importance of organizational leadership

The Importance of Leadership in an Organization (and Where You Might Fit in!)

Strong leadership is the true cornerstone of an organization. It is also the backbone of a business. The nervous system of a team-driven operation. The thermometer for when calamity strikes. The hand that shakes on a cooperative negotiation. The mouthpiece for distinct departments. Hold on – how can leadership be various metaphorical body parts and tools all at once!? It’s because leadership is found at every level of the organization! Though there may be only one CEO or President or Executive Director, leadership careers can be found in every department, and they are labeled with a multitude of titles. How do you recognize these leadership titles throughout an organization, and how did those leaders get to these high places? Consider this your guide to the importance of leadership in an organization (and your guide to getting there!).

Chief Executive Officer

The CEO is typically the highest ranking authority at an organization. They are the ultimate captain. However, there are often other “Chief Officers,” such as Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Chief Operations Officer (COO), Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Chief Information Officer (CIO), Chief Security Officer (CSO), Chief Technology Officer (CTO), Chief Communications Officer (COO)…. the list goes on. As you can imagine, each of these titles comes associated with a department which they have ultimate responsibility for. They may still report to the CEO, but they hold major company equity as well.

Becoming a C-Suite Executive is a major goal for some. Getting there takes a combination of education, hard work and experience, communication and networking skills, and a dash of good luck. A Business Master’s degree, such as a MBA or MSOL degree, is still an enormous asset: 40% of Fortune 100 CEOs have one. It also takes time. At a large organization such as the Fortune 100s, internal candidates are selected 79% of the time for C-Suite roles. Read on for some of the other important leadership roles you may want to test out before climbing all the way to the top.


This title is so, well, presidential, that it’s a little confusing to learn that a President at an organization is almost always second in command. The CEO partners with the President in order envision the future and write the road map for the organization. The President is more involved with the day-to-day business functions at an organization, while the CEO focuses on managing goals and measuring benchmarks. The strategy that the people at the top come up with is dispersed to appropriate team leaders… leading us onward to those strategic team leadership roles.

Managing Director

A Managing Director has the important job of holding a team together that meets one of the core goals for the organization. They might be the Director of Marketing, Director of Sales, Director of Technology, Director of Communications – you get the idea. These roles will often require a Master’s degree, and if you have studied one of these areas, you’ll be a good candidate to those specific roles. More broadly, if you have an MSOL degree, you might qualify for any of them!

Depending on the size of the organization and the type of work that the team does, the number of people overseen by the Managing Director varies. For example, small businesses might only have a staff of one or two marketing professionals, but they might have 20 sales associates. The Managing Director is the link between those team members, and the relevant Chief Officer at an organization. They also often converse with the Board of Directors. It’s a dynamic role that requires excellent communication skill. There will be annual and quarterly goals to meet, and the Managing Director will need to be able to manage the department’s budget. Because Managing Directors are responsible for their departments’ performance, they also manage hiring and training for their team members.

Manager or Supervisor

Individuals in this role typically have excelled as a team member, and set their sights on being a team leader, otherwise known as Manager. They might be under the Managing Director, yet will oversee a smaller group of peers who have titles like Associate or Coordinator or Specialist. They are strong collaborators, they delegate, evaluate, and pass along any problems or roadblocks to their superiors. Getting into an organization as a Manager or Supervisor with an MBA or MSOL is another perfect route to utilize your leadership skills and get to work!

Project Manager

Different from plain “Manager,” a Project Manager has authority over a certain part of an organization’s daily work. Their expertise has qualified them to ensure consistent quality and success in a specific area: for instance, marketing, product management, or a technical process. They might work between teams, as the link between, for example, the copywriters at an organization and the content developers, or, the graphics managers and the publishing branch. If you are creative, a good planner, and a detail-oriented individual, a Project Manager role could be a good fit for you.

It’s plain to see that a Master’s degree in business leadership, such as Goodwin College’s MSOL program, will help you to get your foot in the door and start making a difference in the leadership of an organization. Got a new job? Great! Demonstrate your potential, take on new job responsibilities, earn a heftier paycheck… and soon enough, you might find yourself at the top!

Call Goodwin College at 800-889-3282 to learn more about our Master’s in Organizational Leadership program – offered entirely online and designed to fit your needs. You may also request more information by visiting us here.