How to Become an Organizational Leadership Professional

Leo Salgado is a professor of organizational leadership at Geneva College. He earned a Bachelor of Science in architecture at Penn State University and a Master of Business Administration at Phoenix University. He then went on to pursue a Doctor of Strategic Leadership at Regent University. Leo teaches such courses as leadership and ethics, leadership and motivation, and principles of organizational finance, to name a few. Leo has written multiple published articles and is currently working on a book.

What is organizational leadership?

Organizational leadership entails the absolute identity between the leader and the led, as they create the future of the organization, by together deeply internalizing a grand idea, and passionately living it out through wisdom.

What do you find most interesting about organizational leadership?

Organizational leadership allows us to create the future. By the future I mean new aspects of society or business that have never been done before. A good example is what Howard Schultz did. His leadership created a third place in America. We had never before drank coffee in the environments that he helped create.

What is your least favorite aspect of organizational leadership?

The difficulties of leadership are enormous. We live in a world that is indifferent toward the future and to ideas that generate high levels of motivation. For the most part, in our society we frown upon people who get too excited about an idea. We prefer level-headed people.

Are there subfields of organizational leadership that students might not be aware of?

Since leadership, as opposed to management, is a response to transformational change, understanding the field of change is very important. It becomes crucial to understand in great detail the different types of change and what roles leadership plays in each.

What careers do students commonly pursue with a degree in organizational leadership?

It seems that in today’s market place, all types of organizations value people who understand and practice leadership. My students have gone on to work in all kinds of careers, from human resources to manufacturing to retail to non-profit administration.

Is a graduate degree preferable for a career in organizational leadership, or can someone enter the field with a bachelor’s degree?

Organizational leadership requires practice to truly know it. My suggestion is that students spend time in working in their field before entering a master’s degree program. At the end, experience and a master’s degree will help students achieve their purpose.

What personality traits do you think a student should have in order to be successful in an organizational leadership program?

An organizational leader must have the courage to fall passionately in love with grand ideas and people, to be able to say please, to speak up and insist on what is right, to get involved, and have much restless curiosity for the future.

What electives would you recommend that a student in an organizational leadership program take?

History and sociology from a variety of perspectives, also creativity courses.

What study tips would you give to a student to help him or her succeed in an organizational leadership program?

Leadership is about becoming a leader through practice. Seek to practice as much as you can while studying theories.

Do you think organizational leadership is a subject that can be studied online, or is a traditional class environment ideal?

Since what makes a leader is the practice of leadership, it doesn’t matter how the leader acquires the theory that helps the leader make sense of what leadership is about. Online classes require discipline and self-motivation, traits that leaders should acquire.

What subjects should a prospective student of organizational leadership study before entering a formal college program?

More importantly is that the student gets involved in the community or in extra curriculum activities either leading or following. Practicing leadership at all levels will help them acquire some important social capital, also capital required for good leadership.

What pieces of advice, or caution, would you offer to a prospective student of organizational leadership?

Time becomes very important in the making of a leader. The leader must first be able to learn to listen and become a good follower. Then the leader must make enough mistakes to learn what leadership is all about. Persistence, patience, and courage then become very important. Students must realize that it’s going to take time — sometimes many years of preparation for the right time when followers will respond to their leading, because the student has matured enough to lead.