So, You Want to be a Leader?

Whether in their first management position or at the top of an organizational chart, good leaders never stop growing. In addition, when managers get better, the entire organization benefits: Numerous studies confirm that good leaders correlate with high employee satisfaction, engagement, commitment, and even profitability.1

Below are some attributes that can help you become a better leader:

Communication.

Arguably the most important leadership skill, communication is often a top area for improvement. According to one study, managers who improved their overall effectiveness over a 12- to 18-month period were more likely to have improved their communication skills than any other attribute.2

To update your communication skills, find ways to play to your strengths and improve on weaknesses. If you have been told your e-mails are unclear, have a co-worker review them before you hit send. If your team is reluctant to approach you, establish an open-door policy or make a point of walking around and speaking to everyone. Remember that communication includes listening, not just speaking.

Set expectations—and enforce them.

Studies show that at all levels, only half of leaders hold people to task when they don’t deliver.3It’s vital to set expectations for your team and yourself and ensure that everyone contributes.

Give feedback.

Employees—and especially younger generations—want to know how they are doing. More than half (60 percent) of respondents in one survey said they want feedback daily or weekly, and yet fewer than 30 percent receive it on a regular basis, according to another study.4

Feedback works best when it’s about specific situations and given regularly, not saved for a quarterly or annual performance review. Employees crave both recognition for good work and constructive feedback when they are struggling.

Lead by example.

Emphasize behaviors that you want to see in the people you manage. Beyond modeling basic workplace etiquette and a willingness to address challenges, your own supervisors are counting on you to reflect the company’s core mission and values.

Be positive.

No work situation is without challenges and stress. Keeping a positive outlook when problems arise helps your team focus on addressing problems, not poor morale. Projecting confidence in times of crisis isn’t just good sense—it’s a key part of the role of a manager.

Learn to delegate.

Working in teams and bouncing ideas off your peers can create high-quality work while keeping your stress levels down. Train and trust your team to take on appropriate tasks.

Know your team.

The more you know the strengths and weaknesses of the people who report to you, the better you will be able to match them with roles and responsibilities that synchronize with their interests. Knowing your co-workers on a personal level can pay huge dividends in morale—and make your own time as a leader far more enjoyable and rewarding.

Encourage others to grow.

For you to advance as a leader, you must help your team members do the same. Encourage them to take on more challenging tasks, and help them network and develop skills they will need as they grow into leadership roles of their own.5

The University of Scranton Master of Business Administration can help you develop the ability to lead in today’s changing workplace with the values of ethics and social responsibility that are the hallmark of a Jesuit education.

Learn more about The University of Scranton’s MBA program.


 

SOURCES:
1 Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman, “How Damaging Is a Bad Boss, Exactly?,” Harvard Business Review, https://hbr.org/2012/07/how-damaging-is-a-bad-boss-exa
2 Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman, “How Poor Leaders Become Good Leaders,” Harvard Business Review, https://hbr.org/2013/02/how-poor-leaders-become-good-l
3 Darren Overfield and Rob Kaiser, “One Out of Every Two Managers Is Terrible at Accountability,” Harvard Business Review, https://hbr.org/2012/11/one-out-of-every-two-managers-is-terrible-at-accountability
4 Maren Hogan, “5 Employee Feedback Stats That You Need to See,” LinkedIn Talent Blog, https://business.linkedin.com/talent-solutions/blog/trends-and-research/2016/5-Employee-Feedback-Stats-That-You-Need-to-See
5 Avery Augustine, “5 Strategies That Will Turn Your Employees Into Leaders,” The Muse, https://www.themuse.com/advice/5-strategies-that-will-turn-your-employees-into-leaders

Why Choose Scranton for a Graduate Program?

Nationally Recognized Programs & Points of Pride

The University of Scranton is committed to providing excellent and rigorous graduate education through programs that will prepare you for careers. Students focus on their fields of specialization under the guidance of our top-notch faculty and benefit from our state-of-the-art technology and other resources.

Many of our graduate programs are nationally recognized for their quality and affordability:

  • U.S. News & World Report’sBest Colleges” has ranked The University of Scranton among the 10 top master’s universities in the North for 25 consecutive years.
  • Our MBA program was ranked among the top 15 in the nation for general management by Entrepreneur magazine and The Princeton Review.
  • Our master’s in health administration (MHA) program ranked No. 1 in the nation for full-time enrolled students in a list published by Modern Healthcare, a health care business weekly magazine.
  • In its 2019 “Best Graduate Schools” guidebook, U.S. News & World Report ranked several of The University of Scranton’s master’s degree programs among the best in the nation:
    Operations Management (15) Rehabilitation Counseling (24)
    Information Systems (20) Health Administration (42)
    Finance (23) Physical Therapy (53)
    Accounting (28) Occupational Therapy (58)
    Part-time MBA (74) Nurse Anesthesia (65)
  • Scranton’s online Master’s in Accountancy program was named Best in the Nation by Best Colleges, an independent online higher education resource.
  • U.S. News & World Report’s 2017 “Best Online Programs” ranked the University’s online MBA program No. 91 in the nation. The University’s graduate program in Education ranked No. 113.
  • Our MBA in Health Care Management program is ranked #25 by AffordableColleges.com in a list of the most affordable online master’s in healthcare management programs in the nation.  Scranton’s program stood out in both quality and affordability.
  • Scranton’s graduate Nursing program was recently ranked #98 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.

To learn more about our graduate programs, click here.

A Father and Son’s Global Mindset Leads to MBAs at Scranton

When Sunil Pillai G’83, of Mumbai, India, was finishing up his MBA at Scranton at age 23, he promised himself that if he eventually got married and had a child, that child would go to Scranton for his or her MBA.

“God has been kind,” said Sunil in a recent interview. “I had one son. And his name is Rathin.”

It was pretty clear from early on that Rathin Pillai G’12, who, like his dad, grew up in Mumbai, would follow in his father’s footsteps.

“My dad had his framed final certification on the wall at home. He’d say to me, ‘That’s the degree that has gotten me this far. You can talk back to me all you want, but until you have that degree, I won’t listen,’” remembered Rathin.

Like Father, Like Son

Rathin had a lot to live up to. Sunil had gone from Scranton to Pfizer International in New York to Colgate Palmolive in India, quickly moving up the corporate ladder. He eventually became vice president of marketing and sales at CavinKare, a conglomerate in fast-moving consumer goods, then vice president of marketing at Reliance Communications, Global Operations, and, most recently, COO at Tata Teleservices. He is currently a guest faculty member at IIM Bangalore and founder and director of Strategy Green Consultancy.

“I owe this whole career of mine to Scranton and the education I got there,” said Sunil. “It got me to move from being just a young kid playing around in the streets of Mumbai to be a formative professional in the way I looked at things.”

Rathin, a TV executive who recently took on a strategy and business development role at India’s Network 18 (Viacom in the United States), said it was essential — for both of them — to go abroad for their graduate degrees.

“I think I speak for both of us when I say we needed a global perspective. Had we studied for our MBAs in India, it would’ve been specific to India marketing only,” he said.

Sunil and his son both chose Scranton because it had a good reputation, was a “friendly campus” and was close to major cities. Although the two graduated about 30 years apart, they had a campus friend in common — Murli Rajan, Ph.D. G’84, now interim dean of the Kania School of Management. Rajan was Sunil’s roommate in the ’80s and became a lifelong friend.

Paying it Forward

Sunil paid it forward when Rajan arrived in Scranton from India for his MBA just a year later. Rajan traveled directly from the airport to the Hotel Jermyn on Spruce Street, where the other international students were staying while they looked for more permanent housing.

“Sunil called me as soon as I got there. He found out where I was staying,” said Dr. Rajan. “I don’t even know how he did that. We spoke the same language; we both speak Tamil. I couldn’t believe it. He just made me feel so welcome.”

When Rathin arrived in 2010, he found out that his dad’s friend would be his adviser. Having that personal connection was a comfort to Rathin, but he said he felt on level with almost everyone at Scranton.

“I never felt alone on that campus or in Scranton in general,” said Rathin. “It’s not just the students; it’s the professors as well. They made me feel at home right from the start.”

Sunil said his own acceptance into the University community made it possible for him to focus on his studies and excel in his courses.

“I grew into a professional at Scranton,” said Sunil. “I learned to understand the world better.”

He expanded his global knowledge when he went on to work in India, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and East Africa. And now, as he sits in his house gazing out at the Arabian Sea, he looks back with pride at his experience in Scranton, where it all began.

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Learn more about the MBA program at The University of Scranton here!

This article originally appeared in The Scranton Journal.

Operations Management: Do You Have What it Takes?

Overseeing the operations of any business is a career in which the right business-minded individual can truly succeed. An operations manager is tasked with ensuring that operations are both efficient and effective. However, this requires not only understanding a business’s overall goals and objectives, but using that information to run the business successfully. At its core, the skills needed for a successful career in operations include the ability to think analytically, communicate effectively, and execute efficiently.

Today’s business structure differs greatly from past standards and modern companies are focused on pinpointing the most effective operational practices to leverage against the competition. IKEA, a global business that provides low-cost, functional home furnishing products, is a prime example of an organization that has developed a plan to increase the effectiveness of their operating procedures, thereby attracting customers and increasing revenue. Through a variety of methods, IKEA has become a leader in best business practices including controlling the value chain to set them apart from the competition.

Establishing an effective operations process involves strategy development with some trial and error, but skilled operations leaders can shape efficient and effective business processes by employing a few important traits.

1. An Operations Manager is Realistic

A strong operations leader understands that employees are a valuable resource and can effectively communicate with operations staff. That not only means delivering the hard facts and providing thoughtful and constructive feedback, but listening to empowered employees who are part of the same team.

Results showed from a 2007 study “The Relationship between Transformational Leadership and Leader-Member Exchange in Different Cultures” 1showed that teams with strong and trusting leadership positively impacted team members’ individual and collective performances. As an example, if an operations leader realizes that production is slowing down, costing the company revenue, communicating directly with employees might be a better approach. Effective organizational leaders can impress upon employees the need to improve and explain the reasoning behind the request. If a goal cannot be reached, employees are empowered to share with management the necessary information for developing alternative, achievable plans.

2. An Operations Manager Looks for Efficiency

An effective operations manager is defined as the master and commander of managing the input and output of resources. These professionals optimize processes to decrease the cost of goods per unit, making it possible to sell at a lower cost and leaving a margin just high enough to remain agile in competitive business environments. Processes executed in this fashion are typically able to reward the hard work of the teams involved in production. What is the secret weapon? Efficiency.

Today’s efficiency models date back to the 1950’s when Toyota shifted to a “just-in-time (JIT)” model, focusing purely on production costs, product quality and delivery, and worker involvement to minimize excess time and overall costs. This model became the foundation for today’s more commonly used efficiency model, lean manufacturing. Production from a system pushing out products in batches is taken to a flowing system that systematically produces single units as needed, at an optimum cost.

An operations manager need to make sure focus remains on the organizational objective, rather than the narrow focus of different department and division goals. In order to accomplish this, operations leaders must implement areas of flexibility into all stages of operations and facilitate cross-functional communication, enabling adaptability between teams and departments.

3. An Operations Manager Focuses on Quality

In today’s marketplace, the focus on quality has progressed to ensuring value at the source. Rather than use a supplier that has a rejection rate of 5% with provided parts, an effective operations leader might go with a supplier who charges slightly more but has a lower rejection rate to ensure the products lifespan and consumer satisfaction.

When operations leaders pay greater attention to quality, it helps to inspire their employees to strive to meet leaders’ expectations. Anyone who has studied the way Steve Jobs operated at Apple understands how his demand for perfection drove his people to do everything possible to meet those demands. It was well-known that Jobs took tremendous pride in the equipment and devices that his company developed. By setting high standards for himself and everyone around him, Jobs was able to take Apple from a company once in decline, to the most valuable company in the world in 2012 at $623.5 billion – exceeding the previous record of $618.9 billion set by Microsoft on Dec. 30, 1999.

Not only does focusing on quality help operations leaders maintain productive teams by fostering pride in a product or service, but it can also drive down costs thereby helping an organization gain an advantage over the competition. For example, investing in quality improvement ultimately drives down internal and external failure costs. This increase in profit provides an organization with the flexibility needed to meet the price reductions of its competitors, keeping it on par or even ahead of the competition.

4. Operations Leaders are Effective at Supply Chain Management

Supply chain management plays a vital role in the success of a company. Operations leaders within an organization are working to design and execute supply chain strategies that maximize productivity, minimize risk and effectively respond to fluctuations in demand. Supply chain management encompasses the shaping of supply and demand along with the optimal design of products themselves, creating a wide range of responsibilities. Operations leaders have begun to treat their supply chain networks—consisting of logistics providers and contract manufacturers—as partners, in order to align goals and effectively orchestrate collaboration across these groups.

As an operations leader, having effective approaches to supply chain management requires knowledge of manufacturing, warehousing, logistics and transportation as well as customer service. Products need to be delivered to consumers in timely, cost-effective ways that also meet demands—in other words, the right products, in the right place, at the right time!

5. Operations Leaders Do Not Manage; They Lead.

It is only when goals are not met that leaders delve further into operations to determine where problem areas might lie. For leaders that feel the need to maintain a close eye on certain operations, setting up periodic meetings with various managers and department heads allows for close monitoring without manifesting an overt presence among staff.

Strong operations leaders work to make sure that staff is encouraged to perform to the best of their abilities by providing the tools necessary to make tasks seamless. Maintaining healthy and motivated teams is more than just applying strategies and project management tools to create an optimum output result; it involves thoughtful leadership and management of each level of involved human capital.

One of the hardest parts of being a great operations leader is identifying when a team member is struggling to meet performance goals and addressing sensitive issues. Employees who aren’t performing only reduce the effectiveness and efficiency of their co-employees, and identifying possible solutions as a remedy is the difference between building trust in leadership and building fear for one’s position in tactical positions. Operations leaders need to make sure their management team keeps them informed of individuals who are excelling and individuals who are falling behind. The ultimate goal should be consistency – encouraging top performers to perform at their peak, and finding ways to bring underperformers up to standards.

The online MBA with specialization in Operations Management from The University of Scranton is designed to provide a rich educational experience, along with the analytical and problem-solving skills needed to apply in multi-layer organizations.

Learn more about the program here!

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1 Yu Xiaomin; Wu Yang; Shan Wei “The Relationship between Transformational Leadership and Leader-Member Exchange in Different Culture: A Meta-Analysis”, Wireless Communications, Networking and Mobile Computing (WiCOM), 2011 7th International Conference on, On page(s): 1 – 5

Something for Every Lifestyle: “Best Online Graduate Programs”

U.S. News & World Report’s 2019 “Best Online Graduate Programs” ranked The University of Scranton’s online master’s degree programs in business (excluding MBA) at No. 76 and its MBA program at No. 109 in the nation. U.S. News also ranked Scranton at No. 52 in the country for “Best Online MBA Programs for Veterans.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is the eighth consecutive year that U.S. News ranked the University’s online programs among the best in the nation. The methodology used by U.S. News to determine the ranking has changed several times throughout the years.

For the 2019 Best Online Programs ranking, which published Jan. 15, U.S. News reviewed statistical information submitted by schools. The ranking criteria differed by category. The criteria used by U.S. News to rank online business and MBA programs included student engagement (28 percent), which looked at graduation rates, class size, one-year retention rates, and best practices such as accreditation by AACSB International, collaborative coursework requirements, course evaluation requirements and other factors. The ranking criteria also included admission selectivity (25 percent); peer reputation score (25 percent); faculty credentials and training (11 percent); and student services and technology (11 percent).

In addition to offering distance education programs that incorporate coursework that is predominantly online, colleges and universities making the “Best Online Program for Veterans” list must have ranked in top half of 2019 Best Online Program rankings; be certified for the GI Bill, which includes participation in the Yellow Ribbon Program; and enroll a “critical mass of veterans” as defined by U.S. News based on the size of the college.

Scranton offers online MBA degrees in general business, accounting, enterprise resource planning, finance, healthcare management, human resources, international business and operations management; master’s degrees in accountancy, finance, health administration, health informatics and human resources and a dual MBA/MHA degree, in addition to graduate certificates. For technology, recruitment and marketing support, the University partners with Wiley for the online programs.

In other rankings published by U.S. News & World Report, Scranton has been ranked among the top 10 “Best Regional Universities in the North” for 25 consecutive years. Scranton is ranked No. 6 in the 2019 edition of the guidebook. U.S. News also ranked Scranton No. 3 in its category in a listing of just 168 colleges in the nation expressing “A Strong Commitment to Undergraduate Teaching” and No. 11 in its category in a ranking of the “Most Innovative Schools.” U.S. News also ranked Scranton’s programs in entrepreneurship at No. 31, finance at No. 36, and accounting at No. 37 in the country, among other rankings.

The 2019 Best Online Programs listing can be viewed at usnews.com.

Learn more about our MBA program here.