What Does it Mean to Study Leadership?
A leadership career involves building and working in a team to transform a group or business — to take it in a better direction, or to surpass previous limits. With the right education, you can visualize goals, outline and communicate a plan to reach those goals, and successfully motivate colleagues into achieving measurable progress towards those goals.
A college degree program in leadership or organizational management is a vehicle to convey techniques and skills in business, psychology and communications. A typical curriculum for such a program focuses on decision-making, conflict and change management, communication, and approaches to leadership, with the goal of helping students learn how to be productive leaders who can maintain organizational competitiveness.
Types of Leadership and Organizational Management Degrees
Some may argue that leaders are born, not made, but the proliferation of leadership-based courses across the country, both on-campus and online, would 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 are generally short, non-credit programs designed to help you enhance your leadership practices.
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 can 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 Degree in Leadership?
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.
Leadership Certification and Licensure
The Organization Development Network and the Organization Development Institute are two potential sources of contract information and membership benefits for OD Consultants. There are no universal designations for leadership or organizational management practitioners, but various interest areas have their own associations and certifications.