What Makes a Good Organizational Development Practitioner?

Not just any leader can be a great Organizational Development Practitioner. It takes a particular type of character to be able to carry out the role. It is understood that to be good leader certain qualities are essential to have. According to Richard F. Gerson and Robbie G. Gerson (N.D.), “some traits of a good leader are being a good role model, consistent in their actions, receives respect from those around them, has respect for others, able to motivate others to succeed, communicates well, have good emotional intelligence, and are flexible.”

However, having just these qualities can be a good leader’s trait; it does not mean the person is a good Organizational Development Practitioner. To be a good Organizational Development Practitioner, one needs to fully understand organizations, change, systems, processes, how they tie in together, and how to get changes and developments done with the implementation of these aspects.

According to Carrie Foster (2018), an Organizational Practitioner must be humanistic because development and change encompass all aspects of an organization, which includes people and their differing personalities, potentials, motivations, cultures, and skills. Without understanding how all these ties in together with the organization and its policies and goals, the Organizational Development Practitioner can not achieve the results desired. Another aspect that Organizational Development Practitioners have that leaders don’t is that they have an expert understanding and knowledge of the practices and theories of Organizational Development. A typical leader, manager, or business owner may not have the in-depth knowledge of behavioral or organizational sciences that an Organizational Practitioner has. The last aspect of being a great Organizational Development Practitioner is understanding how to teach, train, and convert the people within the organization to be the change that is needed. A great Organizational Development Practitioner will understand that once they achieve success in giving the organization the tools to develop themselves and sustain it, then the Organizational Development Practitioners’ job is complete and is a success.

Organizational Development Practitioners can help create conditions of motivation and maintain a commitment to change in various ways. It is crucial to understand people and understand that their motivations will be different from one another. The people you are trying to motivate must have internal motivation, and it is vital to find theirs and have it line up with the culture of the organization that they are a part of.


Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs addresses various forms of motivation at different levels. Understanding and applying the hierarchy of needs allows the Organizational Development Practitioner to ensure that the people at all levels of the organization have their needs met, from the basic requirements to the higher order of needs. According to Kendra Cherry (2020), “the higher levels of needs are desired after the basic needs are met, and these can include self-esteem and self-actualization needs.”

This means that if an organization develops a culture of change, learning, and motivation, then innovation, accomplishments, and growth can occur amongst the people and within the entire organizational system. For the internal or external Organizational Development Practitioner to be able to meet these motivational needs he or she needs to also understand why the motivation needs to be done; it is not enough to know how motivating people works. An organization can have excellent pay for their people, great bonuses, and amazing incentives, but this only ensures the people will want to keep their job it does not motivate them to perform to the best of their abilities and improve. Therefore, understanding the organization’s goals, direction, morals, and purpose can help to understand not only the motivation needed but why it is important to have them in place.

According to Quratul-Ain Manzoor (2012), “motivation is essential to the effectiveness of an organization. Considering businesses have to be able to adapt and change constantly in order to maintain competitiveness, it is important to remember that the people within the organization are the resources of success. The more achievement and recognition is received the more the people are willing to perform more effectively and efficiently to help reach organizational goals. When the policies, systems, structures, and rules align with ensuring the people are feeling appreciated, fulfilled, and accomplished then the organizational culture will be one of constant progress.”

Therefore, developing a culture where these needs can be implemented and coincide with the organization’s goals can ensure the Organizational Development Practitioner achieves the purpose of giving the tools needed for the organization to succeed.

The Organizational Development Practitioner may be more likely to step back and observe every aspect within the system and determine the feedback loop to evaluate the effects that will potentially take place. A leader or owner who is too close to the issue may not see it, especially if they are not trained experts in the topic.

In conclusion, a leader can’t be a good organizational development practitioner without the skills, knowledge, and characteristics needed to maintain the role, but an organizational development practitioner can be a good leader if they implement the characteristics and skills they have in a humanistic way.



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