A strong leader can motivate and inspire employees and promote growth and change within an organization. In the television series Parks and Recreation, Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) leads her team of employees with enthusiasm and conviction. If you’re like Knope and have a penchant for motivating and inspiring others to do their best, then a degree in leadership would be a natural fit.
Gain the Skills Employers Want
Sought after for their strategic thinking, communication and team building skills, leadership graduates may find themselves working in many areas, some at the executive level. Potential careers include training and development managers, human resource managers, medical and health services managers and special event coordinators.
Others may go into the education field. Whether the job title is principal, superintendent or director, school administrators work to improve the educational environment of students at all levels.
Other potential careers include nonprofit management, politics, sports management and even careers in the entertainment industry.
“Our graduates can apply their leadership skills within virtually any functional or technical area,” said Paul Dyer, lead faculty member for the OU College of Professional and Continuing Studies (PACS) Organizational Leadership programs. “For some, they will want to work in areas that specialize in leadership development, such as human resources, training and development, and even consulting.”
The graduate program offers three areas of concentration, so students can choose a path that best suits their interests –– organizational leadership, volunteer and non-profit leadership, and government and military leadership. Both the bachelor’s and master’s degrees can help students grow their ability to lead others.
Lead Positive Change for Your Organization
"Students who take advantage of this program will greatly accelerate their ability to lead others and, of course, enhance their career opportunities by doing so."
“We provide content that teaches students to assist organizations in increasing their overall leadership capacity,” Dyer said. “In other words, the degrees grow students’ leadership abilities and also teach them how to help organizations gain greater overall leadership capacity.”
Students in the MAAL program can get an even bigger advantage by choosing the new Experiential Leadership Completion Program. The program offers an intensive five-day, on-campus learning experience and a one-month personal application of leadership skills.
“I believe that students who take advantage of this program will greatly accelerate their ability to lead others and, of course, enhance their career opportunities by doing so,” Dyer said.
Potential salaries vary, but students in organizational leadership programs have the opportunity to make a great living doing something they really enjoy using the practical skills and tools they learn while completing their degrees. Of course, the industry where you choose to build a career has a lot to do with the salary you’ll make.
“For example, oil and gas companies pay much more than nonprofits. Military careers offer great benefits, tangible and intangible, but their salaries can’t compete with the private sector,” Dyer said. “Nevertheless, I’m confident that learning to lead and learning to grow others into leaders, gaining knowledge about how to build high-performing teams, knowing how to create and change cultures, and enhancing your writing and communication skills will greatly improve one’s earning power.”
So, whether you’re developing the skills you need to lead an organization as an undergraduate or honing the leadership skills you already have in a graduate program, an organizational leadership degree will arm you with the communication, conflict resolution and mediation skills necessary to excel and thrive wherever you land.
“Unquestionably, students who can demonstrate the ability to lead and help others grow in their abilities to lead will have many wonderful opportunities,” Dyer said.