For years, the leadership industry has been an interdisciplinary field, as it draws from a variety of social sciences such as psychology, sociology, organizational behavior, communication, and others. However, this is beginning to change as more people focus their academic careers on leadership specifically. For those who can meet the standards, there is a designation that promotes transparency, instills confidence, safeguards the public, and showcases a dedication to rigorous research and leadership practices.
The suffix “-ology” comes from the Greek word “logia,” which means “the study of.” The suffix “-ogist” comes from the Greek word “logos,” which means “the word or reasoning.” Thus, the suffix “-ology” is used to form the names of academic disciplines or fields of study, and the suffix “-ogist” is used to form the title for a person who studies in a particular field. For example, “psychology” is the study of the mind and behavior, and a “psychologist” is a person who studies psychology. “Sociology” is the study of society and social behavior, and a “sociologist” is a person who studies sociology.
Similarly, and in the spirit of social science, a leaderologist specializes in the study and analysis of leadership. The main goal of a leaderologist is to uncover the underlying principles and practices that make some leaders effective and to identify the factors that can lead to success or failure in leadership positions. This involves a deep and thorough examination of leadership theories and an in-depth analysis of real-life leaders and their leadership styles.
One key aspect of leaderology is the study of leadership development and growth. This involves the examination of the various experiences, training, and education that leaders have undergone to help them develop the skills and qualities necessary for effective leadership. Another important aspect of leaderology is the examination of leadership in different organizational and cultural contexts. This can involve the study of leadership in government, non-profit organizations, businesses, and other types of organizations, as well as examining leadership in different cultural and geographic contexts.
The term “leaderologist” was coined to differentiate between individuals with formal leadership education and training and those without, promoting a higher degree of professionalism in the field. It’s essential to clearly distinguish between those who have invested significant time and effort in studying leadership theories, principles, and practices and those who self-proclaim themselves as leadership experts without adequate background and expertise. Using the term “leaderologist” does several things. It signals the completion of rigorous academic leadership programs, a contribution to the leadership knowledge base, sets these individuals apart for recognition of their knowledge and skills, and aids clients and organizations in making more informed decisions about their investments. The importance of this cannot be overstated.
In an academic setting, a leaderologist plays an essential role in advancing the understanding of leadership, training future leaders, and contributing to developing the field of leaderology. While it takes many forms, a leaderologist might perform the following tasks:
In a private practice setting, a leaderologist may work with various clients, including individuals, teams, and organizations. They may also collaborate with other professionals, such as coaches, consultants, and therapists, to provide clients with comprehensive services. Some common services may include, but are not limited to:
Regardless of where they are found, the ultimate goal of a leaderologist is to use the insights and findings from their research to help leaders and organizations develop their leadership skills and practices. This can involve the development of training programs, creating best practices for leadership development, and creating tools and resources that can help leaders and organizations achieve their goals.
A leaderologist is expected to have a strong foundation in the theory and practice of leadership. Leaderologist education typically includes both undergraduate and graduate-level education. However, sometimes it may only be a master's and doctorate. Accordingly, one will note that the degrees are in leadership specifically.
Undergraduate Leaderologist Education
Aspiring leaderologists should begin their education with a bachelor’s degree in leadership. These programs are usually four years in length and may be available as a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Science (BS) degree and may have a variety of leadership titles, such as Leadership, Strategic Leadership, Organizational Leadership, etc.
Much like other social sciences, a leaderologist typically has both an undergraduate and graduate degree in leadership. At the master’s level, students will pursue a Master of Arts (MA) or Master of Science (MS) degree in Leadership or a specific area of Leadership. From there, a leaderologists may pursue a doctorate (Ph.D., Ed.D, etc.) in leadership or a particular area of leadership and then contribute to the pool of leadership knowledge.
The curriculum for a leaderologist will be leadership specific and may include courses in organizational behavior, leadership history, leadership theory, leadership development, decision-making, communication, ethics, etc. They may also have training in research methods and data analysis, which is essential for conducting independent research and studies on leadership.
In addition to formal leadership education, leaderologists engage in ongoing professional development and training. This might include attending conferences, workshops, seminars, and reading and writing in their field. Because the leadership industry is currently unregulated, leaderologists are encouraged to adhere to this social science standard to contribute to industry integrity.
Overall, a leaderologist is expected to have a strong foundation in the theory and practice of leadership, as well as the skills and knowledge needed to conduct research and analysis in the field. They must be able to think critically and creatively, and have excellent communication and interpersonal skills, as they may interact with various individuals, including leaders, organizations, and the general public.