What is Organizational Leadership?
Many people consider leadership to be an art, and many consider management to be a science. Organizational leadership is a blending of the art and the science in order to give a company direction. There is no single doctrine outlining the rules and beliefs of this business tool, but there are several similarities no matter what the company or goal. Learning organizational leadership doesn't require a college degree and can be applied in a variety of diverse careers.
Organizational leadership does not mean having a boss think of a command and then watch as it is filtered throughout the ranks. Instead, it is the ability of management to understand its employees and company goals enough to bring everyone together. Frequently, an organization with excellent leadership will have employees who feel that their opinions are valued and that their work is highly important to the shared success of the whole organization. There is no single technique to ensure that this happens.
Every company is different, and positive leadership recognizes that and turns it into an advantage. Utilizing team-building exercises, instilling leadership development on all levels of organization and fostering positive communication are some techniques used to promote positive leadership. Many times, these exercises are used to fix organizations in trouble. An example would be an insurance company that is losing money, so it gives bottom-line financial responsibilities to individual employees instead of departments, in order to foster ownership of the company's mission.
Organizational leadership is not taught in one place but is instead fostered over many places. Many colleges offer degrees in organizational leadership and focus on a curriculum of business management, psychology and communications. Many professionals also develop their corporate leadership abilities by attending seminars and presentations aimed to teach certain principles and techniques. One of the easiest ways to learn is by asking a leader to become a mentor. Learning on the job is a great way to prepare for a leadership role.
A corporate environment is the most common place to see organizational leadership practiced. An office, with its bureaucracy and established goals, normally is a simple place to apply these lessons and see measurable advances. It also is used in many other places, including human resources departments, events planning, banking and even restaurant management. Any business with employees and goals is a prime candidate to use these techniques.
Organizational leadership provides guidance and personnel management for a company to reach its goals. There are a variety of ways to get to these goals and just as many personality types to see it done. By learning in a college setting, in seminars or through on-the-job training, organizational leadership can be art and a science that will help ensure future success.
I agree with all the real-world experience arguments. Instead of going to college, my boyfriend managed a gas station and was able to work in the video game industry (something he has a passion for) as a manager. Now he does IT and is gunning for a team lead position, so you never know where that experience will lead you.
One of the best ways to build these skills is to find a group to volunteer in that has officers. I went to school with a lot of people that gained leadership skills by running a campus club or a volunteer organization (plus it always looks great on any resume).
I was a project leader in 4-H and a camp counselor. I learned a lot of skills in terms of motivating people. That, and you truly test if you even want to be a leader.
Truly strategic organizational leadership cannot all be learned in a classroom. Great leaders also need real-world experience as well, so even a great degree is not quite enough.
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