Careers in Organizational Leadership

Organizational leadership is the study of organizational behavior principles and the effective use of management and interpersonal skills involved in running an organization. Those in these types of leadership roles are vision-oriented individuals who have the ability to identify solutions, implement strategies, and motivate employees to reach specific organizational goals. A background in organizational leadership can prepare you for top executive positions, such as CEO, executive director, president, and vice president, or general and operations management positions.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), chief executives had a median annual wage of $165,080 in May 2010, while that of general and operations managers was $94,400. As far as job outlook is concerned, the BLS reports that employment of top executives is projected to increase by 5% from 2010 to 2020, which is lower than the average for all types of occupations. However, students should keep in mind that these numbers are only projections and averages and are not actual guarantees of salary or employment.

Required Education for Organizational Leadership

To pursue a career in organizational leadership, you must have at least a bachelor’s degree in a business-related area. Many business degree programs allow students to focus their studies in organizational leadership where they master business fundamentals and learn what it takes to be effective leaders in organizations and communities.

Students not only learn the importance of leadership and teamwork, but develop the critical-thinking, problem-solving, and decision-making skills necessary to take on the responsibilities of a leadership role. For example, they may take basic courses in economics, financial and managerial accounting, and business law, along with courses specific to organizational leadership like foundations of leadership, organizational behavior for effective leaders, organizational effectiveness, ethical decision making, and effective public speaking. Hands-on projects will likely be required, including the creation of business plans and presentations.

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