A Phenomenological Study of Leadership Competencies in Nonprofit Higher Education

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Leadership skills are vital in developing and building influential leaders in organizations. The identified research problem was the absence of communication, collaboration, and strategic agility competencies among leaders in nonprofit higher education institutions in the United States. The purpose of the qualitative phenomenological study was to explore how collaboration, communication, and strategic agility competencies were experienced among leaders at a nonprofit higher education institution in the United States. Transformational and servant leadership theories formed the theoretical framework examining characteristics, behaviors, and features promoting positive leadership. Two research questions guided the study to explore the shortfall of communication, collaboration, and strategic agility competencies and assess how the competencies improved leadership performance. Twenty-one participants were chosen from three leadership levels: entry, middle, and executive. Instruments used for the study entailed an online questionnaire soliciting participation and a semistructured interview conducted virtually via Zoom. The data were analyzed using an open inductive coding process and sorted by comment scope, code, and participant. Findings revealed themes related to better talent conversation, further leadership development, and further investigation of the understanding of strategic agility skills.