The NLA (National Leaderology Association) is a non-profit association of leadership professionals dedicated to ensuring the integrity of the leadership discipline, advancing the science of leadership, leadership advocacy, and much more.
A practitioner in the science of leadership who has dedicated the bulk of their academic study to leadership.
One who studies, writes on, or is versed in the science of leadership.
One who is versed in, devoted to, the science of leadership.
Many things, but this list depends on which level we are talking about. Generally speaking, the primary distinction lies in the core focus. Members of the NLA actively seek to refine and enhance the hard skills of leadership. Leadership is not some abstract concept. Leadership education and training are rooted in the science of leadership, allowing our members to approach leadership from a perspective that emphasizes concrete skills and principles. While soft skills are still part of their repertoire, they are not the primary emphasis or foundation.
In contrast, those not specifically educated in leadership tend to prioritize the development of soft skills alone and are unaware of the hard skills or how to develop them. This is largely due to having not been exposed to necessary hard skills often covered in leadership studies.
By actively aquiring and honing the hard skills, NLA members are equipped with a strong foundation in leadership theory and practice. They typically possess a deep understanding of the mechanics and methodologies that drive successful leadership in both short-term and long-term contexts. This scientific approach sets most NLA members apart from coaches.
No, business administration does not typically count as a leadership degree. Business administration is more of a management degree and is evidenced by the lack of leadership-related courses. Specifically, it is a broad field of study that focuses on various aspects of managing and operating a business effectively. It typically covers subjects such as finance, marketing, human resources, and operations management. A degree in business administration provides a comprehensive understanding of business principles and prepares individuals for various roles in business; usually management positions.
No. A Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree is an advanced graduate program in business and management that emphasizes the development of managerial competencies. While elements of leadership might be covered in some programs, it is not considered a leadership-focused degree.
One is not necessarily "better" than the other. They are just necessary for different things. The Master of Science in Leadership (or specific sub-discipline) is designed to equip you with the necessary skills and knowledge to excel in leadership positions across various industries. It provides a comprehensive understanding of leadership theories, practices, and strategies that can be applied in diverse organizational contexts. On the other hand, the Master of Business Administration program focuses on developing a strong foundation in business and management.
There are various degrees that are frequently mistaken for leadership degrees, primarily due to ambiguous program titles or the inclusion of a few classes on leadership principles. However, it is important to note that these programs do not solely focus on leadership. Rather, they provide a brief introduction to certain elements of leadership, aiming to equip students with an understanding of certain leadership concepts and their relevance to their respective disciplines. This exposure allows students to interact effectively with individuals from the leadership discipline and gain a broader perspective on leadership within their chosen field.
Programs often confused for leadership degrees include:
Bachelor of Business or 'Professional' Administration, Management, Public Administration, and Human Resources.
Master of Business Administration (MBA), Public Administration (MPA), Public Health, and Education (M.Ed.).
Doctor of Business Administration (DBA), Public Administration (DPA), and Health Administration (DHA).
It depends. There is an interesting trend in academia attempting to blur the lines. The NLA generally frowns upon blurred degrees. While pursuing a degree that combines both management and leadership, such as an BS in "Leadership Management" or an MBA with a specialty in both areas, can sound appealing, there are potential issues that students need to be aware of. For Example:
Broad but shallow knowledge: Leadership is a highly complex topic already. Trying to blend leadership with management tends to result in a less in-depth exploration of each area and confusion regarding the principles and approaches of the two. As a result, graduates may possess only a loose or general understanding of both subjects without acquiring expertise in either domain, and are likely to blur the two in practice; leading to less-than-optimal results.
Competing priorities: Management and leadership are distinct disciplines. Attempting to balance the curriculum to cover both areas adequately often leads to competing priorities, where one aspect (usually management) is emphasized at the expense of the other (usually leadership). This could result in graduates lacking a comprehensive understanding of either management or leadership and improper application of either.
Curriculum design and quality: The effectiveness of a degree program depends on the curriculum design and the quality of instruction. Inadequate curriculum design or inexperienced faculty members attempting to teach either subject may result in a program that fails to provide a well-rounded education in either management and leadership. Usually, the faculty chosen for such programs are versed in one or the other; not both. This creates a certain level of bias and alters the outcome of the program's intent. Then there are programs that have latched onto the leadership buzzword but are actually not teaching much leadership at all. This tends to show itself in such programs.
Of course, these are just a few of the many issues associated with blurred programs. The NLA does not typically consider a blurred program a true leadership program. Hence, such programs and degrees are less likely to be approved or endorsed by the NLA as a leadership program. However, each situation is different and is evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Feel free to shoot us an email and we will review this with you.
The National Leaderology Association (NLA) defines a "leadership professional" as someone who holds at least one degree in leadership, specifically, at any level. These individuals have dedicated a significant amount of time and effort to studying leadership theories, models, and practices. Moreover, they have demonstrated an understanding of the science of leadership and have acquired the necessary skills to lead effectively in various contexts. NLA-verified leadership professionals are well-equipped to provide effective leadership guidance and support to individuals, organizations, and communities.
The NLA classifies leaderologists as individuals who have dedicated a significant portion or their entire academic careers to the pursuit of leadership knowledge and information. They have attained a level of expertise that sets them apart as true experts in the field. There are currently two levels of leaderologists.
Level 1: The NLA classifies a Leaderologist I as someone with a dedicated undergraduate and master's degree, or a dedicated master's and doctoral degree in leadership. These individuals have in-depth knowledge of leadership and have completed a leadership capstone and a research project (thesis and/or dissertation) on various aspects of leadership specifically.
Level 2: The NLA classifies a Leaderologist II as someone who has dedicated their entire academic career to the study of leadership. This means that they hold an undergraduate, masters, and doctorate in some area of leadership specifically. These individuals have authoritative knowledge of leadership having completed their capstone, thesis, and dissertation on leadership, and usually in more than one area leadership.
Regardless of which professional an individual or organization chooses to work with, these classifications demonstrate a necessary level of commitment and professionalism that the public can trust when looking for leadership guidance or support.
The NLA has established a standard that holding a single degree in leadership, even a doctorate, is not sufficient for someone to be called a leaderologist. An individual holding one degree in leadership is classified as a leadership professional. While a doctorate in leadership is a significant accomplishment, having been there ourselves, we can attest that a doctorate in leadership alone does not provide the foundational knowledge and skills that are covered in undergraduate and master's degree programs. This foundation is absolutely necessary to be a true leaderologist.
Foundational leadership knowledge is essential for developing expertise because it forms the basis of thorough understanding and is crucial for grasping more complex concepts and applying knowledge in practical settings. Without this solid foundation, individuals may struggle to comprehend some of the more advanced leadership topics or may inadvertently introduce management concepts into a leadership recommendation, which can blur the lines between the two disciplines and hinder outcomes.
As an organization that prioritizes the safety of the public, the NLA sets the highest standards for leadership education. As demonstrated by the Dreyfus model of skill acquisition, basic knowledge and understanding are crucial for developing expertise. Additionally, basic knowledge can help professionals identify gaps in their knowledge or areas where they may need to improve.
The NLA's standard is necessary to protect the public and our discipline because it ensures accurate recommendations and reasonable expectations. This standard also prevents the spread of inaccurate leadership information when accuracy matters most. Most importantly, this standard helps to maintain the credibility of the NLA, those in the field, and the leadership profession overall.