Mission: LeAD develops leaders, researchers, and practitioners through the creation and application of evidence-based leadership research to help society pursue its full potential.

As an organization LeAD strives to create and apply the knowledge that develops effective everyday leaders. We consciously choose to use a positive psychology perspective in conceptualizing, planning, executing, and applying research for the benefit of leaders and their organizations.

Broad Research Questions

  1. How can leaders be developed most effectively?
  2. What contextual factors moderate the impact of leader development?
  3. What challenges are practitioners facing that could be address through our research?
  4. Leader development isn’t as effective as it could be. How could it have a bigger impact?
  5. What constitutes effective leadership? What outcomes are important to evaluate when assessing leader development?

Specific Research Topics

  1. Coaching: Global revenue from coaching is $2 billion annually (PwC, 2012), and some believe it is the fastest growing field within consulting (Liljenstrand & Nebeker, 2008), however research has lagged behind the practitioner literature (Feldman & Lankau, 2005). Our objective at LeAD is to bridge this gap between coaching practice and research. We think that it is important to find out whether coaching is an effective method for developing leaders and what aspects of the coaching engagement (mediators) influence coaching effectiveness.
  2. Leader self-development: We take special interest self-development as a lens through which all leader development can be studied. We believe that individuals must take personal responsibility for their own growth, even if the impetus for their participation in an intervention is external (that is, they are forced to participate). The motivation to increase one’s leadership capacity and act on personal goals comes from within, and cannot effectively be coerced. We are particularly interested in understanding how and why individual leaders engage in developmental activities outside of formal organizational requirements. In studying self-directed behavior change efforts, we take an approach grounded in social cognitive theory (Bandura, 1986), and self-determination theory (Ryan & Deci, 2000). Specific research questions include measuring the influence of self-regulatory skills on development, organizational support mechanisms for self-development, and positive unintended consequences of self-development initiatives.
  3. Leader development evaluation: LeAD values the importance of rigorous leader development evaluation. Many leader development interventions in practice go un-evaluated, and if they are evaluated many lack sound comparison groups, random assignment, and/or validated measures of leadership. As an institution at the intersection of research and practice, we are well positioned to evaluate leader development interventions (both our own and others’) using applied research methods. Our evaluations should be generalizable to other contexts beyond the specific context being studied to contribute to the broader knowledge base of effective leader development.
  4. Leader Assessment: Assessing leaders is an important aspect of measuring leader effectiveness and developing leaders through increased awareness. We would like to explore the best methods for assessing effective leadership, for providing actionable feedback for leader development, and for utilizing assessment in conjunction with coaching interventions.
  5. >6PLeadership Framework:
  6. Developmental readiness: We are interested in advancing the body of knowledge of developmental readiness, a meta-construct purported to accelerate the pace of leader development. It includes learning goal orientation, self-concept clarity, leader complexity, metacognitive ability, and developmental efficacy. Now that there are validated measures for all five sub constructs, we aim to validate developmental readiness as a meta-construct. This includes demonstrating that leaders higher on these constructs develop at a faster rate than leaders lower on these characteristics. Additionally, we are interested in exploring constructs not previously identified that may accelerate leader development.