Leadership as the Key to Professional Success

Faculty Insights Leadership

This article was written collaboratively by Teresa Goode, Nancy Pawlyshyn, Sriram Rajagopalan, and Les Stein.

We are living in a time when the importance of leadership is becoming more evident with each passing day. We know that effective leadership can make our world a safer, happier, and healthier place with fewer military conflicts, a more equitable economic system, and greater access and opportunity for all people regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, or sexual orientation. Sadly, we have a shortage of leaders, primarily because not everyone understands that leadership is a combination of art and science that takes time and effort to develop. For those willing to put in the hard work to hone their leadership capability, the rewards and benefits can be significant and gratifying. Becoming more effective leaders can help individuals achieve the kind of purpose and impact that makes life meaningful and productive.

The Need for Skilled Leaders is Growing

Recent research shows that in U.S. organizations, 71 percent of companies do not feel their leaders are able to lead their organizations into the future, 58 percent say their top priority is closing leadership skill gaps, and 84 percent anticipate a shortfall of leaders in the next five years.

A more sobering statistic is that 50 percent of today’s jobs are occupied by millennials and 63 percent of those individuals said their leadership skills are not being fully developed. This data clearly points to a need for leadership development.

An opportune place to develop such leadership capability is the Master of Science in Organizational Leadership at Northeastern University. The curriculum focuses on developing professionals for greater responsibility and leadership in a variety of organizations, including technology, business, education, nonprofit, healthcare, and government. We prepare students to be competitive for the next management promotion at work, or for a career change that involves a leadership position with a different organization.

The program combines theory and practice to deliver multiple and diverse opportunities for students to gain a full appreciation for the many challenges facing leaders at all levels and in every kind of organization. Realizing that change and transformation are now a constant, our students are encouraged to learn the true meaning of agility and resiliency. More than buzzwords, these terms have meaning that is grounded in research and concrete examples that reside in companies like Google, Apple, Toms Shoes, and many others.

The Benefits of Earning an Advanced Leadership Degree

Our organizational leadership students have opportunities to participate in co-ops and work with domestic and international organizations on real-world experiential learning projects. The students have multiple opportunities to share professional experiences with their classmates and instructors, both in traditional on-ground and virtual classrooms. For example, during a recent class discussion, most of the students indicated that they rarely receive performance feedback, either formal or informal, from their supervisors. This prompted animated and excited conversations about what they will do differently relative to performance feedback and rewards when they are in senior leadership positions.

Students in the graduate leadership program come to recognize the true meaning and significance of great leadership. They learn its language and fully assess their own leadership capabilities, while identifying areas for improvement. Many of our students express surprise when they realize that they have multiple leadership strengths. Others are engaged and grateful for an opportunity to develop and improve their leadership skills by delivering TEDx-type talks where their own authentic leadership communication style is cultivated. They appreciate the rich feedback from instructors and peers. Still others learn the importance of coaching and mentoring as a way of improving individual leadership skills while also creating significant benefits for their organizations. In today’s challenging global environment, we also emphasize that ethical behavior is the hallmark of great leadership. Our curriculum prepares students to meet ethical challenges that are a part of their daily lives.

At Northeastern University, we believe that great organizations are the product of great leadership. Many people ask how they can develop and improve their leadership abilities and how such skills will help them attain success. A good start is Northeastern University’s Master of Science in Organizational Leadership program—a nationally recognized program that provides working professionals with the tools they need for personal and professional growth and success.

To learn more about how Northeastern prepares its students to lead the organizations of the future, explore the program page or download our free guide to leadership skills below.

Download Our Free Guide to Effective Leadership in the 21st Century” width=