The findings of a recent survey by the Financial Times confirm the importance of an integrated, value-driven approach to management development. The poll, which drew responses from a variety of management recruitment agencies, sought to identify the top skills deemed to make MBA graduates and new hires more desirable to companies today. Topping the list of sought-after abilities were soft skills like a proven ability to work as part of a team and prioritise tasks to maximise time management and output efficiencies.

As the global business environment evolves in the face of the 4th industrial revolution, it’s no longer enough to be a manager in your organisation, you need to be a leader.

Tomorrow’s in-demand managers will be those who have demonstrated a strong track record of steering their teams and organisations through the complex and competitive business environment by leveraging, amongst others, disruption, innovation, and globalisation.

In this context, the traditional qualifications, once deemed sufficient to land a candidate a management position, simply will not cut it. While basic operational and people management competencies will always be a requirement, these have to be enhanced with a broad cross section of capabilities that are essential for any organisation’s long-term competitiveness. These value-adding skills include teamwork, problem solving, time management, emotional intelligence, innovation and an understanding of the global context in which the business operates.

While the international business world is quickly coming to recognise that these are the skills that will set leaders, and organisations, apart from their peers and competitors, the academic world has been relatively slow to incorporate them into their leadership development offerings. For this reason, it is essential to exercise discretion when choosing an education offering to acquire, or hone, the full set of management skills needed to maximise your effectiveness and employability as a manager.

The most valuable programmes are those that present candidates with an integrated combination of disciplines, skills and insights that equip them to contribute significantly to the strategies, plans and operations of their organisations, whether they are operating in the public, private or fast-growing non-profit sector. The Post Graduate Diploma in Business Leadership offered by Monash South Africa will, for example, provide students and their organisations with management competencies and skills necessary for sustaining a competitive advantage. With a strong focus on problem solving and leadership competencies; this qualification is designed to prepare learners for professional and managerial roles.

Clearly, the roles, functions and expectations of business leaders are shifting dramatically, and the best way to stay ahead of this curve is through focused and targeted professional development and lifelong learning that transforms managers into the well-equipped leaders and transformation agents that organisations need.