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: LeAD has developed a leadership model that we believe is a comprehensive framework for conceptualizing effective leadership behaviors and practices. Our goal is to validate and explore methods for developing specific aspects of the model. For example, we would like to know what role passion/purpose, pursuit, pathways, people & place, problem-solving, positive persuasion play in positive leadership. Specifically in relation to passion and pursuit, which are may be underrepresented in the leadership development research.
  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.

How well are current organizational interventions aimed at developing leaders working? What are the characteristics of effective leader development interventions?

What motivates individuals to improve their leadership? What makes one developmentally ready?

What are the influential early life experiences that result in adult leader emergence and effectiveness?

Based on extant knowledge of leader development theory and research, what are some effective leader development strategies that LeAD can contribute to organizations that need them the most?

Examining the role of developmental readiness in the implementation of leader development following assessment center feedback (funded by the Kravis Leadership Institute and the Blais Foundation)

Defining and measuring leader developmental efficacy: An examination of construct and predictive validity (in collaboration with Stefanie Johnson and Steph Putter of University of Colorado-Denver)

The role of early active-recreational family environment and adolescent sports participation in adult leader emergence (in collaboration with the Fullerton Longitudinal Study)

Increasing cultural competence using a PsyCap development framework in the U.S. and South Africa (in collaboration with Joha Louw-Potgieter at the University of Cape Town, South Africa)

Learning to learn: Self-regulation for leader self-development and its interaction with learning goal orientation and organizational support

Timing of leader development support and developmental trajectories in undergraduate leadership education

Development of self-awareness and purposeful passion through a 9-month college Freshman leadership class (funded by the Soaring with Eagles Foundation)

Validation of an implicit measure of leader self-definition (in collaboration with Kerry Priest at Kansas State University School of Leadership Studies)

Meta-analysis on timing and leader development

Meta-analysis on ethical leadership

Impact of coaching on positive psychological capital and developmental readiness


As practitioner-based researchers, we seek to add to the existing evidence-base on leader development. At LeAD Labs, we believe not only in utilizing the best available evidence to inform our practice, but also in generating applied research evidence to add to the growing body of literature on leadership evaluation, assessment, and development. While conforming to the guidelines of research on human subjects including confidentiality of identity (both individual and organizational), all data provided to LeAD Labs will be used to generate a number of research products, such as theses, dissertations, conference presentations, book chapters, and journal publications.

Here are just a few of our recent publications:


Research on Leadership Development

Reichard, R.J., *Walker, D.O., Putter, S., *Middleton, E., & Johnson, S.J., (in press). Believing is becoming: The role of leader developmental efficacy in leader self-development. Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies.

Reichard, R.J. & *Beck, J.E. (2017). Leader developmental readiness: Deconstructed and reconstructed. In M.G. Clark (Ed.) Leader Development Deconstructed, Annals of Theoretical Psychology. Switzerland: Springer International.

Reichard, R.J. & *Walker, D.O. (2016). Leadership development in organizations. In A. Farazmand (Ed.). Global Encyclopedia of Public Administration, Public Policy, and Governance. Switzerland: Springer International Publishing AG.

Reichard, R.J. & Thompson, S.E. (2016). Leader developmental readiness: Pursuit of Leadership Excellence. New Directions in Leadership Series (vol. 149): Jossey-Bass.

Reichard, R.J. & *Walker, D.O. (2016). In pursuit: Mastering leadership through leader developmental readiness. In R.J. Reichard & S.E. Thompson (Eds) Leader developmental readiness: Pursuit of Leadership Excellence. New Directions in Leadership Series (vol. 149): Jossey-Bass (pp. 15-26).

Thompson, S.E. & Reichard, R.J. (2016). Context matters: Support for leader developmental readiness. In R.J. Reichard & S. Thompson (Eds) Leader developmental readiness: Pursuit of Leadership Excellence. New Directions in Leadership Series (vol. 149): Jossey-Bass (pp. 97-104).

Reichard, R.J., *Serrano, S.A., *Condren, M., *Wilder, N., *Dollwet, M., & *Wang, W. (2015). Engagement in cultural trigger events in the development of cultural competence. Academy of Management Learning & Education.

Reichard, R.J., *Dollwet, M., & Louw-Potgieter, J. (2014). Development of cross-cultural psychological capital and its relationship with cultural intelligence and ethnocentrism. Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies, 21(2), 150-164.

Reichard, R.J. & Johnson, S.J. (2011). Leader self-development as organizational strategy. The Leadership Quarterly, 22, 33-42.

Avolio, B.J., Reichard, R.J., Hannah, S., Walumbwa, F.O., & Chan, A. (2009). A meta-analytic review of leadership impact research: Experimental and quasi-experimental studies. The Leadership Quarterly, 20, 764-784.

Murphy, S.E., & Reichard, R.J. (2011). Early development and leadership: Building the next generation of leaders. (edited book). Applied psychology series. New York: Taylor and Francis.

Reichard, R.J. & Paik, S.J. (2011). Developing the next generation of leaders: Research, policy, and practice. In S.E. Murphy & R.J. Reichard (Eds.), Early development and leadership: Building the next generation of leaders (pg. 309-328). New York: Taylor and Francis.

Hrivnak, G., Reichard, R.J., & Riggio, R.E. (2009). A framework for leadership development. Handbook of Management Learning, Education, and Development (pp. 456-475). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Murphy, S. E., Reichard, R. J., & Johnson, S.K. (2008). Self-regulation and leadership: Implications for leader performance and leader development. In C.L. Hoyt, G. R. Goethals, & D. R. Forsyth (Eds.), Leadership at the crossroads: Leadership and psychology (Vol. 1, pp. 250-264). Westport, CT: Praeger.

Reichard, R. J. & Avolio, B. J. (2005). Where are we? The status of leadership intervention research: A meta-analytic summary. In W.L. Gardner, B.J. Avolio, & F.O. Walumbwa (Eds.) Authentic leadership and practice: Origins, effects, and development (pp. 203-223). Amsterdam: Elsevier.

Research on Leadership

*Serrano, S.A., & Reichard, R.J. (2011). Leadership strategies for an engaged workforce. Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research, 63(3), 176-189.

Riggio, R. E. & Reichard, R. J. (2008). The emotional and social intelligence of effective leadership. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 23(2), 169-185. [Top 20 article by immediacy and Top 20 article of 2009 and Top 20 article of 2008]


Research on Leadership Assessment

*Dollwet, M. & Reichard, R.J. (2014). Assessing cross-cultural skills: Validation of a new measure of cross-cultural psychological capital. International Journal of Human Resource Management, 25(12), 1669