How to Improve Leadership Skills with an EdD

A speaker viewed from the back giving a lecture to a large audience
A speaker viewed from the back giving a lecture to a large audience

How to Improve Leadership Skills with an EdD

How would you evaluate your leadership ability? Just 1 in 4 leaders and managers think their organizational leadership is sufficiently engaged, passionate and inspiring. That’s according to McKinsey & Company’s State of Organizations 2023 report.

Leadership development is essential to advancing your career and creating meaningful change. A Doctor of Education (EdD) in Leadership provides a formal educational pathway to effective leadership.

EdD in Leadership programs teach the leadership theory, knowledge and skills to lead effectively now and in the future. If you're curious about how to improve leadership skills with an EdD in Leadership, keep reading.


What Is an EdD in Leadership?

An EdD in Leadership is a terminal degree focused on applied leadership. It prepares professionals to influence change and achieve organizational goals.

How does an EdD in Leadership compare to a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Leadership? The primary difference between EdD vs. PhD degrees is the career path.

A PhD in Leadership qualifies professionals for research roles, whereas EdD careers span more fields. EdD in Leadership graduates can provide effective leadership in business, education, nonprofit organizations, social work, public health and beyond.


How Does an EdD in Leadership Prepare Professionals for Leadership Roles?

The nature of organizations is increasingly dynamic. Today’s leaders face rapid technological innovation, growing competition and more global, diverse workforces.

An EdD in Leadership equips professionals to lead and innovate in the modern era. They gain advanced knowledge and skills in effective leadership, including strategic thinking, innovation, collaboration, organizational change and data-driven decision-making.


Strategic Thinking

Influential leaders have a strategic mindset. They know how to think critically and strategically to arrive at reasonable conclusions. Professionals in an EdD in Leadership program learn how to develop a strategic vision and drive organizations to embrace, foster and promote transformative change.



Effective leaders are proficient problem-solvers. They can think creatively and apply new perspectives and methods to shift paradigms. EdD in Leadership programs grow systems thinking so professionals can better identify challenges, develop creative solutions and influence transformation.



Numerous stakeholders influence organizational success, from employees and customers to external partners and the community. Leaders must create positive partnerships with all of them. Professionals in an EdD in Leadership program learn to work independently and cooperatively to implement change. Relationship building, conflict resolution and clear, persuasive communication are central to learning.


Organizational Change

Change is inevitable and necessary for organizations to thrive. To guide change, leaders must understand change management theories and strategies. They must also have advanced leadership skills—strategic thinking, innovation and collaboration, to name a few. EdD in Leadership programs teaches precisely that.


Data-driven Decision-making

Leaders must base their decisions on objective evidence to reduce risk. So, EdD in Leadership programs teaches professionals the scientific approach to conducting and applying qualitative, quantitative and mixed-method studies. Some programs include a capstone project that applies learning to a real-world challenge.

Is an Education Doctorate in Leadership Worth It?


What Are the Benefits of Online EdD in Leadership Programs?

Online EdD in Leadership programs allow professionals to earn their doctoral degree primarily or entirely online. They typically require 50 to 90 credits, with most students graduating in three to five years.

In an online program, professionals can continue working during their studies and apply their learning in practice immediately. Professionals also benefit from developing effective leadership for the digital age.

The growing popularity of remote and hybrid work environments has reshaped leadership. Leaders must operate, communicate and manage teams virtually. Online EdD in Leadership programs prepare professionals for this new reality, equipping them with knowledge and skills in digital literacy, virtual collaboration and cultural competence.


Digital Literacy

Digital literacy refers to the cognitive and technical skills needed to find, evaluate, create and communicate information using information and communication technologies.

Online EdD in Leadership programs help develop strong digital literacy skills through various online tools, including:

  • Video conferencing
  • Online discussion forums
  • Messaging systems
  • Digital libraries
  • Online databases
  • Document sharing services
  • Online assessments

Students use digital tools regularly to complete coursework, communicate with faculty and peers and conduct research. As a result, students learn how to leverage them for more effective communication, collaboration and innovation.


Virtual Collaboration

Virtual collaboration is the new norm across many organizations. Between 2020 and 2022, organizations held 60% more remote meetings per employee. Current and future leaders must be adept at communicating with, managing and motivating critical stakeholders across geographies.

Online EdD in Leadership programs expose professionals to virtual collaboration tools and techniques. They may use video conferencing to participate in live discussions, messaging apps to communicate or file-sharing platforms to collaborate on documents in real-time.

Through virtual collaboration, students practice communication and relationship building. They develop meaningful personal connections with peers and often lifelong friendships. These are other benefits of earning an EdD in Leadership online.


Cultural Competence

Success in leadership roles depends on navigating diverse, international contexts. According to McKinsey data, companies with greater ethnic, racial and gender diversity on their leadership teams are more likely to outperform those with less diverse leadership financially.

Online EdD in Leadership programs attract accomplished professionals from many backgrounds, professions and locations. By engaging with varied perspectives, students grow their cultural competence—the ability to collaborate effectively with people of different cultures.


How to Improve Leadership Skills through Spalding University’s Online EdD Program

Spalding University offers an online EdD in Leadership that prepares working professionals to create meaningful change. It’s designed for current and future leaders in business, social services, the arts and higher education.

Professionals in Spalding’s online EdD in Leadership earn their doctoral degree from a mission-focused university. Spalding was the first university certified as a Compassionate College in the Charter for Compassion. Students grow their leadership as part of a community that emphasizes the cultural understanding, diversity and dignity of everyone.

The online EdD in Leadership program focuses on four themes that prepare students to be exemplary practitioners of ethical organizational leadership:

  • Advanced Leadership Concepts in Practice: Evolving one’s leadership approach through analyzing traditional and modern theory and personal development.
  • Global and Cultural Perspectives: Developing a sophisticated awareness and understanding of cultural differences in local, national and global contexts to evolve leadership practices.
  • Organizational Innovation and Change: Using proven methods and systems thinking to facilitate innovation and influence organizational transformation.
  • Research-Informed Decision-Making: Applying research-based best practices and methodologies to support impactful, data-driven decisions.

Program graduates are extraordinary team builders, systems thinkers and drivers of change and innovation in a global economy.

Flexibility is another benefit of Spalding's online EdD in Leadership program. Professionals can continue working while completing just eight online courses and a leadership capstone, one at a time. They graduate in two years, faster than traditional EdD in Leadership programs. Plus, with three intakes per year, the program allows professionals to start whenever it’s convenient.

If you want to improve your leadership skills through an academic approach, you may consider Spalding's online EdD in Leadership program. Getting your EdD in Leadership from Spalding can help you inspire change in your workplace and community.

Spalding supports you wherever you are in your leadership journey. Connect with an enrollment advisor to get started.