Universities in Kenya are facing challenges arising from rapid expansion, increased high education demand and competitive pressures. With heightened levels of rivalry, the question of sustaining their performance is critical. Themain objective of this study was to investigate the effect of organizational leadership on performance of universities in Kenya. Organizational leadership was operationalized on the basis ofability to create clear strategies, envisioning corporate priorities, employee empowerment as well as infrastructural and resource support This study adopted a mixed research design consisting of explanatory and cross-sectional survey designs to determine the cause- and- effect of the study variables model incorporating the strategic leadership constructs was examined using multiple linear regression model.The target population of this study was 25 universities comprising of 289 respondents randomly selected from the top and middle level management.A semi- structured questionnaire was used to collect primary data while secondary data was collected using document review and was used to validate the primary data. Using stratified simple sampling method, a sample size of 168 respondents was selected. The response rate was approximately eighty eight percent and was adequate for making research inferences and drawing conclusions. Quantitative data was analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics and this included percentages, frequencies, mean and standard deviations while inferential statistics involved regression analysis. The findings of this study established that organizational leadership has positive and significant influence on university performance in Kenya.This suggests that the quality of leadership traits directly impacts on the extent to which a university attains it goals. The study recommends that for universities in Kenya to sustain their performance, there is need for careful integration of carefully designed leadership strategies.As well as optimal investment in development of leadership skills.
Key words: Organizational leadership, Organizational performance, University performance, corporate priorities