There are plenty of different ways to be a leader, both in business and in life. From the various leadership theories and ways to lead others, to different aspects of mentorship and how to lead people through both crisis and periods of calm. There are dozens of different ways to lead and coach people in business, and no one is better than the other. Instead, all of them are tools that can be quite useful depending on the situation in which your business finds itself.
Organizational leadership is one of the leadership structures that can help various businesses, and the management approach does have a lot of benefits. But what is organizational leadership? What businesses benefit the best from it? And how does the proper implementation of organizational leadership benefit a business? Here’s all you need to know about this leadership style and how it can help you!
What is organizational leadership?
Traditional leadership is all about leading people, communicating with people, and teaching them to become better people. A leader is someone that people look up to and will follow without question, and they will have your back whenever you need them. However, organizational leadership is the leadership of an organization, because leading people and leading a business are two separate things. Organizations have a ton of moving parts and have a massive scope that leaders need to be aware of, especially if you have a massive business.
Many businesses have a massive scale that consists of many people, many locations, teams, projects, and operations all that you need to keep tabs on. The scope of the business is all about how much of that you are responsible for. What locations, people, teams, and projects answer directly to you? All of those are going to need leadership and that is where organizational leadership is needed.
Organizational leaders will be handling the big picture for the business, but just because the big picture is being managed, they are still focusing on smaller-scale leadership tactics.
Organizational leadership focuses on the big picture
For many smaller leadership styles, you find that the goals are all about getting through the day or the week. It’s turning in the papers, completing the small presentations or projects that need to be done, and then sending them all up toward the next level of the business. However, organizational leadership looks at the massive umbrella of every single part of the business and tries to focus on the bigger goals of the organization.
You will be overseeing the entire company and managing the massive goals. Your company might decide that they want to hit a certain amount of money next year, merge with a bigger company, release a new project on a massive scale, or complete some other goal that will cause major benefits for the company. That is a project that needs to be managed by an organizational leader.
You are focusing on the end goal and having the end in mind, and while focusing on the steps that you need to take to get to that end goal, you will also be focusing on people. The people who will complete the steps that will contribute to the processes that will eventually get you to the end goal.
What skills do you need for organizational leadership?
Managing a business can be tough for an organizational leader, and it needs various skills. Many of these skills are the same as those needed by other leaders, but a few of them are solely for organizational leadership. These skills are important to have and understand because managing all the moving parts of a business, no matter the size, is different from managing an entire team of people.
To make sure that you are the best organizational leader that you can be, you also need to make sure that have these skills so you can handle the various challenges of leading an organization.
A deep understanding of your business
Much like how a traditional leader focuses on understanding the ins and outs of their team, such as what strengths and weaknesses people have, who works well together, and the specific things that their team can do, an organizational leader needs to focus on understanding the business. They need to know all the aspects of your business and what goals the business has, as well as the ability of the business to meet those goals.
These leaders need to be able to lead the organizations into the future and pursue those opportunities that are designed to help them get to those goals, and they need to handle internal and external threats that will prevent the company from getting to that goal. Additionally, the organizational leaders need to understand the market trends that will create these plans. By being able to understand the various strengths and weaknesses of the business, the organizational leaders will go and be able to create a plan that will get the business to its goal.
Understand your business systems
The systems of your business need to be understood as a business owner. While an understanding of your business is certainly helpful and can be a good big picture, you should also be sure to understand how the systems in your business work as well. This skill is going to make sure that you as the leader will have the entire interest of your business at heart.
Because while many leaders can make many big-picture decisions, they find themselves in trouble because they don’t consider how these big decisions impact the rest of the business. However, if you are a business owner who understands how the decisions you make change the entire company, you can mitigate these problems and get back on track to head toward your goal.
The biggest turmoil that any leader needs to take on is change. Changes in teams, roles, promotions and demotions, and both internal and external events force the plan to change and the team to adapt. All of these can be massive hurdles for leaders, and leaders need to be able to work through the changes before they cripple the business. Managing change means making a new plan, preparing the plan, implementing the plan, and then choosing to follow through with the plan.
Change can be bad and unexpected, or expected and beneficial, and you won’t be able to reach a goal as a business without changing. If you could reach a new goal without changing, then you would do so already in your business. Organizational leaders must be ready to guide a business through change and make sure that the change isn’t detrimental or too impactful for the business.
Change can even be good and in many cases, it can even be necessary for the business to grow, take on new heights, and be better able to manage the challenges that are coming their way. However, even good change can be very disruptive, no matter how much a business has prepared for it.
The issue with being an organizational leader is that you are working on various organizations and parts of the business that you don’t directly supervise. This means that you need to make sure to communicate your goals and the tasks that you need to have executed with others, while also remaining true to the big picture.
Problems with communication or other breakdowns can force you away from a strategic role and into the day-to-day management work. It is important to have a team you can trust to handle operational and administrative work.
There’s a massive issue for leaders in the world of delegation because many leaders (no matter what field they are in) are focused on doing everything themselves. They want to complete the small tasks and also the large tasks themselves, because they are the only ones who can. It can be a massive task for leaders to be ready to delegate and an even bigger task to train replacements and people who can handle those tasks.
For organizational leaders, it is crucial to delegate smaller tasks because your job is to work on high-level tasks and strategies. You need to have different parts of the business run by teams and managers who will then manage smaller teams to complete the tasks and goals that you need to handle for the goals. Leaders need to focus on creating a clear vision and a path that will take you from where your business is to where your business should be. Then you can be sure that every single part of the organization is slowly starting to move towards the end goal that you have planned towards. Once you learn how to delegate, you can solely focus on the big-picture goals.
Delegation is a key skill you can learn and practice while still earning your advanced degree in organizational leadership. Marymount University’s programs prioritize practical learning and the application of your skills through your assignments and peer work, to prepare students for success within one of the many careers in organizational leadership available today.
How to use organizational leadership to manage your business
Now that you know the skills that organizational leaders need, and why organizational leadership is so different than various other forms of leadership, how exactly can you benefit from it? How do you use organization to benefit your business and reach your goals?
Have guidelines for the company
As an organizational leader, you likely will be focusing on the various big-picture problems that are either pulling your company towards or pushing it away from the end goal you have. While you won’t be dealing with the various issues that people might have on the smaller end, you can still have a hand in fixing minor problems. For example, if your employees are repeatedly clashing with management and that conflict is disrupting the bigger plans you have in place, then set up a structured approach that teaches both management and your employees to solve problems.
Additionally, these guidelines are going to focus on open communication between everyone in the workplace, because small problems that are not communicated don’t just lead to stress and other issues, but those small problems can also lead to massive issues with the bigger picture.
Focus on your goals and give goals to other leaders
Your business might decide that the main goal it has is to double its income and profits in the next year. As an organizational leader, you can have a plan to get the business there. However, you will need to delegate that plan to people who can complete the smaller steps that are needed for you to make progress as a leader.
While you are focusing on your goals, you need to make sure that the leaders who are underneath you are also goal-focused and prepared to take on their direction for their employees. Having everyone following the same clear direction can make sure that you as the organizational leader can step back and know that all the smaller parts are running smoothly.
Be available to your employees
Finally, everyone has had jobs and scenarios where it seems like the upper management is focused on the big goals and they don’t have the time to work on taking care of any small problems that are occurring on the small end. While you might find that the majority of your work focuses on the big goals and the wider picture, you should still make sure that the leaders underneath you can come out and talk to you about any issues they are dealing with.
Be prepared for crises
Every single business is going to go through some type of crisis at some point. It could be a small internal or external crisis or something that causes a lot of issues with your business and the end goals that you want your business to achieve. But no matter what type of crisis you are dealing with, you need to make sure that you are prepared to be a leader.
People instinctively look for leaders during a time of crisis, whether for help to figure out what to do, understanding the nature of the crisis, or just for reassurance that everything is going to be okay. A crisis is going to test your drive as a leader, and if you know what to do, you can focus on guiding your company through various crises all while growing your credibility as a leader.