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What is Organizational Leadership?

As a subfield of business, organizational leadership is a relatively popular major among college and university students in the United States. This major is perfect for prospective students interested in pursuing high-paying management careers in various industries. Because the knowledge and skills obtained from degrees of this type are applicable in most company and organization settings, graduates tend to be highly versatile and well prepared for many different types of work.

Organizational leadership professionals are generally responsible for helping companies and organizations find ways to operate more successfully. Daily duties vary based on industry, employer size, and job specifications, but they are frequently instrumental in ensuring that overall business goals are met. With the big picture in mind, these professionals often assess how even the smallest decisions will impact individuals departments, employees, and businesses as a whole. Additionally, many organizational leaders are expected to verify that tasks are completed correctly and in a timely manner, as well as promoting more productive working environments. This is often achieved by helping to make other staff members feel integrated with and supported by their employers.

Those interested in this profession should realize, however, that there are many different types of organizational leaders. Responsibilities will depend largely upon the specific occupation sought. Many companies and organizations actively seek to hire talented leaders, especially those with management experience.

Skills that are invaluable to professionals in this field include strong communication, problem-solving, and management. Organizational leaders also benefit from extensive knowledge in business, as well as creativity and strategic thinking. Work settings will vary depending on the type of position obtained and the industry selected. Some of the most successful careers in this field are found with non-profits, large corporations, small businesses, and the government.

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Online Leadership Education in Kansas

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for management occupations is projected to grow 8% from 2021 to 2031. This is faster than the average for all professions and will result in an increase of about 883,900 new jobs over the decade. Including the replacement of workers who retire or change career fields, approximately 1.1 million management openings are expected each year.

Organizational leadership graduates may also qualify to apply for employment in many business and finance professions. Growth for these occupations is comparable, with an expected 7% increase from 2021 to 2031. This will result in an additional 980,200 applicable job openings each year.

Notably, prospects vary by profession, with some occupations growing fasters than others. Employment for benefits and industrial production managers, for example, is only project to grow 2-3% by 2031, with comparatively few job openings each year. Computer and information systems managers, on the other hand, are expected to see a 16% increase in employment. This is much faster than average and may offer greater opportunities. Medical and health services managers should anticipate even greater gains, with a projected 28% growth rate over the next decade.

Professional and business services is the third largest industry in Kansas, accounting for $18.1 billion in revenue each year. Thus, organizational leadership professionals are likely to find decent employment opportunities in the state. Additionally, workers in this field may qualify for jobs in many other top sectors as well. Most companies and organizations give preference to candidates with strong leadership skills, so graduates can also have success applying for positions in manufacturing, real estate, education services, healthcare, wholesale, retail, finance, insurance, transportation, information, and construction.

Based on data provided by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 67,810 management professionals were employed in Kansas as of May 2021. The annual mean wage for these jobs was $104,540, which is significantly above the state’s annual mean wage of $49,680 for all occupations in the state. Kansas also employed 78,140 business and financial operations professionals with an annual mean wage of $71,170.

Business and business-related majors like organizational leadership are commonly offered by colleges and universities throughout the nation. Those interested in finding employment in Kansas, however, should give preference to institutions located in the state. These schools tend to offer the most geographically relevant curriculums, often incorporating feedback from nearby companies and organizations into their curriculums. Additionally, many colleges and universities strive to establish mutually beneficial relationships with local employers, which can make obtaining internships and professional employment easier.

While employment requirements vary, most leaders in Kansas complete some amount of higher education. Many of the state’s colleges and universities offer an organizational leadership program in this field, making it easy for prospective students to enroll at the associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels.

While opportunities will vary, those with the most education can typically expect to have access to the best jobs in the field. The majority of management, business, and financial occupations require candidates to possess bachelor’s degrees, while supervisory roles are generally reserved for those with advanced academic degrees.

Online Associate Degree in Leadership (AS)

Associate degrees in organizational leadership generally consist of 60 credit hours of coursework that take full-time students approximately two years to complete. As undergraduate programs, they are typically comprised of both general liberal arts education and major-specific classes. In addition to basic topics in communication, mathematics, and science, students can expect to study human resource management, employment law, organizational development, and business communications.

This type of degree is well suited for individuals preparing for further learning. Curriculums often provide students with a strong academic foundation, which can be utilized by enrolling in related bachelor’s degree programs. Many colleges and universities also accept undergraduate credit hours from other academic institutions, making it easy to continue academic progress. In some cases, it may take as few as two additional years of education to earn a higher-level degree.

Alternatively, graduates may qualify to apply for some entry-level employment related to organizational leadership. While opportunities will likely be limited, some companies and organizations may have account manager, community relations manager, training director, diversity specialist, and executive assistant position available.

Online Bachelor's Degree in Leadership (BS)

Bachelor’s degrees in organizational leadership often consist of 120 credit hours of coursework that take full-time students approximately four years to complete. As undergraduate programs, they are typically comprised of both general liberal arts education and major-specific classes. In addition to basic topics in communication, mathematics, and science, students can expect to study organizational development, personal development, communication strategies for leaders, assessment in organizations, social conflict, and negotiation.

It's also common for colleges and universities to require those enrolled to complete capstone projects. In some cases, practicums and/or internships with nearby businesses and organizations are sometimes necessary as well.

Opportunities to select concentrations in related sub-fields are also prevalent, with options generally available in the following areas:

  • Human Resource Management
  • Finance
  • Project Management
  • Marketing
  • Operations Management and Supervision
  • International Business

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), most management, business, and financial occupations require candidates possess bachelor’s degrees. Graduates often qualify for a wide variety of jobs across numerous industries. Some common opportunities include training and development managers, management analysts, sales managers, human resource managers, and industrial production managers.

Not all graduates seek employment right away. In fact, many choose to pursue further education by enrolling in organizational leadership master’s degree programs. Prospective graduate students should be prepared to meet minimum grade point average (GPA) and Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) score requirements set by gaining institutions.

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Online Master's Degree in Leadership (MS)

Master’s degrees in organizational leadership generally range from 30 to 36 credit hours of coursework that take full-time students approximately two to three years to complete. At this academic level, general educational classes are no longer incorporated into the curriculum. Some programs do, however, have strict undergraduate prerequisites that must be met prior to enrollment. As a result, students can expect to focus most of their learning on subjects related directly to the field such as leadership theory or leadership philosophy, organizational behavior, human resource management, ethical decision making, and marketing. Some programs may also include a capstone course. Courses in organizational sustainability, digital media and marketing, and diversity and conflict in the workplace are also relatively common. Additionally, students may be encouraged to participate in internships with one or more nearby businesses and organizations.

Many colleges and universities also offer opportunities to select concentrations in related subfields. This differentiates learning and helps prepare students for specific kinds of employment.

Common options include:

  • Global Business
  • Human Resources Management
  • Healthcare Management
  • Nonprofit Management
  • Leadership Coaching
  • Social Entrepreneurship

This type of degree is most appropriate for those seeking leadership and management positions in both the public and private sectors. While employment opportunities will vary, graduates can often find work as business executives, management consultants, school principals, human resources managers, training and development managers, and administrative services managers. Graduate degrees may not be necessary to enter this field, but they do tend to make candidates more competitive and can lead to higher earning potential. In some cases, having a master’s degree may also make it easier to meet minimum requirements for various professional certifications relevant to the field.

PhD Degree in Leadership (PhD)

A PhD or doctorate in organizational leadership generally consists of between 60 and 120 credit hours that take full-time students four to seven years to complete. As higher-level programs, they tend to be much more academically intensive. Curriculums vary, but students often study various topics in organizational design, education law, finance, strategic management of non-profit organizations, collaborative leadership and partnership, and leadership theory and practice. Notably, most programs also expect those enrolled to participate in independent study and research that culminates in the defense of a written dissertation prior to graduation.

These degrees are most appropriate for those interested in pursuing high-level, specialized career opportunities in leadership and business. While doctorates exceed the typical education standard for many professions in the field, graduates do tend to qualify for prestigious employment opportunities and higher pay. Common career outcomes include training and development manager, postsecondary teacher, top executive, organizational development consultant, and organizational developmental director.

Become an Organizational Leadership Professional in Kansas

It’s important to realize that there are several different types of organizational leaders, each with unique expectations and requirements. As a result, those interested in this profession will need to consider their options carefully before committing to a specific career pathway. Ideally, you should strive to determine your professional goals early. This will make it significantly easier to identify the kind and amount of education, training, and experience required for success. At the very least, it’s imperative that you research the minimum standards and expectations for job candidates. The more familiar you are with employer hiring requirements, the more prepared you will be when submitting employment applications.

Aside from earning the necessary degree(s) for your intended profession, there are no other career-standard requirements for becoming an organizational leader in Kansas. You may benefit, however, from obtaining one or more professional relevant certifications. Employers in the field rarely require additional credentials as part of the application process, but they can help you stand out among other candidates.

There are many applicable business and management certification available, any of which can be used to demonstrate general competence and/or specialized knowledge in various sub-fields. A credential that is particularly popular among organizational leadership professionals is the certified business manager (CBM). CBMs are considered to possess elite operational management skills which are highly valued in most employment settings. Those interested in this certification can pursue it through numerous accredited academic institutions. In fact, many colleges and universities incorporate the credential into their master of business administration (MBA) programs.

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Another prominent option is the Project Management Professional (PMP) credential, offered by the Project Management Institute (PMI). This certification shows employers that you possess the knowledge and skills necessary to successfully manage projects of varying types and sizes. PMPs tend to have more employment opportunities and earn higher salaries.

Many organizational leadership professional also choose to become members of relevant professional organizations and associations. While every membership is different, most offer many great benefits. Members often receive professional development discounts, access to related academic journals, and invitations to networking events.

Three prominent options available to those in this field include:

  • Institute of Management Consultants (IMC)
  • Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)
  • National Association of Sales Professionals (NASP)

Careers for Leadership Graduates

  • Business Administrator
    Administrative services managers are responsible for improving the overall efficiency of their companies, often by coordinating office personnel and services offered. They oversee various administrative aspects of the office, including supervising staff members. They may also be tasked with distributing mail, maintaining office machines, keeping records, conducting office supply inventories, ordering needed items, and scheduling interviews. According to PayScale, administrative services managers make an average base salary of $63,629 per year.
  • Business Consultant/Manager
    Business consultants are responsible for helping organizations solve various problems by providing optimized plans for improved efficiency. They often achieve this by teaching existing employees about helpful techniques and software that can be used to enhance overall productivity. While they may be brought in at any time, they are most commonly hired during start-up processes or to address specific aspects of struggling companies. According to PayScale, business consultants make an average base salary of $77,610 per year.
  • Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
    CEOs are responsible for overseeing entire organizations. They are often in charge of making most business-related decisions, as well as supervising the performance of other high-ranking company employees. These professionals must provide good leadership, guidance, and management as they formulate and enforce various strategic plans for staff members. According to PayScale, chief executive officers make an average base salary of $156,359 per year.
  • Community Organizer
    Community organizers are responsible for organizing and managing group members in order to achieve various outcomes for their employers. This often entails creating and promoting targeted public awareness campaigns, as well as securing support from leadership and increasing resource access for other employees. They may also recruit, screen, and train new members and/or giving dynamic presentations on pertinent topics. According to PayScale, community organizers make an average base salary of $54,328 per year.
  • Executive Director
    Executive directors are responsible for increasing cost and time efficiency for companies and organizations, generally by designing, developing, and implementing strategic plans. As senior managers, they are often tasked with overseeing many day-to-day activities, as well as developing and executing future plans. According to PayScale, executive directors make an average base salary of $81,473 per year.
  • Healthcare Administrator
    Healthcare administrators are responsible for overseeing the performance of nurses and nursing assistants. They typically work in hospitals, nursing homes, correctional facilities, and primary-care medical practices. In most cases, these professionals are tasked with coordinating staff training and conducting performance reviews for their subordinates, as well as being expected to ensure their assigned area is properly accredited. According to PayScale, healthcare administrators make an average base salary of $74,452 per year.
  • Information Systems (IS) Manager
    IS managers are generally responsible for the oversight of one or more IT departments. They take on many tasks including hiring, reviewing, and firing non-management employees. These professionals are also expected to plan, direct, and coordinate various developmental opportunities, and they may implement and deploy information systems and technical solutions when necessary. According to PayScale, information systems managers make an average base salary of $87,257 per year.
  • Training and Development Manager
    Training and development managers are responsible for improving company and organization internal effectiveness. They often recommend various types of training and professional development opportunities for employees, providing support when necessary. They may also conduct one-on-one meetings with workers and lead and/or organize relevant workshops. In some cases, they are tasked with facilitating team-building exercises in order to make staff members more comfortable. According to PayScale, training and develop managers make an average base salary of $79,040 per year.

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