Research and Leadership Briefs

The National Leadership Consortium has been collecting data from the graduates of its 100+ Leadership Institutes and programs for more than 17 years. Our database houses information about trends in the field, impact of our programs, and perspectives from more than 2,500 leaders of disabilities organizations across the nation. We are pleased to analyze and deliver the results of this longitudinal research in bite-sized, easily digestible portions in our one- or two-paged research briefs! In addition, we offer one- to two-page leadership briefs that highlight skills and strategies relevant to leaders in our field and system. Check them both out below!


June Research Brief - What Organizations Need to Support the Goals of People with Disabilities

June Research Brief - What Organizations Need to Meet the Goals of People with Disabilities

At our Leadership Institutes and other trainings, we are constantly hearing from leaders of provider organizations about the barriers to delivering quality, person-centered, community-based services to the people with disabilities they support. To better understand the top obstacles leaders face, we ask them on our surveys about what is needed to provide better services. Read more about the specific barriers leaders face in our June Research Brief.

Download the "June Research Brief - What Organizations Need to Meet the Goals of People with Disabilities" Brief


May Research Brief- Staff Participation, Value, Impact, and Support

May Research Brief- Staff Participation, Value, Impact, and Support

Discover the heartbeat of disability service organizations nationwide with our May research brief. Delve into critical dimensions of Staff Participation, Value, Impact, and Support, drawing insights from 820 professionals nationwide using the OPPI. Explore trends in organizational priorities and practices shaping employee empowerment, service high quality, and excellence. From employees' participation in Strategic Planning to their input in Financial Decision-Making, explore the critical areas for improvement to elevate staff engagement, support, and service quality for people with disabilities.

Download the "May Research Brief- Staff Participation, Value, Impact, and Support" Brief


April 2024 Leadership Brief – Coaching as a Tool for Teams and Leaders

April 2024 Leadership Brief – Coaching as a Tool for Teams and Leaders

Research shows that coaching can be an extremely beneficial tool for increasing engagement, job satisfaction, and productivity but many leaders never have the opportunity to seek coaching support. Despite this, there are ways to bring about the outcomes of coaching through intentional practices and strategies.

Explore two coaching models that leaders can bring to their teams and organizations to aid in employee development and consider ways that you can bring this to your team or organization.

Download the "April 2024 Coaching as a Tool for Teams and Leaders" Brief


April 2024 Research Brief – Authentic Leadership Skills in the Disability Field

April 2024 Research Brief – Authentic Leadership Skills in the Disability Field

The Leadership Institute of the National Leadership Consortium focuses on strengthening Authentic Leadership skills through its content and activities, so we checked in on past graduates’ perspectives of their Authentic Leadership skills in our 2023 and 2024 Annual Survey.

We asked participants of the survey to rate their Authentic Leadership skills: Being fair minded, Aligned moral behavior, Transparency, and Self awareness.

Download the April 2024 - 'Authentic Leadership Skills in the Disability Field' Research Brief


March 2024 Leadership Brief – Data-Informed Strategic Leadership

March 2024 Data Driven Strategic Leadership

This month's Leadership Brief effectively highlights the importance of Data-Informed Strategic Leadership, emphasizing the role of data in enhancing organizational success and sustainability. It begins by acknowledging common challenges faced by leaders in strategic planning, such as time constraints, and underscores the significance of incorporating strategic thinking into daily schedules. The brief introduces the concept of using data to inform strategic decisions, citing research from MIT Sloan that supports this approach. It offers three actionable recommendations for implementing data-driven strategies, including building a data-driven culture, utilizing quality data, and establishing strategic data priorities.

Read some practical insights encouraging leaders to leverage data for informed decision-making and improved organizational outcomes in this month's brief!

Download the 'March 2024 Data Driven Strategic Leadership' Brief


March 2024 Research Brief – Stakeholder Input into Organizational Governance

March 2024 Research Brief – Stakeholder Input into Organizational Governance

The March Research brief highlights field trends in practices related to Stakeholder Input in Organizational Governance from the responses of 820 professionals in disability organizations nationwide on the Organizational Priorities and Practices Inventory (OPPI). The findings underscore the pivotal role of stakeholder input in shaping organizational practices and ensuring alignment with evidence-based approaches and disability rights.

Find out the about practices trends related to Stakeholder Input in the March Research Brief!

Download the 'March 2024 Stakeholder Input into Organizational Governance' Brief


February 2024 Research Brief – How Progressive are Service Providers?

February 2024 How Progressive are Service Providers

At our Leadership Institute training we help organizations work toward providing progressive, evidence-based services and supports for people with disabilities.

This brief illustrates commonalities about how leaders define “progressive” in word cloud and also shares how progressive Leadership Institute graduates think their organizations are.

Read about what progressive means to leaders in the field in this February 2024 Research Brief — How Progressive are Service Providers?

Download the 'February 2024 How Progressive are Service Providers?' Brief


January 2024 Leadership Brief – Giving Tough Feedback Virtually

Giving Tough Feedback Virtually

Whether our organizations are fully virtual, hybrid, or back to the office full time, we all have to interact with our colleagues and organizational stakeholders via Zoom, Teams, Google Meet, Webex or another virtual platform. And even though we’ve tried so hard to encourage meaningful virtual connection, online meetings make informal or spontaneous check ins and reading body language or emotional reactions more challenging. Even though we don’t want to, it’s likely that, at least occasionally, we need to give tough or corrective feedback in online meetings.

Read about strategies for giving effective feedback in this January 2024 Leadership Brief – Giving Tough Feedback Virtually

Download the 'January 2024 Giving Tough Feedback Virtually' Brief


January 2024 Research Brief – The Current State of Leadership Practices in the Disabilities Field

The Current State of Leadership Practices in the Disabilities Field

Organizations providing services for people with disabilities play a transformative role in enhancing the quality of life for their stakeholders. Central to their success are leaders who act as catalysts, driving organizational well-being through the implementation of effective practices. This research brief presents data from 820 respondents from disabilities organizations across the United States on the Leadership Strength and Development practices from the Organizational Priorities and Practices Inventory (OPPI).

The brief presents data on seven key elements of leadership: Ethical Leadership, Compelling Leadership, Leadership Development, Internal Leadership Succession, Team Leadership, and Resourceful Leadership. Previous research has highlighted the importance and impact of these elements in organizational performance.

Read the trends we have found on the January Research Brief!

Download the 'January 2024 The Current State of Leadership Practices in the Disabilities Field' Brief


December 2023 Leadership Brief – Feedback: A Powerful Tool for Growth

December 2023 Feedback as a Powerful Tool pdf

Feedback can be an impactful catalyst for growth and development and can even build trust in relationships and teams. It is a critical component of creating a growth and learning culture in teams and organizations. Despite the benefits, feedback is often relegated to yearly performance reviews and, with this structure, offers very little opportunity for actual growth. Leaders can change this by looking for frequent opportunities and situations to give feedback.

Read about strategies for giving effective feedback in this December 2023 Leadership Brief – Feedback: A Powerful Tool for Growth.

Download the 'December 2023 Feedback as a Powerful Tool' Brief


November 2023 Leadership Brief - Culture of Gratitude

November 2023 Culture of Gratitude

Giving meaningful thanks, not just this time of year but throughout the year, is good for you. It improves wellbeing, reduces stress, builds resilience, and can make you more patient. Gratitude has also been shown to help increase organizational and individual performance. As we look to 2024, here are some ways you can promote gratitude in your teams and organization throughout the year.

Read about strategies for cultivating year-round gratitude in your teams and organizations in this November 2023 Leadership Brief – Gratitude: Giving Thanks Now and Throughout the Year.

Download the 'November 2023 Culture of Gratitude' Brief


November 2023 Research Brief - OPPI

November 2023 OPPI - Organizational Priorities and Practices Inventory

What Do We Know About Organizational Practices in the Disabilities Field? This month we provide insights into this query. We use data from the Organizational Priorities and Practices Inventory (OPPI) a comprehensive tool designed by the National Leadership Consortium to measure the alignment of organizational priorities and performance with evidence-informed practices. It integrates principles such as person- directed services, self-determination, participatory management, diversity, equity and inclusion, organizational governance, and effective and transparent leadership with daily workplace practices. We have collected responses from more than 800 professionals in the field with different roles and organizations in the disabilities system.

Check out the trends we have found in the November Research Brief!

Download the 'November 2023 OPPI - Organizational Priorities and Practices Inventory'


October 2023 Leadership Brief - Become a Lifelong Learner

October 2023 Become a Lifelong Learner

A lifelong learning mindset is a key to success for leaders in our field. Focusing on constant growth allows us to become better, more agile, flexible leaders. Becoming a lifelong learner requires a shift in mindset and practices; and in a day when our time and resources are very precious and very limited, it's important to be intentional in how we invest in our growth. Read about strategies for practicing and prioritizing lifelong learning in this October 2023 Leadership Brief: Become a Lifelong Learner.

Download the 'October 2023 Become a Lifelong Learner'


September 2023 Research Brief - Leadership Institute Contributes to Change

September 2023 Leadership Institute Contributes to Change

We periodically collect data from professionals who have attended our Leadership Institutes to gauge the impact of the training on their professional, organizational, and service advancements. The majority of respondents to our 2023 annual survey reported that the Leadership Institute did indeed contribute to the changes they have made professionally, across their organizations, and for the people with disabilities they support. Read more about it in the September 2023 Research Brief: Leadership Institute Contributes to Significant Change.

Download the 'September 2023 Leadership Institute Contributes to Change'


July 2023 Research Brief - How Much Opportunity for Growth Do Leaders Have in Their Roles?

July 2023 How Much Opportunity for Growth Do Leaders Have in Their Roles?

The National Leadership Consortium facilitates trainings to help emerging and existing leaders advance their knowledge and practices and encourage professional development and innovation in their roles throughout their careers. But, how much opportunity for growth do leaders feel they have in their roles? Find out in this month's Research Brief!

Download the 'July 2023 How Much Opportunity for Growth Do Leaders Have in Their Roles'


June 2023 Leadership Brief - How to Get the Most out of Virtual Meetings And Training

June 2023 How to Get the Most out of Virtual Meetings And Training

Ever feel like you are increasingly disengaged or struggling to benefit from online meetings or training? If you're nodding, you share an experience with millions of others who are feeling online fatigue. That said, virtual meetings and training are here to stay and there are strategies that can help you feel more productive when you're connecting online. Click Here to download a short guide to getting the most out of virtual training and meetings.

To access more great resources, please also consider joining us for the 2023 Virtual Leadership Institute. Applications are closing shortly!

Download the 'June 2023 How to Get the Most out of Virtual Meetings And Training'


May 2023 Research Brief - Leadership Institute Graduates Improve in Goal Setting Skills

May 2023 Leadership Institute Graduates Improve in Goal Setting Skills

Through its Leadership Challenge action planning process and interactive workshops, participants of the National Leadership Consortium Leadership Institutes learn how to become stronger goal setters, which contributes to their ability to bring about organizational and/or systems change to improve services for the people they support.

Download the 'May 2023 Leadership Institute Graduates Improve in Goal Setting Skills'


March 2023 Research Brief - Leadership Institutes Bring Shift in Mindset

March 2023 Leadership Institutes Bring Shift in Mindset

Participants of the National Leadership Consortium Leadership Institutes often describe a shift in mindset related to their values about or expectations for the people they support. Read more about it in the March Research Brief.

Download the 'March 2023 Leadership Institutes Bring Shift in Mindset'