What is Organizational Leadership?

15 Oct

I completed a Master of Science degree in organizational leadership in 2011. I have been asked more than a few times, “What is your degree in?” I found that many elements distinguished my experience and I wanted to share what this study of leadership really meant to me.

The organizational leadership program focused a great deal on ethics. This was a program to learn not just to lead, but to lead in a way that was good, just, and right. These are lofty ideals, yes, but have an urgent importance. Organizational cultures are created by big decisions and influential events, but they are also created by the decisions people make all day, every day.

“Our Small Decisions as Leaders Have Great Effect on the Future”

Our job as leaders is to be conscious of the effect both our large and seemingly small decisions have on the people around us and the organizations we lead. It is easy to forget that today’s decision has effects far into the future. Double this with the short-term success pressures one often faces and it is even harder to make the right decision for long-term success.

One thing leaders can do to combat these pressures is to recognize their own tendencies, personality traits, and needs. What we do under pressure can be very different than what we might do in a less intense situation. Knowing what literally gets our blood boiling is very helpful. Recognizing the potential for a situation to upset us and bring out our fallback responses allows us to prepare better to make better decisions that reflect our better selves.

I also learned that leaders must recognize the strengths, weaknesses, and needs of those they lead. The situational leadership theory we studied was one of my favorite theories and suggested we give a great deal of attention to those we lead. We increase our reach as a leader by empowering others to do great work.

I covered these topics at various levels of detail and through various disciplines within the organizational leadership program. The program gave me the experience of looking critically at myself and reflecting on the decisions I make every day. It enabled me to recognize the important ways leaders affect those around them and how that affect helps bring success or failure.

See also, “The Three Leadership Essentials I’ve Learned”.

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