The reasons to consider an online Master’s in Leadership are many. The growing field of organizational leadership continues to grow at a fast pace as more and more companies and organizations rely on well-trained management professionals from diverse backgrounds to oversee organizational development and oversight of systems at all levels. Business leaders trained properly in organizational management will continue to benefit from a healthy rate of demand as well as a lower rate of unemployment in this particular career field. Organizational management leaders all over the country can draw an attractive annual salary.
If you are interested in an amazing graduate degree in business, you may be wondering about the best way to pursue a graduate degree in leadership. Some students struggle to consider a degree structure that is different from what a traditional graduate degree offered on a school’s campus includes. The truth is that an Online Master’s in Leadership offers distance learners many advantages to its conventional on-campus counterpart.
Working toward an online program in leadership means structuring coursework assignments that jive well with the professional’s personal and professional schedule as opposed to having to attend classes from Monday through Friday during regular business hours. While graduate students in the past were required to move to another state or city, thus resigning from an earned position within a company, the online graduate student enrolled in a distance program can study and work on assignments in the comfort of his or her own home.
Today, there are highly respected business schools that provide a 100% Online Master’s in Leadership all across the country. A 100% online format means never having to step foot on a college’s campus from when you apply to a program to when you work to complete all program requirements. Many of these online programs feature asynchronous course structures so distance learners can complete projects and assignments on their timetable with convenient 24-hour access to courses.
To rank the best Online Master’s in Leadership degree programs, College Consensus researched over 800 business schools from around the country and evaluated them based upon their affordability, reputation, and convenience.
Tuition should always be a factor when considering an advanced business degree. The tuition data for each degree in this this ranking is collected from each university’s website. The base tuition was calculated for the entirety of master’s degree, but does not include fees or books. The Affordability Score is this base tuition is inverted and then placed on a 100-point scale. This score attributes to 33% of the final ranking score.
The reputation of a degree and business school can prove to be an important factor in the business world. To find a balanced consensus on each program’s reputation, data was collected from the US News and World Report’s Best Business School Ranking and The Princeton Review’s Best 385 Colleges Ranking, as well as each school’s College Consensus Score.
To understand more about how a publisher consensus and a student consensus makes up our College Consensus score, visit our methodology page. All three data points were combined, averaged, and placed on a 100-point scale for the Reputation Score, which attributes to 33% of the final ranking score.
For a professional looking to pursue an online degree, convenience is of upmost importance. To hone in on each program’s convenience, we looked at if the master’s degree completed 100% online and if the GMAT/GRE requirement is waived or omitted during the application process. These two factors were quantified and averaged to make the Convenience Score, which attributes to 33% of the final ranking score.
Arizona State UniversityThunderbird School of Global ManagementTempe, AZ
The Thunderbird School of Global Management at Arizona State University delivers an online Master of Applied Leadership & Management. The school’s 30-credit hour program is priced at well below $20,000 and just over $15,000 in tuition. Program candidates will be interested to know the school’s admission office does not require a GRE or GMAT score during the application process. A GMAT exemption means students lacking test scores, and those who performed poorly on it, can save time and money by getting accepted based on other application requirements. The Princeton Review backs the university by listing it as one of the very best in the United States. The online Master of Applied Leadership & Management degree has been constructed to help distance learners wanting to increase their understanding of today’s business leadership. The 100% online program offered at the Thunderbird School of Global Management is designed to explore leadership through the lens of emerging and high growth markets. The Thunderbird School of Global Management is committed to delivering the highest quality graduate education at an affordable rate.
Quinnipiac UniversitySchool of BusinessHamden, CT
Quinnipiac University offers an online MS in Organizational Leadership at the School of Business. The university’s 33-credit hour program is priced at an accessible $30,000-$35,000 in tuition. Quinnipiac realizes that organizations and businesses across the globe are in desperate need of dedicated professionals who can encourage a workplace culture of productivity and innovation, lead effectively, and foster strong relationships with employees. The 100% online Master of Science in Organizational Leadership degree begins by developing the most crucial qualities that effective leaders in all fields need — the ability to understand others and a top-notch self-awareness. The School of Business curriculum builds upon that foundation by then delving into contemporary concepts such as emotional and social intelligence, data-driven performance improvement, corporate social responsibility, and strategic thinking. Every course of the program is completed 100% online. It centers on communication, organizational behavior, ethics, and analysis, competently preparing graduates to take the next bold step in their careers and position themselves within leadership roles in virtually all fields.
Champlain CollegeSchool of BusinessBurlington, VT
The School of Business at Champlain College features an online Master of Science in Executive Leadership. The business school’s priority is to transform a student’s career as a transformational leader by exposing students to a unique, personalized degree program. Champlain’s online graduate degree in executive leadership will equip students by tapping into a business professional’s leadership potential, honing one’s skills, and teaching how to lead authentically by promoting the success of the organization. The 100% online format features an intensive one-year cohort format and an emphasis on applied learning. Course designers have designed a degree that will challenge distance learners to grow in ways they never expected. The business school at Champlain knows that today’s businesses across all industries and sectors are actively seeking visionary, mindful, and engaged professionals who can lead at all levels within an organization. Students in this program will develop a deep understanding of their value paradigm and an individualized approach to leadership.
Creighton UniversityGraduate SchoolOmaha, NE
An online MS in Organizational Leadership is offered at the Graduate School at Creighton University. The Graduate School’s 36-credit hour online master’s degree program will strengthen a graduate student’s skills in making thoughtful decisions, handling adversity, understanding and managing organizational challenges, and collaborating with others—and all for the greater good. Students within this program can also expect to develop the skills they will need to navigate and inspire positive change in the workplace and community. Creighton University’s Master of Science in Organizational Leadership resides within the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies. A world-class faculty developed the program’s curriculum from varying backgrounds, including law, business, arts, health, education, and sciences. Distance learners will be immersed in a network of fellow students with diverse backgrounds, vantage points, and experiences. The degree’s interdisciplinary approach allows students and staff to exchange insights about their professional expertise and respective industries. The relationships formed within this 36-credit hour degree last long after the program ends.
Manhattan CollegeSchool of Continuing & Professional StudiesRiverdale, NY
Manhattan College’s School of Continuing & Professional Studies features an online Master of Science in Organizational Leadership. The school’s 33-credit hour program helps working professionals cultivate a leadership plan tailored to individual strengths, goals, and styles to advance professionally and personally. Manhattan’s MS in Organizational Leadership is a distance degree that is specifically designed for active professionals in a highly structured course schedule. Graduate students in the Organizational Leadership program will collaborate and advance in a cohort group with excellent support from faculty facilitators. The Organizational Leadership degree takes a distance learner’s skills and experiences and tailors the program to her needs. Graduates of this MSOL degree will be competent in developing a custom assessment to understand and process the individual’s professional growth sectors, personalizing a development plan that evolves throughout the program, engaging a real-world organization for functional improvement through organizational leadership. The tuition rate for this degree sits just above $30,000.
Duquesne UniversityMcAnulty Graduate School of Liberal ArtsPittsburgh, PA
An online Master of Science in Leadership is provided at Duquesne University’s McAnulty Graduate School of Liberal Arts. The 30-credit hour program of study is a perfect fit for adult working professionals with current or future leadership responsibilities at all levels. Graduate students from diverse professional backgrounds and experiences will thrive within this 100% online degree. Offered by the McAnulty Graduate School of Liberal Arts, the distance degree provides a wide range of business courses across disciplines to give the professionals targeted and flexible skills the chance to maximize their educational experience. Students enrolled in the MSL program can expect to develop and strengthen their leadership philosophy and style to advance their career development goals. Courses center on competencies such as creative and critical thinking, innovative problem solving, inspiring others, making critical decisions, communicating effectively, and forging alliances. All directives are offered within a robust ethical framework. The tuition rate for this top ten degree is an attractive $30,000.
University of DenverUniversity CollegeDenver, CO
An online MS in Organizational Leadership is delivered at the University College at the University of Denver. Graduate students pursuing this degree have the opportunity to cultivate their ethical leadership prowess as they learn to integrate innovation, strategy, and the emerging practices that inspire people and connect values to mission within an organization. As distance learners progress through their leadership development, they will uncover the ways effective leadership can transform work, social impact, and lives around the world. Graduates with this degree can expect to be competent in learning how to effectively manage change, processes, and people within dynamic environments across sectors. Classes begin every few months, so students have the convenience of being able to join this program at multiple times throughout the year. The business school offers an evening and 100% online format for course completion. There is no GMAT or GRE test score needed during the application process.
Indiana Wesleyan UniversitySchool of Service and LeadershipMarion, IN
An online MA in Organizational Leadership is available at the School of Service and Leadership at Indiana Wesleyan University. The 30-credit hour degree will provide graduates with a fundamental understanding of leadership theory and abilities to practice leadership in organizations. Course designers have created the program to target students from all organizations, including business, ministry, nonprofit organizations, government, and military. Upon graduation, students should be proficient in synthesizing historical and contemporary leadership theories to guide the active practice of organizational management better. Graduate students can also expect to be competent in integrating the foundational concepts of faith integration, authenticity, stewardship, wisdom, and followership as part of the ethical and character-based practice of organizational leadership. With a tuition rate of less than $15,000, this stellar degree is the most affordable program within this ranking. Courses included within the program are Research and Evaluation Methods for Leaders, Stewardship and Strategic Planning, Organizational Leadership in a Global Context, Followership, Ethical Challenges of leadership, and Organizational Behavior and Communication.
Bethel UniversityGraduate SchoolSaint Paul, MN
Bethel University’s Graduate School features an online Master of Arts in Strategic Leadership. The 36-credit hour degree has been designed to help graduate students advance their careers and prepare them as world-class leaders by equipping them with the knowledge and skills they need to excel. Distance learners enrolled in this 100% online program will learn to integrate their experience in their field with one of the nation’s most effective leadership skills so they can then shape the future of an organization. Graduates can also expect to be given the tools they need to balance innovation and continuous processes to meet goals, effectively respond to challenges and opportunities, and become a catalyst for change within any organization. The flexibility contained within this program is impressive. Students can take courses 100% online, in the classroom at the school’s campus in St. Paul, or as a combination of the two through blended learning. The tuition rate is between $20,000 and $25,000.
Lindenwood UniversityRobert W. Plaster School of Business & EntrepreneurshipSaint Charles, MO
Lindenwood University offers an online Master of Arts in Leadership at the Robert W. Plaster School of Business & Entrepreneurship. The business school has structured this 33-credit hour degree for business professionals who have already completed an undergraduate degree and have plans to enter a graduate program that will qualify them to take a leadership role in an organization, company, or the U.S. armed forces. Distance learners earning a leadership degree from Lindenwood University are well-positioned for leadership roles. If a graduate plans to lead a large or small organization as a part of her career goals, a leadership graduate degree will help her develop a career and leverage a better position as a member of management or executive management. Program architects have constructed this 100% online leadership MA program to equip students with essential skills, including development courses, organizational communications, organizational change, financial policy, personnel law, and business operations. The tuition rate of just over $15,000 makes this degree one of the most affordable in this ranking.
Murray State UniversityCollege of Education and Human ServicesMurray, KY
The College of Education and Human Services at Murray State University features an online Master of Science in Human Development and Leadership. Program architects have meticulously designed this 33-credit hour degree to meet the various needs of a broad spectrum of professionals currently working in business. Courses center on understanding human development and how one is to apply that information to leadership in the current and future career setting. Graduates of this MS program will be prepared to work in program development and administration within diverse career settings. Distance learners will be allowed to refine skills and processes in working with other professionals and the public sector. The 21 core course hours offer a solid foundation of data and expertise for anyone with leadership responsibilities. The concentration area of 12 hours then works to expand the student’s knowledge in a career field dictated by a current and future set of career goals.
University of Saint FrancisKeith Busse School of Business and Entrepreneurial LeadershipFort Wayne, IN
An online Master of Organizational Leadership is offered by the Keith Busse School of Business and Entrepreneurial Leadership at the University of Saint Francis. In just 12 months, a graduate student can equip himself to lead in any organization with a business degree that keeps professionals up to speed with the latest leadership practices. As one progresses through this 100% online program, a distance learner will gain the practical experience he can apply in any business setting. Students within this program also have the chance to take specialized courses into a field of their choosing. The MOL from the University of Saint Francis places a premium on quality and affordability. For less than $20,000, a distance learner can complete this excellent Organizational Leadership Master’s program. Program participants taking one course each term can expect to graduate in two years, while those taking two classes each term will complete all program requirements in just one year.
Southeastern UniversitySchool of Unrestricted EducationLakeland, FL
The School of Unrestricted Education at Southeastern University provides an online Master of Arts in Leadership. Program architects at the university have carefully designed this degree for driven professionals with a commitment to becoming industry problem-solvers. Southeastern University’s online graduate degree in leadership emphasizes the application of leadership in context with specializations in Entrepreneurship, Organizational Leadership, Nonprofit Leadership, and Research. Southeastern University’s 36 credit hour online MA in Leadership consists of an accelerated curriculum that fuses leadership innovation with key problem-solving tactics explicitly designed to equip working individuals with the tools they will need for the next step in business leadership. All courses are offered in a fully online classroom. The master’s in leadership degree provides four unique concentration tracks that have been developed to help a graduate student strengthen her professional skills, enhance her problem-solving potential, and reveal what it takes to advance in all forms of industry. The tuition advertised for this program is well below $20,000.
Saint Joseph’s UniversitySchool of Health Studies and EducationPhiladelphia, PA
Saint Joseph’s University’s School of Health Studies and Education delivers an online Master of Science in Organization Development and Leadership. The Organization Development and Leadership MS has been designed for professionals who want the opportunity to lead change and see outstanding results in today’s worldwide organizations. This incredible 36-credit hour degree covers the vital areas of leadership, personal self-development, organization change, adult learning and training, equity inclusion, talent development, organizational psychology, organization development, and diversity. The School of Health Studies and Education’s experiential learning structure allows distance learners the chance to apply classroom learning in the workplace in real-time. Class sizes are kept small and will offer interactive experiences with challenging and engaging projects and activities. Distance learners enrolled in this excellent 36 credit hour program will be a part of a robust and vibrant learning community. Tuition for this online degree sits just above $30,000. The program begins with a four-day residency that gives students the chance to meet instructors and classmates.
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University WorldwideCollege of BusinessDaytona Beach, FL
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Worldwide delivers an online Master of Science in Leadership at the College of Business. The business school knows that to be a strong leader means more than just possessing the willingness to take on an organization or even a project. Today’s modern workforce requires techniques and skills that involve critical thinking, communication, and strategy. Embry-Riddle Worldwide delivers an MS in Leadership degree program that has been designed to prepare graduate students to be mindful, passionate leaders who make a real contribution to an organization. The 30-credit hour MS in Leadership program at ERAU has earned an excellent reputation in business academia. Through a unique blend of leadership concepts and theory, core knowledge, tools and techniques, and skills and competencies, the degree prepares distance learners to lead with confidence. While completing this 100% online degree, students have access to unlimited opportunities in research in the aerospace and aviation industries with organizations like the Center for Aviation and Aerospace Leadership. The degree costs less than $25,000 in tuition.
Western Kentucky UniversityCollege of Education and Behavioral SciencesBowling Green, KY
Western Kentucky University offers an online MA in Organizational Leadership at the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences. This excellent distance degree consists of ten courses and 30-credit hours. The cost of the degree sits at a comfortable rate between $20,000 and $25,000. The MA in Organizational Leadership is the optimal degree one can take to meet the needs of diverse distance learners for professional training that includes knowledge from business, psychology, economics, leadership principles, communication, political science, organizational functioning, and research. This stellar degree was created after program designers asked the question of what a CEO would need to make his operations successful. The answer revealed itself as it is talented individuals who can effectively manage and lead different aspects of the organization. A glance online at the surveys of top career choices to pursue shows that managers with both professional and technical skills consistently top the lists. The Organizational Leadership degree at WKU prepares graduate students for a career in a wide selection of professions.
Saint Mary’s University of MinnesotaSchool of Business and TechnologyWinona, MN
Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota offers an online Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership at the School of Business and Technology. The business school’s rigorous curriculum and unique online learning format will build a distance learner’s creative problem-solving abilities while empowering the student to lead—enabling any organization to reach its full potential. The 100% online 36-credit program is paced to take 24 months to complete. Saint Mary’s online organizational leadership graduate degree is designed to help a working professional become an ethical, adaptable, and tech-savvy manager who can affect real and lasting change in an organization. Distance learners will learn how to overcome organizational issues, develop a team, and solve problems. Curriculum designers of Saint Mary’s organizational leadership graduate program have kept a close eye on ways course material will cultivate students’ skills and grow them into ethical, lifelong learners and leaders who are capable of creating real, effective change in their current organization and beyond.
Regent UniversitySchool of Business & LeadershipVirginia Beach, VA
Regent University offers an online MA in Organizational Leadership at the School of Business & Leadership. This 33-credit hour program is priced at between $20,000 and $25,000. The business school places a high premium on being able to help distance learners discover their leadership style and find ways to bring out the best in a team. Program facilitators teach from a Christian worldview. Regent University’s Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership is designed to help graduate students develop practical skills through real-life situations. Distance learners can also expect to gain a foundation in business theory and learn strategies to help keep an organization moving forward. Some of the concentrations associated with this 100% online degree include Interdisciplinary Studies, Leadership Coaching and Mentoring, Servant Leadership, Small Business Technology Management, and Social Entrepreneurship. Foundations of leadership: History, Theory, Application, and Development, Organizational Research, Analysis, and Problem Solving, Strategic Thinking, Planning & Organizational Change, and Leadership, Technology, Job Design Socio-Technical Systems, and Innovation are just some of the core courses included within this stellar program.
Concordia University WisconsinBatterman School of BusinessMequon, WI
Concordia University Wisconsin’s Batterman School of Business provides an online Master of Science in Organizational Leadership & Administration. This 32-credit hour degree features an attractive tuition rate of less than $25,000. Admission requirements for this degree include a resume, an undergraduate degree from an accredited university or college, a completed application form, a one-page essay expressing intent, a non-refundable application fee, a one-page essay expressing intent, a resume, and two signed letters of recommendation. The School does not require applicants to submit a GRE or GMAT score during the application process. All of the courses within this program are offered 100% online. The Batterman School of Business defines leadership as a process that includes setting a direction and purpose guided by moral and ethical Christian principles. A properly trained manager is one who will inspire people to work towards a common goal. The curriculum within this degree has been designed to aid a graduate student to set the tone for pace and quality of progress towards an organization’s success.
Maryville UniversityJohn E. Simon School of BusinessSaint Louis, MO
The John E. Simon School of Business at Maryville University features a Master of Arts in Management and Leadership. This 36-39-credit hour program is priced at just north of $25,000 in tuition. The business school also features no application fee, six start times each year, the chance for students to rectify all program requirements in just one calendar year, and there is no previous business experience needed for acceptance. The business school believes that authentic leadership starts with a professional, making one brave decision. Representatives of the John E. Simon School of Business want to encourage online learners to make their next big career move. Distance learners enrolled in the online Master of Arts in Management and Leadership program at Maryville will become the catalyst behind successful, stronger, more organized teams. The attractively priced degree is accessible regardless of one’s academic or professional background. Business school leadership is committed to helping establish distance learners become active in business leadership as they focus on developing in-demand management skills and qualities.
Brenau UniversityCollege of Business & CommunicationGainesville, GA
Brenau University’s College of Business & Communication features an online Master of Science in Organizational Leadership. Business school leaders have designed this 36-credit hour degree for individuals coming from a variety of professional and academic backgrounds who want to positively determine the human dynamics within organizations. Graduate students who wish to focus on building management skills across all types of organizations, instead of just in one specific discipline, will thrive within this 100% online program. The curriculum is also offered at the school’s campus in Jacksonville. Brenau’s Master of Science in Organizational Leadership is formatted as a 36-hour, 12-course degree program. Coursework within this stellar program provides distance learners with the opportunity they will need to learn about and apply modern business theory in organization development and change, critical and creative thinking, strategic planning, organizational learning, leadership, and conflict resolution. No GMAT score is required of incoming students. Candidates of the degree are required to submit all official transcripts and a resume to the admissions office. They are encouraged to have upheld a GPA of 2.5 at the undergraduate level.
Lewis UniversityCollege of BusinessRomeoville, IL
The College of Business at Lewis University features an online Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership. Concentrations within this 36-credit hour program include Training and Development, Professional and Executive Coaching, Higher Education Student Services, Nonprofit Management, and Organizational Management. Students can expect to satisfy all program requirements by completing two years’ worth of course study. The College of Business believes that an active manager understands how each team member plays a contributing role in a company’s success. Lewis University’s online MA in Organizational Leadership is offered as the key that will unlock the potential of a distance learner’s leadership abilities so that she can impact her team, her business, and her career. The degree examines theories of organizational management, organizational behavior, and organizational change to guarantee graduate students are prepared to take on a leadership position after program completion. The tuition rate for this 36-credit hour program at Lewis is just above $25,000.
Judson UniversitySchool of Leadership and BusinessElgin, IL
The School of Leadership and Business at Judson University delivers an online Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership. Curriculum writers have designed the program to help distance learners become effective leaders by providing practical applications within a spectrum of organizational settings. Graduate students of this 100% online MA in Organizational Leadership will learn how to motivate a team to communicate, create, and achieve a mutual vision. Students can expect to use critical thinking and reasoning to solve issues and make logical decisions. The 38-credit hour program offers distance learners a leadership “tool kit” they will immediately put to use in their current jobs while also maximizing their future career potential. Students choosing the on-campus option will complete the degree as a team as each class meets one night per week for six weeks. The entire business program can be completed in 16-18 months. Courses included in the degree are Leadership, Change, and Innovation; Strategic Leadership; Leadership Theories and Practice; Ethical Leadership; Analysis and Research Strategies; Leading High-Performance Teams; and Organizational Culture and Politics.
Webster UniversityWalker School of Business and TechnologySaint Louis, MO
Webster University’s Walker School of Business and Technology features an online Master of Arts in Management and Leadership. Curriculum designers have crafted this 36-credit our degree for distance learners who are interested in a graduate degree with a general leadership and management perspective. The ACBSP accredits this high-quality degree from the Walker School of Business and Technology. Courses like Integrated Studies in Management, Management Dynamics, Organization Development and Change, Organizational Behavior, Managerial Leadership, Managing Human Resources, and Basic Finance for Managers are included in this stellar online MA in Management and Leadership. The advertised tuition rate for the degree sits under $30,000. There is no GMAT requirement for this 100% online program, and students are not required to visit the campus in Saint Louis, Missouri. While the Management and Leadership focus includes 12 hours of elective credits, students may choose to add an emphasis to the program like Health Administration, Marketing, Cybersecurity, and Digital Marketing Management.
University of AlabamaCollege of Communication and Information ScienceTuscaloosa, AL
An online MA in Communication Studies with a specialization in Organizational Leadership is now available at the College of Communication and Information Science at the University of Alabama. Program designers have written the curriculum of this online Master of Arts in Communication Studies at the University of Alabama to help distance learners develop a deep understanding of the strategy and theory behind decisive and impactful communication. Through the Organizational Leadership concentration, graduate students will gain additional skills that will directly apply to any workplace setting. The 30-credit hour degree has been created to provide professionals with the opportunity to be exposed to both theoretical and applied aspects of interpersonal, public discussion, persuasion, and negotiation communication. Whether a student wants to move up in her organization or make a career change, this 100% online program is designed to give a working professional the skills she will need to understand the role that communication plays in a company, how to lead out with effective leadership, and improve interpersonal and group dynamics.
What is the Difference Between a Manager and a Leader?
All too often, you may hear someone use the terms “manager” and “leader” interchangeably. Today’s influential business professional would correct that as there’s a difference. EDUCAUSE’s director of professional development, Joan Cheverie, makes a clear distinction between managers and leaders. EDUCAUSE is an organization that deals with IT in higher education. As Cheverie puts it, a manager plans, organizes, coordinates and controls while a true leader provides direction, aligns people, and motivates. Cheverie reports that while a manager might set budgets and allocate resources, a leader will establish a vision, coach, and empower the staff. The two roles act to complement one another often, but management is focused on operations while leadership is entrenched in vision. Both are an integral part of modern business.
The Online Master’s in Leadership degree presented by many of the nation’s top business schools is designed to help distance learners explore contemporary and more traditional leadership theories and examine differing leadership styles. Many of these programs delve into strategic human resources management and cover the components of hiring, affirmative action, compensation, and regulatory procedures.
What are the Top Characteristics of Effective Leaders?
Some may find it difficult to quantify the marks of a top leader. While we may not all agree with particular characteristics of what constitutes strong leadership, there are commonalities to be agreed upon. In a recent study from Harvard Business Review, leadership expert Sunnie Giles explored this question in detail. Giles studied 195 leaders that work in 15 countries within over 30 global organizations. The participants were asked to note the 15 most essential traits from a list of 174 describers. The Harvard Business Review then published the findings. Topping the list at nearly 70% was “has high moral and ethical standards.” Second, almost 60% was “provides objectives and goals with loose direction/guideline,” which, the researcher explains, shows that team members prefer to be trusted to self-organize. Third, at just over 55%, was “communicates expectations well.” Other highly valued traits included “committed to continual training” and “open to new concepts and approaches.” The report concludes that employees thrive when they feel a sense of safety, belonging, and care.
What do other business leadership professionals think? The popular Fast Company recently published “The 5 Characteristics of Great Leaders.” Flexibility, the ability to communicate, patience/tenacity, acting responsibly, and humility topped the charts. Other studies and publications share these same concepts, and some common threads are confidence, leading by example, integrity, a commitment to moving an organization forward, empathy, and the ability to teach and inspire. While some excellent leadership skills are inherent, many others can be nurtured and learned. As graduate students within a degree like the Online Master’s in Leadership study topics related to organizational leadership, they will learn to recognize strengths and identify existing skills that they can further develop, helping boost their potential to lead effectively.
Leaders Focus on Corporate Social Responsibility and Ethics
Companies are, at times, created as a type of social enterprise. This means that their business model was created with a social cause or charitable mission in mind. For example, Tom’s Shoes and eyewear brand Warby Parker both operate on the “buy one, give one” format, so for each item they sell, a duplicate item is given away to someone in need.
Social enterprises are not the only organizations that are concerned with sustainability and acting as good corporate citizens. Organizations and companies of all shapes and sizes are currently taking strategic approaches to instill corporate social responsibility (CSR) into their specific brand culture. Examples of this type of action would include reducing a carbon footprint, selecting vendors committed to ethical standards, investing time as volunteers for the local community, and donating a percentage of proceeds to a specific charity.
Time Magazine reported that CSR initiatives could help leaders attract and retain talent. The publication cites a research study performed by Towers Perrin that shares how CSR is the most important influence on employee engagement. Time references a Deloitte research survey that shows how nearly ¾ of millennials believe an organization’s commitment to the community directly influences their decision to seek employment there.
Today’s consumers are making more informed choices than ever before, and potential employees strive to be associated with brands that make a difference and can retain a positive reputation. A degree like an Online Master’s in Leadership explores why corporate social responsibility and a heightened awareness of morals and ethics is crucial to today’s organizations despite their size or focus.
Leaders Nurture Corporate Culture
Consider the organization you’ve enjoyed working within for a moment. Why did you enjoy working there? Experts agree that a solid and obvious corporate culture is the key to attracting and keeping employees, workplace productivity, and customer satisfaction. According to the career website Great Place to Work, a leader’s ability to promote a positive corporate culture goes a long way in strengthening a company’s brand. Through this practice, employees can become ambassadors who express pride in their workplace through social media and word of mouth. The bottom line is that for all organizational culture is; it will always come down to the people working within an organization to set the tone for its success.
Leadership Means Building and Motivating Teams
Students enrolled in an Online Master’s in Leadership program have ample opportunities to explore the many approaches to developing, motivating, and maintaining talent to achieve common organizational goals and affect factors like corporate culture. No matter what a graduate student’s strategic approach to team-building is, as an organizational leader, she will be charged with moving employees and the organization toward success.
Leaders Exist and Can Thrive at All Levels
Workers do not need to be in a supervisory role or have “director” or “manager” in their title to be a leader within an organization. Phil McKinney is a leadership coach and writer who explains that influential, innovative leaders are found at all levels of an organization and in virtually every position available. McKinney notes that good leaders do not need to hold all the prestige and power but instead need to be ready with a good idea or an act of courage when the time is right to make a true impact as a leader. The key, McKinney reports, lies in employees of all levels feeling empowered by those at the top to make suggestions and not feel threatened. When workers realize they don’t have to be in charge of all systems to influence and inspire others, they can then make a positive difference in their organization.