA by requesting information today.


Accreditations & rankings

  • Association of MBAs
  • The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
  • Financial Times