What is an organizational leadership degree?

The top leaders in any industry can bring out the best in others and work toward a common goal. With an organizational leadership degree, you will acquire the skills and know-how to identify and implement what your organization and employees need to be successful. 

Here, we examine this degree, who thrives in an organizational leadership program, and what graduates can do.

Organizational leadership degree overview

An organizational leadership degree equips students to lead diverse teams, manage complex projects, and train effective professionals. 

While business training may be present, most core training focuses on management theory and practices. 

Prospective students can pursue different degree types and levels in this discipline, including:

Students can also pursue an organizational leadership MBA concentration. These differ from traditional organizational leadership master’s programs by focusing on business-specific leadership practices. 

They also tend to be terminal degrees, whereas traditional master’s programs can lead to doctorates.

What can you do with an organizational leadership degree?

An organizational leadership degree can lead to training and development, management, and consulting roles in many industries. 

In addition to their leadership training, students in these programs can specialize and gain experience in certain industries to expand their career opportunities. Graduates find employment in business, education, healthcare, and the government. 

Possible job titles include:

  • Administrative services and facilities manager
  • Management analyst
  • Human resources manager
  • Medical and health services manager
  • Training and development manager

Is organizational leadership right for me?

Consider your skills, interests, and career goals to determine how well organizational leadership suits you. Read on to learn what the field offers.

Consider your strengths.

Successful professionals in organizational leadership typically have strong communication and interpersonal skills, allowing them to express their needs and understand the needs of others. 

They need empathy to create inclusive and empowering work environments. Creativity and adaptability help leaders smoothly introduce changes. 

Organizational leaders also need effective decision-making, analytical, and problem-solving skills. They need to identify and analyze challenges and confront them head-on. 

Think about your interests.

The organizational leadership field attracts all types of people. It can be especially fulfilling for those who enjoy collaborating with professionals within different positions and levels. 

Successful organizational leaders want to know what motivates others and how positive structural changes can lead to better results. These leaders strive to improve organizational culture, develop inclusive policies and practices, and manage ethically.

Visualize your ideal career lifestyle.

An organizational leader’s career lifestyle depends on their employer and industry.

As a manager, they may need to work longer hours and handle significant challenges. Analysts and consultants may need to travel often. 

Most organizational leaders hold regular meetings with other managers, stakeholders, customers and clients, and employees. They will likely need continuing education to keep their skills updated and stay on top of evolving management practices. 

What skills do organizational leadership programs teach?

Organizational leadership students acquire the technical skills to lead diverse organizations and improve company culture. They learn to identify issues and turn them into opportunities. They also hone the most applicable people, or soft, skills for the job.

Below are the most important people and hard skills taught in organizational leadership programs.

People skills

  • Communication
  • Critical thinking
  • Organization
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Resilience

Hard skills

  • Motivational techniques
  • Conflict resolution
  • Data analysis
  • Introducing change and innovation
  • Market and business dynamics

Additional ways to prepare for an organizational leadership career

Aspiring organizational leaders can access the field without taking on an entire degree. They can, for example, complete individual courses or a certificate in the discipline. These are available at the undergraduate and graduate levels and can lead to management positions. 

Professionals can develop valuable management and leadership experience on the job, which may allow them to transition into an organizational leadership career. Professional development programs and self-study options are also available. 

In conclusion

An organizational leadership degree offers the most direct path to the field’s exciting opportunities. Use this guide to explore the possibilities and draw closer to informed study and career decisions.

This article was reviewed by Alexandra Tapia, MBA

Alexandria Tapia, a blonde woman, smiles at the camera

Alexandra is a driven, high-spirited, unapologetically energetic, and optimistic person. She prides herself on her devotion to becoming a better business leader and overall human.

She has reached many populations throughout her career. Alexandra has studied recidivism, helped prior criminal offenders reintegrate into society, and built trusting relationships while working at a homeless shelter. 

Alexandra’s passion for education also shines through in her work. She taught younger children for many years but has since turned her focus to higher education. She loves collaborating with others to be a disruptor in the education industry, creating and delivering programs that are unlike others — all while building a better future for her clients and students. 

Tapia is a paid member of the Red Ventures Education freelance review network. 

Last reviewed March 7, 2022.

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