Top Organizational Leadership Careers: Duties and Requirements

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Organizational leader discusses plans for improving processes with coworkers.

Organizational leadership refers to the function of professionals in both nonprofit and for-profit sectors who manage an organization’s processes and departments in an effort to meet that organization’s goals. Professionals interested in pursuing careers that involve leading an organization, such as working as a nonprofit executive director, CEO or human resources manager, must start by developing several key skills, including learning how to empower a team, refine company operations and improve company efficiency.

Attaining a master’s degree, such as the Rider University online Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership (MAOL), can help students develop these skills, enabling them to pursue organizational leadership jobs. Rider’s online MAOL program is designed to help students build on core managerial competencies and strategic decision-making skills. Upon completion of the program, graduates often find that they’re well prepared to pursue leadership opportunities within their field. Read on to learn more about the career paths, salaries and job growth expectations for MAOL holders.

Possible Organizational Leadership Career Paths

Students in Rider’s online MAOL program are taught skills applicable to various career paths in the public, private and nonprofit sectors. Popular career paths include the following:

  • Community service manager. CSMs coordinate and supervise community organizations. For example, a CSM at a community health care clinic might manage the types of services the clinic offers, such as dental visits and children’s health care. Additionally, CSMs collect information about the services to determine how much of an impact the programs have on their target audience. Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects the social and community service manager occupation to grow by 18% between 2016 and 2026. The BLS further reports that the median annual salary for a CSM was $65,320 in 2018.
  • Training and development manager. TDMs oversee staff and coordinate training programs that help employees enhance their knowledge and skills. For example, a TDM at a homeless outreach clinic might develop programs to educate staff on how to best interact with clients who have mental health disorders. Data from the BLS projects the occupation to grow by 10% between 2016 and 2026, which is faster than its growth projections for the average occupation. The BLS further reports that the median annual salary for a TDM was $111,340 in 2018.
  • Postsecondary education administrator. PEAs are responsible for overseeing academics, faculty research and student services at a college or university. For example, a PEA at a community college might determine how many students to admit to the school and analyze data about applicants versus admitted students. Data from the BLS projects the occupation to grow by 10% between 2016 and 2026, which is faster than average. The BLS further reports that the median annual salary for a PEA was $94,340 in 2018.
  • HR manager. HRMs direct and coordinate administrative functions of the organizations where they work. For example, an HRM at a tech company might be responsible for recruiting and hiring employees who help further the organization’s goals. HRMs are also responsible for overseeing employee benefit programs. Data from the BLS projects the occupation to grow by 9% between 2016 and 2026, which is about as fast as average. The BLS further reports that the median annual salary for an HRM was $113,300 in 2018.
  • CEO. CEOs, another popular organizational leadership career path, devise policies and strategies to ensure that an organization meets its goals. They negotiate contracts, appoint department heads, and identify ways to cut costs and improve productivity. The BLS projects the occupation of top managers, which includes CEOs, to grow by 8% between 2016 and 2026, which is about as fast as average. The BLS further reports that the median annual salary for a CEO was $189,600 in 2018.
  • Nonprofit executive director. Nonprofit executive directors are the top executives of the companies they work for, and their responsibilities are similar to that of CEOs. The difference is that they calculate risk, financial goals and company growth within the context of their nonprofit’s concerns. Data from the BLS projects that jobs as top managers, which includes nonprofit executive directors, will grow by 8% between 2016 and 2026, which is about as fast as average. According to July 2019 PayScale data, the average annual salary for a nonprofit executive director is $69,481.

Skills Gained by Pursuing an Online Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership Degree

Rider’s online MAOL program helps students develop key skills that can help them succeed in their careers. Graduates of the program often find they have enhanced skills, including the following:

  • Problem-solving. Professionals need enhanced problem-solving capabilities to be successful in their careers. Rider’s MAOL students are taught to develop an enhanced understanding of how to identify problems so they can evaluate, select and implement solutions.
  • Communication. Rider’s MAOL students learn how to concisely relay information, as this can help ensure that others receive and understand their messages. They’re also taught the importance of active listening, which involves using direct eye contact when speaking with staff, paraphrasing and restating information that staff members provide.
  • Budgeting. Rider’s MAOL students learn how to set and manage budgets. Upon graduation, students will understand how to make conscious decisions about how to allocate business expenses. This skill is needed to ensure that a company’s expenses don’t exceed its income.
  • Strategic planning. Aspiring leaders enrolled in Rider’s MAOL program learn strategic planning skills, which managers need to determine how an organization can best achieve its goals. Upon graduation, students will understand how to set company priorities, strengthen company operations and ensure that staff work toward a common goal. Strategic planning skills are a must for professionals interested in pursuing organizational leadership careers.
  • Project management. Successful project managers need to know how to achieve all of a company’s goals based on budgetary and time constraints. Rider’s MAOL students learn how to allocate company resources to ensure that a project’s timelines and requirements are met. Upon graduation, students will understand how to manage all parts of a project, from inception to completion.
  • HR and staff management. Planning, coordinating and executing an organization’s HR functions, such as developing employee compensation packages and personnel policies, takes skill and expertise. Rider’s MAOL program includes coursework in strategic HR management, in which students learn how to recruit, select and develop employees, as well as strategies that can be used to create a positive work environment.
  • Customer service. Customer service skills include leadership skills, listening skills, problem-solving skills and professionalism. Rider’s MAOL students are also taught components of effective and ineffective leadership, especially in times of company stress, such as when a major client submits a complaint.

Learn More

Great organizations need great leaders. Professionals who choose to earn Rider’s online MAOL will learn how to refine company operations, improve efficiency and positively impact the organizations where they work. Your path toward a career in organizational leadership starts today. Discover how Rider University’s online Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership can help you develop the skills you’ll need to apply for the job you want.

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Sources

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Human Resources Managers

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Postsecondary Education Administrators

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Social and Community Service Managers

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Top Executives

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Training and Development Managers

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, What Top Executives Do

Houston Chronicle, “What Jobs Can You Get With an Organizational Leadership Degree?”

PayScale, Average Nonprofit Executive Director Salary

PayScale, Master’s Degree, Organizational Leadership Degree