organizational leadership career examples

Examples of Organizational Leadership Careers, and Where You Might Fit In

A leadership title provides an individual with power in the hierarchical structure of an organization. Typically, a leader oversees employees or has other direct responsibilities for delivering success, whatever that may mean, depending on the function of the business. Organizational leadership examples stem from all industries, including education, corporate, manufacturing, non-profit, as well as government. While there are so many nuances between what an organization strives to achieve in each of these sectors, the presence of leadership positions in all of them is a common thread.

Within any given organization, you might encounter titles such as:

  • President
  • Chief Executive Officer
  • Chief Financial Officer
  • Chief Security Officer / Chief Information Security Officer
  • Executive Vice President
  • Vice President, Senior Vice President, Assistant Vice President, or Associate Vice President
  • Director or Assistant Director
  • Manager or Senior Manager

Manager or director positions usually include a reference to a specific department, for example, “Senior Northeast Region Sales Manager,” “Director of Business Development,” or “Assistant Director, Human Resources.” For larger organizations or corporate entities, it is also common to have a departmental-specific senior leadership team title, such as “Vice President, Marketing” or “Vice President, Technology.”

So, is becoming an organizational leader about gaining experience in a department and climbing the corporate ladder? Or, are there other examples of rising to the leadership occasion that come from other directions? Building your career can feel like a wild zig-zag, but as any out-of-the-box thinker knows, there is more than one way to get to the top. Here are a few ways of addressing your current circumstances through a lens of growth, to help you understand how your organizational leadership goals could be within arm’s reach.

Choose a flexible master’s degree program

Many people, especially those who’ve had limited opportunities for any reason, may not think that a leadership career is within reach. Other obligations always seem to have gotten in the way of professional advancement and educational opportunities. Yes, we’re talking about more than 50% of the world’s population. A study by IBM, launched in 2019, investigated women in leadership. Though we cannot discount the historical leaps and bounds by which women have contributed to the workforce over the last century, recent data shows that the same gender roles that held women back in previous eras are still lurking and nefarious. Between 2019 and today, data shows a decrease of women in leadership positions such as senior vice president, vice president, director, or manager. It’s no coincidence that 2020 brought about a collective barrier for women striving for career advancement; COVID-19. As children were sent home from school to do virtual learning and shelter from COVID-19, families had to adapt. For many families, at least one adult in the household had to work shorter hours, drop to part-time, or stop working altogether to supervise their kids. According to the National Women’s Law Center, women lost 5.4 million net jobs since February 2020, and they are still having trouble rejoining the workforce. In December 2020, women accounted for 100% of job losses.

We’re here to tell you that it’s not impossible to care for a family and also pursue a master’s degree that will help you reclaim leadership roles. An online, flexible master’s degree program can get you there.  Goodwin University’s Master’s in Organizational Leadership (MSOL) program, for example, can be achieved in a fully online or hybrid format, and completed in as few as 20 months part-time. Study when you can and according to your life, without the confines of a fixed class schedule (which can be a true deterrent for multi-taskers like you).

Cultivate curiosity and humility

Silicon Valley executive John Hagel III expresses an unexpected point of view in The Harvard Business Review on leadership. Mr. Hagel’s major career takeaway is that leaders should not have all the answers. The best way to inspire trust in peers is to ask big, powerful questions. There are benefits to inviting people at your organization as well as those external to your organization into the conceptual and challenging business-thinking process. Internal constituents may feel increased ambition to unveil solutions that are as diverse as your team is. Clients and customers appreciate being heard, and any impact that they make on business choices (give credit for optimum goodwill!) will assure a long-term commitment and trust in your product or service. Transparency is a key strategy that, seemingly conversely, displays confidence and strength.

An organizational leadership master’s degree can help you balance the most important attributes of a successful leader through both a hands-on leadership capstone, as well as an impressive curriculum that highlights courses like:

  • Leading Organizational Change
  • Sustainability of Innovation and Strategic Advantage
  • Negotiating & Conflict Response
  • Operations Management Across Organizations

Study and do what interests you

Maybe you’ve spent the past several years at an organization and you’re not feeling acknowledged for your work and accomplishments. It might be time for a change! Whether you’ve been bantering your boss for a raise, or you’ve grown complacent and continue to convince yourself that the next big break is around the corner, make today the day that you decide to take a less circular route.

LinkedIn’s 2019 Workforce Learning Report shows that the major retention factor for employees is, aptly for the title of the study, learning. The motivating factor to stay at a company, for 94% of employees surveyed, is if that company invests in employee learning and development. In short, if you’re not learning, it’s hard to grow. Growth that’s custom fit for your personal goals and interests is most satisfying. Whether you’ve been working in the hospitality industry but you have a flair for education, or your passion for policy means that local government is your next leap from corporate America, a Master’s in Organizational Leadership can help you move not just horizontally, but upwards. MSOL graduates benefit from career outcomes in many settings and prove that they have a competitive and valuable skillset.

The mindset of an achiever is that there’s always more to learn, do, see, and be. It’s also the mantra of a leader. Learn more about the career-boosting power of Goodwin University’s MSOL degree by contacting us at 800-889-3282, or by requesting more information online.