Shifting your career into a higher gear

When it comes to career progression and moving into leadership, it’s commonly assumed that it happens as a reward for length of service with a company; those who’ve been there the longest are more likely to get a management position. This idea, however, doesn’t take into account what businesses need – or look for – from their leaders and managers.

No company allows unsuitable or unqualified people to take on senior responsibilities, so while management roles may typically be given to longer-serving employees, it’s likely those candidates have spent their time honing and refining their leadership skills and demonstrating their abilities.

Can the timeframe be shortened?

For the average graduate, it takes around 20 years from obtaining a Bachelors degree to taking a leadership role, giving the impression that managers are selected from the ‘time served’ category. The issue for businesses, however, is that global demand for leadership is rising faster than the supply of suitable leaders, giving opportunities to those looking for advancement.

While people think leadership comes with experience, it’s not always the case. Leadership is comprised of unique skillsets which work together on multiple levels. While an experienced member of staff may know what needs to be done in a particular situation, if they fail to communicate this effectively, can’t negotiate with other departments or can’t create innovative solutions to unforeseen problems, they’re not demonstrating good leadership.

No bad habits and proving knowledge

Businesses focus on success, meaning their primary concern is finding the right person to fulfil the role. While longer-serving members of staff may have a history with the company from which to draw examples of leadership ability, with the right qualifications even new members of staff can show they have what it takes.

To this end, the University of York has three Masters degrees in Leadership and Management, giving you the chance to prove your skills. These 100% online MSc courses are a flexible and affordable way to study when it suits you, allowing you to keep your current job without taking study leave and apply what you learn with your current employer. Working through business-critical skills such as effective communication, critical approaches to problem solving and an understanding of professional development, you can start to demonstrate your capabilities right away.

The opportunity to get a degree from a prestigious Russell Group university without taking time away from your career may sound appealing in its own right, but each course is also pay-per-module and has six start dates throughout the year, meaning that there are no large up-front costs and you can begin whenever it suits you. You might also be entitled to a postgraduate loan, backed by the government, to cover your course costs.

Moving into a leadership position and meeting the demands of modern business doesn’t have to be a matter of ‘paying your dues’ – businesses need the right people to perform critical tasks. Younger candidates not only have a longer working life in front of them but may also be better equipped to deal with the technical and innovation challenges currently faced by businesses. With proven leadership abilities, the choice could be simple.

Find out more and begin your application