Organizational Leadership Degrees Open Doors to Careers in HR


You are looking to sharpen your skills in management and leadership, so you can effectively impact a company, but you already have or do not want to have a degree in just general business. You want a degree that lets your management skills shine brightly, helping you to better impact a company. There is a degree for this skillset, called an Organizational Leadership Degree.

What is an Organizational Leadership Degree?

An Organizational Leadership Degree is a degree field in which a person’s leadership abilities are sharpened and honed, to help make them the best leader they can be. The skills learned in this degree field can help you to motivate others more effectively, and to implement different changes in your work without causing too much disruption. Someone with an Organizational Leadership Degree can actually watch as the goals they set for their organization are reached and watch the positive impact these goals have made; some consider this to be one of the most rewarding aspects of the field.

The goal of the Organizational Leadership Degree field is: “To prepare professionals from diverse career backgrounds to build stronger, more effective organizations and a more skilled, engaged workforce.”

This philosophy is applied to:

  • “Create and communicate a vision for their organization
  • Drive systemic change, improvement, and innovation within the organization
  • Inspire, train, and motivate a diverse, engaged workforce
  • Anticipate and adapt to changes in the external and internal environments
  • Address emerging issues in diversity, sustainability, technology, and ethics”

By the time you graduate with your Organizational Leadership Degree, you “will [have] gain[ed] an understanding of the proper ways to manage people within a business environment.  [You] will become an expert in motivating workers, instituting changed within an organization, and how to be an effective leader.” These are skills that are highly sought after in any field, including consulting firms, program developers, trainers, motivational speakers, and human resources (HR).

What Can I do with a Degree in Organizational Leadership?

This degree field gives you a wide level of flexibility in choosing what area you want to work in upon graduation. Organizational Leadership Degrees can be used in corporate, nonprofit, government or community institutions. Students who graduate with this degree end up with the knowledge needed to make positive changes in their workplaces and communities.

“Today’s companies and communities seek innovative, organizational leaders who are able to navigate complex, global business environments; to manage and lead virtual, multidisciplinary and dispersed teams; to thoughtfully manage and guide change; and to balance the needs of stakeholders, employees, and customers, as well as society.”

Most organizations have an HR department, so with this degree, you will have many choices in front of you when you graduate. The HR department is intended to help create policies with the employees in mind, including helping resolve conflicts and maintaining different compensation programs for the employees. HR also deals with the recruitment of new employees.

This department is vital to helping organizations run smoothly, so if you are interested in this field, getting an Organizational Leadership Degree will make you completely ready to enter this field upon graduation. There are multiple positions in an HR department, and your degree can be easily applied to a position as the HR Manager or the HR Specialist.

HR Manager

The HR Manager is responsible for more of the high-level administrative planning, and they generally have a group of HR Specialists working under them in different areas of the company.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Human resources managers plan, direct, and coordinate the administrative functions of an organization. They oversee the recruiting, interviewing, and hiring of new staff; consult with top executives on strategic planning; and serve as a link between an organization’s management and its employees.” They project that this field will grow by nine percent in the next 10 years.

HR Specialist

The HR Specialist deals more with the people and employees than the HR Manager does. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that “Human resources specialists recruit, screen, interview, and place workers. They often handle other human resources work, such as those related to employee relations, compensation and benefits, and training.” This is also a growing field that is projected to grow by seven percent over the next 10 years.

What Level of Education do I Need to Succeed?

You can get an Associate’s, Bachelor’s, or Master’s in Organizational Leadership, but many companies require a minimum of a Bachelor’s to get you in the door. Even if you start out with an Associate’s, it is best to consider expanding your education to a Bachelor’s and then a Master’s in Organizational Leadership, because while your career expands your education should too. The degree you have when you apply for your first HR job will help you get it, and if you can continue advancing your education, it may help you work your way up in the HR department.

Skills Needed as an Organizational Leader

As an Organizational Leader, you will need to have a strong goal-oriented vision, but also an understanding of how these goals will affect others. Strong people skills are vital to any field someone with an Organizational Leadership Degree enters.

According to Maryville University, some of the key skills in Organizational Leadership include:

  • “Interpersonal communication
  • Strategic business planning
  • Delegation
  • Cultural intelligence
  • Versatility
  • Team (relationship) building
  • Leadership development
  • Decision-making
  • Change management”

This is only a small list of the skills an Organizational Leader needs to have, but they are all equally important to both your success in your company and to the success of the company itself.

Setting Yourself Apart

With a degree in Organizational Leadership, you will be setting yourself apart from your competition. Not everyone who applies for the HR job you are wanting will have an Organizational Leadership Degree, and having one clearly shows that you have put in years of work into learning how best to lead. Showing any prospective employer that can help make you stand out in the job market.


About the Author

Auz Burger has a Bachelor’s in English Literature and minors in media communications, professional writing, history, and women’s studies from Washington State University. She is a freelance editor and writer who writes for many sites, including Organizational Leadership Degrees. Connect with her on Twitter at @AuzBurger.


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