Effective leaders have the soft skills it takes to reach people with a message and rally teams around strategic objectives, and the kind of hard management skills and know how required to put plans into action. With an OL degree, you’ll develop both.
Coursework at the bachelor’s level and in MAOL/MSOL and even MBA programs in organizational leadership encompass that full range of mission critical skills – everything from mastering effective communication, to drawing insights from business data, to aligning company resources from multiple departments with an organization’s chief objectives.
Building Both Relationships and the Power Grid, Bill Johnson Showed Kansas How Effective Organizational Leadership Delivers Results
Plenty of business leaders in Kansas exemplify this blend of soft and hard skills. Bill Johnson, General Manager of Kansas City Board of Public Utilities (BPU), is one of them.
If you wanted to meet someone with technical know-how and people skills, it’d be Bill Johnson. He’s worked at Kansas City BPU for over 39 years, climbing up from an entry-level position to directing some of the utility’s largest initiatives, including:
- Modernizing BPU’s transmission infrastructure.
- Implementing advanced enterprise technology that enhanced the utility’s operational integrity.
Before earning a position as General Manager, he oversaw all projects under the utility’s Electric Operation and Technology Division. This granted him responsibility over departments from electrical engineering to fleet maintenance.
Take a step back and think about Johnson’s ability to navigate multiple departments. Communicating and solving problems with electrical engineers is a different animal than keeping a fleet of service trucks up and running, but Johnson managed to do both effectively. It takes a person who’s capable of connecting with a diverse group of people to be able to pull that off. It’s a character trait that makes for an effective leader.
Based on Johnson’s credentials, it’s clear the man has a passion for what he does. Passion can’t be taught, but what you can learn are the methods he used to bring the company together, all pulling in the same direction to achieve a clear and actionable objective. Those methods are among the core skills you’ll develop through an organizational leadership program.
What You Can Do in Kansas With a Master’s or Bachelor’s in Organizational Leadership
When marketing yourself to employers throughout Kansas, you’ll be able to highlight the projects you worked on as you earned your degree in organizational leadership. Every program’s a little different, but by in large, they all cover similar concepts and follow a similar structure. And in graduate programs in organizational leadership, you’ll almost always find a capstone project sitting atop that structure.
A capstone project is where you demonstrate the skills acquired throughout your education, applying them in a creative and innovative way to real world challenges business leaders face. Capstones often ask students to develop a solution to a fundamental challenge within their communities or those found in local organizations and businesses. It could be increasing a city’s potable water supply or expanding a business’s market share.
Capstones are data-driven processes: your recommendations will be based solely on evidence. Let’s take the potable water supply project as an example. To increase your city’s supply, you’ll need to gather:
Then, you’ll demonstrate your understanding of the problems individuals involved with such a project face. What would be the cost of increasing the supply pipe size across city districts? Does the city have the labor to complete such a project, or would much of the work need to be subcontracted?
A strong capstone will look good on your resume. It’s certainly going to matter a lot more than your GPA. It demonstrates to employers that you could help them solve some of the organizational problems they’re facing.
Who would those employers be? In practice, it could be any public or private sector employer looking for talented leaders. Today, in Kansas, a couple big initiatives stand out as examples of where effective organizational leadership is proving to be essential.
Kansas’ State Transportation Improvement Program Relies on Effective Leadership at the Ground Level and Up
The State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) oversees federally funded projects that will help the state reach the goals specified in the 2020-2045 Kansas Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) and Transportation Asset Management Plan (TAMP).
Infrastructure is a very resource-intensive industry. You not only need to consider the needs of local communities and the businesses that use the roads, but also the capabilities of the Department of Transportation (DOT), engineering challenges, and material availability.
For example, before getting a project off the ground, the Kansas DOT must follow project selection criteria. Once the DOT selects a project, they need to figure out how it’s going to be financed by funding supplied through the STIP’s fiscal budget. So there’s an element of bureaucratic management with some basic accounting info.
If you’re a detailed-oriented person with an inclination toward construction projects, a position in the STIP program would be a good fit for you. As we outlined above, there are a lot of moving parts, but an initiative such as this will get you used to working with multiple stakeholders.
Organizational Leaders in Government and Industry are Working Together to Attract Workers to the Sunflower State
Not sure if you’ve heard, but there’s a labor shortage across the US, and Kansas is no exception.
Take the construction industry for example. Mike Gibson, Executive Vice President of Build Up Kansas, says the state’s building sector will need about 58,000 workers to replace those entering retirement. Another area that’s in need of workers is childcare.
Officials have proposed a range of solutions to this problem. The Topeka Capital-Journal cited the Kansas Policy Institute’s Dave Trabert, who suggested reducing the tax burden on businesses. Others such as Special Committee on Workforce Development’s Sean Tarwater (R-Stilwell), recommended launching advertisements on TV, social media, and other online sites to “create some excitement” over these jobs.
You could be the fresh perspective in this conversation. Use the skills you developed during your studies to put together an action plan to attract more workers to Kansas. What sort of programs would incentivize people to move to the Sunshine State? How could the cost of living remain low so as to retain them?
Universities in Kansas Offering Master’s and Bachelor’s Degrees in Organizational Leadership
Not sure where to apply? We’ve assembled a list of all the organizational leadership programs in the state offered at the bachelor’s and master’s level.
Central Christian College of Kansas
BS in Organizational Leadership
MS in Strategic Leadership
Fort Hays State University
College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences
BA/BS in Organizational Leadership
Master of Professional Studies in Organizational Leadership
Minor in Military Science and Leadership
Minor in Leadership Studies
Leadership Studies Certificate
Global Leadership Certificate
Criminal Justice Leadership Certificate
AAS in Technology and Leadership
Supervisory Leadership Program
BBA in Strategic Leadership
MS in Strategic Leadership
Also offers: BS in Business Administration with a concentration in Leadership
Kansas Christian College
Accreditation: ABHE (Association for Biblical Higher Education)
BA in Leadership and Ministry with an emphasis in Organizational Leadership
Also offers: BA in Business Leadership
Kansas State University
College of Business Administration
BS in Management with a Organizational Management track
Nonprofit Leadership Studies Undergraduate Certificate
Organizational Leadership Graduate Certificate
Leadership Studies minor
MidAmerica Nazarene University
BA in Organizational Leadership
BA in Leadership and Management
Newman School of Business
Campus, online, hybrid
BS in Organizational Leadership
MBA with a concentration in Leadership
Also offers: Leadership certificate
Angell Snyder School of Business
BA in Leadership and Management
MA in Leadership
Also offers: MBA with a concentration in Leadership Development
BS in Strategic Leadership
MS in Leadership
Operational Leadership certificate
Organizational Communication certificate
Executive Leadership certificate
University of Kansas
School of Business
BSB in Management and Leadership with an Organizational Leadership track
MS in Organizational Leadership
Also offers: Leadership Strategies and Applications certificate
Wichita State University
College of Applied Studies
BAS in Organizational Leadership and Learning
Also offers: Visionary Leadership certificate