Guide to College Majors in Leadership

Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.
--Peter Drucker

What Is Leadership?

A leadership or organizational management career involves building and working in a team to transform a group or business--to take it in a new direction or to surpass previous limits. With the right career training, you can visualize the final result, outline and communicate the process and successfully motivate your colleagues to achieving a measurable result.

Good, sound leadership is in demand in every type of organization. Online degrees in leadership, organizational leadership, and organizational management are adaptable to a variety of careers in human resources, project management or other supervisory positions. These specialized degrees are designed for business professionals who want to take on leadership roles in their professions or associations. As a leadership major, you are at a unique advantage because the skills you will have mastered are universally prized and desirable.

Your college degree will provide training in business 'best practices' to help you become a highly productive leader who maintains organizational competitiveness. You'll acquire new knowledge and enlightened perspectives about innovative leadership practices. The typical curriculum focuses on decision-making, conflict and change management, communication, and approaches to leadership.

Possible leadership degrees include bachelor's degrees, master's degrees, and doctoral or Ph.D. programs.

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Career Education in Leadership and Organizational Management

Some may argue that leaders are born, not made, but the proliferation of leadership training courses across the country and online seem to prove them wrong. In particular, many mid-level professionals and busy executives are opting for online college classes in leadership, in order to develop their skills without sacrificing career advancement.

Leadership Certificates

Leadership certificates are generally short, non-credit programs designed to help you enhance your leadership practices within your organization. The leadership strategies you learn can be applied immediately and may provide you with a career edge over other candidates where a post secondary degree is not a job requirement.

Leadership Bachelor's Degrees

At the undergraduate level, you can obtain a bachelor of arts or sciences specializing in leadership. The goal is to hone your skills and learn more about the theory of effective leadership in a variety of contexts. You will learn how to successfully lead a team and manage employees in a dynamic, global environment. These skills are applicable at all levels of an organization. Previous education and work experience in business is preferred as a prerequisite.

What can you do with a College Major in Leadership?

After working towards a degree in leadership or organizational management, you will likely want to seek a career where your entrepreneurial thinking, strong decision-making skills, and visionary approach to business solutions will be put to the best use. A leadership education can be applied to virtually every industry and organization.

If committing to one company doesn't excite you, consider working as an organization development consultant. Companies hire OD consultants to solve problems with internal inefficiencies or to help identify and direct future growth potential. It's an occupation which has only recently been recognized, but one that should experience faster than average growth, especially for newer enterprises that aren't equipped to handle their own growing pains. The competition for jobs can be intense, so more practitioners are seeking graduate degrees to stand out from the pack.

OD consultants usually work in teams to examine the structure, personnel and procedural concerns of their client. A background in business, finance, economics, psychology, and survey methodology, as well as an investigative, open-minded and persistent nature, are desirable qualities in this field. The work can involve proactive inquiry and assessment, interviewing, focus groups, process consultation and observation.

The same skills needed to be an OD consultant can be used for careers in management consulting, financial analysis, efficiency and quality control.

Certification and Licensure

The Organization Development Network and the Organization Development Institute provide contract information and membership benefits for OD Consultants. There are no universal designations for leadership or organizational management practitioners, but each interest area may have its own associations and certification.

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