Preparing yourself for an executive-level role is equally about managing and leading, and developing these competencies starts with your education.
Developing applicable skills, such as solving problems, using emerging technologies, communicating goals and strategies, and improving operational efficiency — all to help an organization function more effectively — can encourage direct reports and peers to choose to follow you as a leader.
While you’ll need advanced training to gain expertise in your specific field of interest, such as finance, technology or marketing, a bachelor’s degree can begin to ready you for the C-suite by shaping your ability to solve problems, listen and communicate well, and stay organized and focused — all relevant skills for executive leaders.
In particular, a bachelor’s in organizational leadership aims to foster these competencies as well as provide exposure to topics such as resource allocation and capital investment management. By preparing you with the competencies to excel and lead in a variety of positions, such a degree can prove beneficial as you advance towards the C-suite.
Preparing to lead from the start
An organizational leadership degree can help you develop the business acumen required for management roles in for-profit, nonprofit, public or private organizations. Upon graduation, you can apply your knowledge to areas such as change management, strategy implementation and more because you’ve worked to develop expertise that applies in many settings. Proficiencies often covered in an organizational leadership program center around communication, resource management, assessment and strategy.
“Successful future senior executives will have a solid track record for demonstrating the skills, knowledge and personal characteristics needed to lead effectively,” says Ellsworth, who cites examples such as having a clear vision toward goals, where and how you fit into an organization, and how you position yourself for future opportunities.
While job requirements for top executives can vary by industry and company, candidates typically must have a strong educational background alongside relevant and considerable work experience. With an organizational leadership program that takes a pragmatic approach to learning, students can study the competencies needed to be effective leaders and apply that knowledge throughout their careers.
Possessing the skills of a strong leader
Listening carefully and strategically solving problems are two essential competencies for a leader to possess. While these abilities can prove integral at the executive level, it’s also important to show you’ve built a variety of proficiencies throughout your education and professional experience. An organizational leadership program often offers courses that help professionals develop these competencies. Covering subjects like behavioral dynamics in organizations, resource allocation, diversity and more, the coursework can give you the holistic, strategic insight needed for a future C-suite career.
Established expertise can help you stand out when pursuing C-suite positions. You should focus on demonstrating strengths in the following areas: