Leadership Skills

Leadership skills are honed over a career, and they’re developed over a lifetime. As Kellogg Dean Sally Blount '92 wrote, the business community — and through it, the world — needs leaders who “deeply understand markets, [the markets'] connection to the public sector and the philosophical, cultural and social implications of business’ growing global influence.” In addition, leaders must realize that “markets, while highly efficient, are not fair, kind or wise.”

The most effective leaders are made, trained and tested, not born. Leaders understand that the health of their company extends well beyond the boardroom to employees, partners and, most importantly, the customer.

The leaders who oversee thriving organizations today and those who will do so in the future must have a thorough command of areas ranging from collaboration and negotiation to finance, strategy and data analytics. At minimum, they must have enough of a grasp of these topics to effectively manage the experts who report to them.

Kellogg’s expert faculty offers insight, research and training to help executives perform at their best and sharpen their leadership skills, from managing a small team to governing multinational corporations.

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Leadership insights and guidance from Kellogg faculty

  • Ask for it

    Asking for feedback is one of the most important and overlooked things leaders do. Pursue getting feedback to show your team that you have a growth mindset.

  • Map your way

    Some self-reflection and a mental map of where you've been, where you are and where you want to be is an important tool for self-development as a leader.

  • Executive judgment

    Judgment Day

    Great judgment is essential to being a great leader. Here are the three dimensions of judgment that will help you become a stronger decision maker.

  • Leadership training

    The Leadership Checklist

    Make a lasting first impression and build trust with your new team by creating, sharing and following through on a leadership plan.

  • Leadership style

    Why do you lead?

    Are you a dominance-motivated or prestige-motivated leader? Determine your style and how to effectively switch back and forth between the two.

  • Taking risks

    Risky business

    Sally Blount, Dean of the Kellogg School and the first female dean of a top business school shares how taking risks can propel your career to new heights.

  • Strong company culture

    How Strong is Too Strong?

    The diversity of ideas that take place in a flexible corporate culture can provide the best opportunities for growth within the organization.

  • Team slacking

    Cut some slack

    When individuals don't pull their weight, the whole team's productivity decreases. Leigh Thompson explains how to counter this social-loafing effect.

  • Corporate ladder

    Lateral corporate ladders

    When opportunities for promotion are in short supply, firms can use other incentives to manage their employees' career growth—and keep them happily motivated.

  • Self reflection

    Mirror, mirror

    Leaders need to engage in the uncomfortable process of self-reflection before they can lead others, according to Professor Harry Kraemer.

  • Reputation management

    Crisis aversion

    Corporate boards have become increasingly important to their organizations' reputation management by providing big picture insight.

  • Peter Himmelman

    Mixing board to boardroom

    Peter Himmelman, musician, CEO of Big Muse and participant in the Advanced Management Program, uses creativity to help leaders conquer their fear.

  • Global leadership

    The leadership engine

    Joe Hinrichs of Ford Motor Company shares his insights on overcoming global business challenges and creating a leadership strategy.

  • Florian Zettelmeyer

    Mind your numbers

    Professor Florian Zettelmeyer and an alumni panel discuss how leaders who master data analytics become adept at making the right calls.

  • Data analysis for basketball

    Net gains

    The Houston Rockets use data analytics to inform organization-wide decisions and ensure the administrative team is informed of data's many applications.

  • Power-hungry bosses threaten your goals

    Dangerous leaders

    Power-hungry bosses can decimate teams. Seek leaders who value prestige over power to keep teams—and organizations—operating efficiently.

  • Lead by example.

    Lessons from the military

    As a leader, your team takes its cues from your actions. Remain calm as you assess, and think through your actions to earn their trust and respect.

  • Teamwork

    Teamwork 101

    Learn the fundamentals of building and leading teams and collaborating efficiently and effectively with Prof. Leigh Thompson's four-video series.

  • Insight and innovation

    Channeling your insight

    Insight leads to innovation, but how do you gain it? Professors Mohan Sawhney and Sanjay Khosla identified seven insight channels to get you started.

  • Data analytics' power

    The transformational power of data analytics

    Florian Zettelmeyer discusses how leaders can use data analytics' power to transform organizations.

  • Black Sheep

    Can't we all just get along?

    Don't try to "fix" a problem team member. Instead, look at the bigger picture, and see where you can fine-tune and recalibrate your team's internal dynamics.
    We gain influence by building political capital.

  • BMI Measurement

    What's your team BMI?

    Is your team too large for its intended job? Reducing the size of the group to just what's needed for the task at hand often improves a team's performance.

  • Brainwriting

    Improve your brainstorming

    Video: While leading brainstorming sessions, do your dominant team members silence everyone else? Try brainwriting. Leigh Thompson explains.

  • Leaders and data analytics

    It's not enough for leaders to hire top-notch data scientists. Leadership means understanding the basics in order to make sound decisions.

  • Holly Raider and Carter Cast

    Moving on up

    Your most important leadership skills include managing career transitions and learning agility. Holly Raider and Carter Cast tackle those topics and more.

Grow your skill set with Kellogg School of Management

  • Full-Time MBA

    Kellogg Fulltime MBA

    When it's time to step up, take charge of your leadership skills and potential with a Kellogg full-time MBA.

  • Executive MBA

    EMBA student

    The Kellogg Executive MBA: when you're ready to take your leadership skills to the next level

  • Executive Education

    Kellogg Executive Education

    Come out on top with our leadership and management programs, tailored to your level of experience.

Image credits: torbakhopper under a Creative Commons license, Paxson Woelber under a Creative Commons license, Keith McDuffee under a Creative Commons license, Angie Harms under a Creative Commons license,  Theodore Scott under a Creative Commons license,  Jesus Solana under a Creative Commons license, sari_dennise under a Creative Commons license, Tony Webster under a Creative Commons license, Leon Riskin under a Creative Commons license.