The Improving Leadership Effectiveness by Assessment and Development (ILEAD) laboratory, supervised by Dr. Kristin Cullen-Lester, conducts interdisciplinary research on leadership and leadership development. Our research focuses on relational aspects of leadership, including leaders' social networks and the role of organizational networks in shared leadership, complex collaboration, and the implementation of strategic and large-scale change. We aim to improve development initiatives focused on enhancing individuals’ and teams' human and social capital and to understand how to enhance the leadership capacity of complex organizational systems by enabling more effective collaborative work practices that promote individual, team, and organizational adaptability, effectiveness, and well-being.



Faculty Adviser, Lab Director

Assistant Professor of Management 

School of Business Administration, University of Mississippi


Graduate Student Researcher

Ph.D. student in Management

School of Business Administration, University of Mississippi

MBA, East Carolina University

I am studying leadership, power dynamics, and alignment of strategic priorities across teams and organizational levels. 


Application Instructions

Undergraduate research assistants in the ILEAD lab have opportunities to gain a variety of skills including:

  • Research Design

  • Project Management

  • Study Material Preparation

  • Data Collection and Management

  • Data Analysis

  • Identification of Challenges Facing Organizational Leaders

  • Understanding Theoretical Constructs in Management and Organizational Behavior 

  • Translating Research Findings into Practical Insights

  • Expertise in Teamwork

  • Scientific Writing

  • Professional Presentation Skills

Becoming a research assistant in the ILEAD lab is a selective process. If you are interested in being considered please send your resume or CV to Dr. Cullen-Lester along with an email answering the following questions:

  1. Why are you interested in working for the ILEAD lab? 

  2. What are your plans after graduation (it's okay if you aren't exactly sure, please share your current career goals)?

  3. What are your qualifications for working in the ILEAD lab (i.e., what is your GPA? what relevant courses have you taken? what prior research, internship, or work experience do you have? It's okay if you do not have prior experience but please share how you feel you can uniquely contribute to the lab. 

Lab Alumni

The ILEAD lab began at the University of Houston's Bauer College of Business. I had the opportunity to work with these aspiring researchers and management professionals.

2019-2020 Researchers


Graduate Student Researcher

Ph.D. student in Management & Leadership

Bauer College Business, University of Houston

MA in HRIR, University of Minnesota

I am studying trust/distrust, intergroup relations, and leadership. 


Undergraduate Researcher

Graduate Year: Spring 2021

Major: Finance

Minor: Supply Chain


Undergraduate Researcher

Graduate Year: Spring 2020

Major: Industrial/Organizational Psychology

Minor: Management


Post-baccalaureate Researcher

Graduate Year: Spring 2019

Major: Entrepreneurship & Accounting

Minor: Sales

2018-2019 Researchers

Jean and Kosta completed the Provost's Undergraduate Research Scholarship Program. Learn more about their projects below.


Undergraduate Researcher

Graduate Year: Spring 2021

Major: Finance - Global Energy Management

My PURS project examined the connection between the composition and structure of employees' interpersonal network that person's commitment to the firm's organizational strategy.


Undergraduate Researcher

Graduation Year: Spring 2020

Major: Accounting

Minor: Leadership Studies 

My PURS project examined if certain traits and types of social connections enable middle managers to exert greater influence in their organization. 

©2021 by Kristin Cullen-Lester.