Feb 15, 2023

Essays on Leadership for Students | 200 - 500 Word Essays

Are you writing an essay about leadership? Check out these examples!

Introduction

Leadership is often defined as "the action of inspiring others to act in concert to achieve a particular goal." It signifies the harmony in actions that lead to a common objective. A genuine leader not only exudes confidence but also paves the way for their followers towards triumph. Over the years, various leadership styles have been identified and discussed by psychologists.

 Qualities such as intelligence, adaptability, extroversion, innate self-awareness, and social competence often emerge as the hallmarks of impactful leaders. There's a consensus that these traits mold an individual into an effective leader. Interestingly, some theories suggest that extraordinary situations can thrust an ordinary individual into the spotlight, bestowing upon them the mantle of leadership. It's also believed that leadership isn't a static trait but an evolving journey. It underscores the belief that with dedication and the right resources, anyone can hone their leadership abilities.

 True leadership goes beyond merely advocating for a cause. It involves taking responsibility, igniting motivation in others, and differentiating oneself from just being a 'boss'. A leader's essence lies in their ability to inspire and propel people towards grand visions, whereas a manager typically focuses on oversight and operational aspects.

 If you find yourself in need of further insights or a unique angle for your leadership essay, consider exploring an expert essay-writing tool designed to assist students in crafting compelling narratives by analyzing vast data and generating fresh ideas within minutes. In this article, we'll also delve into various leadership essay examples to offer a clearer understanding of the genre and inspire your writing journey.

4 Examples of Leadership Essays

Qualities of a good leader.

Confidence is the most important attribute first of all. One of the most important qualities in a leader is confidence in one's own abilities. A lack of self-assurance is fatal to a person's leadership potential. If you want others to follow you, you need to exude self-assurance. It's imperative for a leader to have faith in his own judgment and actions. How can people want to follow him if he doesn't even know what he's doing?

Every effective leader knows that they need to be an inspiration to their followers. A leader needs to set an example for his team. In addition, he ought to inspire them whenever feasible. A leader must also maintain optimism in trying times.

What qualities a good leader must have?

Leadership is the ability to influence and guide individuals or groups toward a common goal. A leader must possess several qualities to be effective, including:

Communication skills: A leader must be able to communicate their vision and goals clearly and effectively, both verbally and in writing. This requires excellent listening skills, empathy, and the ability to adapt to different communication styles.

Emotional intelligence: A leader must be able to understand and manage their own emotions, as well as those of their team members. This includes being able to understand and respond to the emotions of others, and handling conflicts in a constructive manner.

Visionary: A leader must have a clear and inspiring vision of the future, and be able to articulate this vision in a way that motivates others to work towards it.

Strategic thinking: A leader must be able to think critically and creatively to identify and solve problems, make decisions, and develop plans and strategies to achieve their goals.

Flexibility: A leader must be able to adapt to changing circumstances and be open to new ideas and perspectives. This requires the ability to embrace change, be innovative, and continuously learn and grow.

Integrity: A leader must have strong ethics and values, and be willing to make difficult decisions that are consistent with their beliefs. This requires honesty, transparency, and accountability.

Decisiveness: A leader must be able to make tough decisions quickly, without undue hesitation or procrastination. This requires courage and the ability to take calculated risks.

Empowerment: A leader must be able to delegate responsibilities, give team members the resources they need to succeed, and foster a sense of ownership and accountability among their team.

Conclusion 

These qualities are essential for effective leadership, and when combined with hard work, determination, and a commitment to excellence, can help leaders to achieve great things.

How one can be a Great Leader?

Leadership is the act of performing the duties of a leader. In the business world, for instance, it is essential to have someone in charge of a team to ensure everything runs well. Effective leadership is essential for any group that wants to maximize its prospects of success.

Leadership Comes from Experience

As we've shown, leadership can be innate in some cases but is more often learned through practice and exposure. Sometimes the best traits of a leader must be learned over a lengthy period of time, so that one can become a notable one, proving that leadership is not always about a person's innate qualities. Leaders should continuously be on the lookout for opportunities to grow their leadership skills.

Nobody can disagree that experience is a key component of leadership. Numerous examples exist to back up this claim, such as:

Instance 1:

Our school's head boy or girl has traditionally been an older student who has been around for a while and thus has a better grasp of the ins and outs of school politics.

Instance 2:

When there is a vacancy for a team leader, it is common practice for the employee who has consistently put in the most effort and attention to the office job to receive a higher number of votes than their coworkers. 

“The best teacher for a leader is evaluated experience.” - John C. Maxwell

How one can be a Great Leader/Skills to be a Great Leader?

Effective leadership is a skill that develops through time. Developing into a leader with all the qualities that are needed takes a lot of hard work and potential. Being a prominent leader calls for a wide variety of traits. Some of these characteristics are addressed in further detail below:

One should be a Good Communicator

To be an effective leader, one must be able to convey his thoughts clearly to his/her/its subordinates.

Should have Confidence

The individual should have faith in what he says and does.

Give Credit to other Team Members too

A leader not only needs to impose his viewpoints and opinions instead he must also hear to the suggestions of other members of the team and offer them credit if their concept is appropriate.

Good Bond with the Team

A leader's ability to command respect from his team members depends on his ability to develop and maintain positive relationships with them.

Leads with Responsibility

A leader needs to be completely committed to his position. It's important that he takes on responsibility so that he can effectively deal with the various challenges he will inevitably face.

Any group or organization needs a leader above all else. Leadership development takes time and effort. One needs to have lived through a lot to be an effective leader. It's not enough to simply have years of experience in the field; one must also have the traits that make one an effective leader. You can't be a great leader unless you possess certain traits.

What makes a Good Leader?

Trying one's hand as a leader appears easy when viewed through this lens. Is that so tough? Of course not; leading is difficult, and not everyone aspires to be a leader. The vast majority of us have settled into well-established careers where we report to superiors and make a living. Still, not everyone is content to go along with the crowd. They become leaders in whatever field they pursue. A leader is an example to followers and will prioritize the needs of those around them.

Some Unique Qualities of a Leader

Many individuals resort to their leaders to vent their frustrations, therefore it's important for them to be good listeners.

A leader ought to be completely forthright; they can't play favorites or give anyone preferential treatment. One of the most essential qualities of a strong leader is the ability to make decisions with integrity.

They need to be aware of the bigger picture and understand what makes an individual stand out or become a leader. It's their expertise in addition to other distinguishing traits. Their awareness of current events and the results of recent studies is essential. In many ways, this is helpful, and it's the leader's responsibility to stay current.

Since some might not understand them, they should utilize straightforward, easily comprehended language. Leaders need to be able to communicate effectively at all times. In reality, what sets them apart is their exceptional communication skills. Adolf Hitler was such a gifted orator that his followers believed every word he said.

No matter how you're feeling or what's going on in the world, if you listen to a leader, they may make you feel energized. Since leaders are in charge of inspiring confidence in their followers, they can't afford to be wary or unsure of themselves. People tend to blindly follow their leaders.

Whether you're a leader or a doctor, you should devote yourself completely to your chosen field. Everything we do is for the benefit of others; engineers, for example, spend much of their time designing and constructing buildings for other people. So, take pride in what you do, and if you possess the aforementioned traits, you are also a leader who doesn't have to rely on others to succeed. No matter what you do, aspiring to leadership positions will always benefit others.

What is Leadership in Management and what are the weaknesses and strengths of a Leader?

Simply said, leadership is acting as a supervisor or manager of a group. Different mental pictures pop up when we hear the word "leadership" used in conversation. One might think of a political leader, team leader, corporate leader, school leader, etc. Leaders facilitate order and efficiency in the workplace. Teamwork and success are fundamental to effective leadership. Leaders utilize their managerial abilities to establish courses and guide their teams to success.

Strengths and Weaknesses of Leadership

Able to express oneself more clearly

Growth of character.

Self-awareness.

Possession of teamwork skills.

Gain assurance in yourself.

Weaknesses:

Acting favorably toward one's teammates.

Having no faith in the leader.

Thinks they're better than everyone else, but act hypocritically.

Not living up to the promised standard.

Insufficient morals.

Leadership and Management

Management and leadership are inextricably linked to one another. Leadership and management are both vital to the efficient operation of an organization; but, they accomplish very different things in the process. Leadership is a necessary skill for anyone aspiring to be an effective manager. The terms management and leadership are synonymous with one another. In this manner, we are able to draw the conclusion that a manager who demonstrates the traits of a successful leader is, in fact, a manager who is effective.

Leadership in School

Leadership is essential in nearly every group, as we've seen above. That group includes one's educational institution. Every school needs an outstanding figure to serve as its head of school. Class monitor, assembly captain, cultural leader, etc. are all examples of leadership roles that can be taken on at school, but this raises the question of what makes a person a successful school leader.

Any student hoping to be chosen as a student body leader will need to demonstrate a wide range of competencies. He or she needs to be a consistent student who pays attention in class and does well in extracurricular activities. For the simple reason that no intelligent and hardworking kid would ever be considered for leadership. Student leaders are most often selected from among those who participate fully in all activities.

Leadership in Organization

Leadership in an organization, also known as organizational leadership, is the process of establishing long-term objectives that further the company's mission and help it reach its ultimate destination. This is a classic illustration of how Bill Gates often works with his team: they agree on a strategy, and Gates implements it. To the same extent, it is the responsibility of the leader in each given organization to determine what it is that the group is trying to accomplish.

Leadership in Politics

Leadership in politics, also known as political leadership, is the process of becoming actively involved in a political party in the role of a party leader. Knowledge of political processes, their outcomes, and the political agenda is central to the idea of political leadership.

An effective leader can be developed in anyone who has the determination and drives to do so. Both the strengths and the areas for improvement should be nurtured. Whether in the classroom, the workplace, or the political arena, leadership is always necessary. Therefore, one can exercise leadership anywhere they like inside their own organization.

What are the types of Leadership?

The ability to lead is a rare trait that not everyone possesses. The ability to do so is a gift, so count your blessings if you possess it. It's recommended that you hone it even more so that you can propel your career forward and serve as an example to people around you. However, it is crucial to grasp the various leadership styles before you go ahead and polish your skills.

Types of Leadership Styles

Democratic Leadership

In this style of management, subordinates are given a voice in decision-making. Although the subordinates' efforts are highlighted, the leader is ultimately held responsible for the group's actions. Many people find this type of leadership to be effective.

Transformational Leadership

Transformational leaders motivate and inspire others to adopt new behaviors and ways of thinking in order to improve their own performance and that of their teams and organizations. A transformational leader is someone who encourages their team to strive for greater things and works to boost morale and output.

Team Leadership

A good leader fully incorporates his team into the task at hand. Members of the team are motivated to reach their goals and advance in their careers thanks to the leadership of the group.

Strategic Leadership

It requires a chief executive who doesn't restrict himself to brainstorming sessions with his superiors. He contributes on every level of the team. He is well-liked for his ability to unite the need for fresh ideas with the necessity of grounding them in reality.

Autocratic Leadership

The leader in a command and control structure is the center of attention. The chief executive has absolute power in this setting. He decides things on his own, without polling his staff. He relays this information to his staff and stresses the importance of swift action. The buck stops with him, and he alone must answer for his actions. Not much room for negotiation exists. It's no secret that this method of leading has its detractors.

Visionary Leadership

This kind of leader appreciates the abilities and requirements of his team members. He describes his ideal outcome and the teamwork that will be necessary to attain it.

Coaching Leadership

Leaders who coach their teams do so regularly in an effort to raise output. He inspires his employees to do better and works to keep them motivated. This approach to leadership has been much praised.

Facilitative Leadership

With occasional guidance, a facilitative leader ensures that the process runs smoothly for his team. As a precaution in case his team is ineffective. If the team is highly effective, the leader will take a hands-off approach.

Cross-Cultural Leadership

The leadership of this type is necessary when interacting with people from various cultural backgrounds. Because of the wide variety of cultures represented in the workforce across the United States, many managers and executives hold cross-cultural positions.

Laissez-Faire Leadership

The members of the team are given responsibility in this style of management. They are free to choose how they spend their time at work, with minimal oversight from the boss. It's not a good way to lead, according to experts.

Transactional Leadership

An interactive approach is integral to this kind of leadership. When team members successfully implement their leader's ideas and choices, they are rewarded with immediate, material benefits.

Charismatic Leadership

In order to bring out the best in his followers, this kind of leader makes the effort to change their attitudes, values, and actions.

This article should dispel the notion that leadership qualities can't be further subdivided. It should also assist you in pinpointing your own personal brand of leadership so you can perfect it over time.

Final Words

In conclusion, leadership is a complex and multifaceted concept that involves various qualities and skills. Effective leaders possess traits such as integrity, vision, empathy, decisiveness, and the ability to inspire and motivate others. They are able to navigate challenges, make difficult decisions, and lead their team toward success. Leadership also involves continuous learning and self-improvement, as leaders must adapt to changing circumstances and remain relevant. Effective leadership can have a positive impact on both individuals and organizations, fostering growth and creating a culture of success.

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Leadership Essay

27 August, 2020

12 minutes read

Author:  Richard Pircher

As a college student, you must write essays on a regular basis since the latter is one of the most common types of home assignments. All this means is that in order to get good grades and be successful with writing the papers, you need to have a sound understanding of the structure. Additionally, what you should never neglect is the variety of essay types. Indeed, your essay will significantly differ from one type to another: description essay will most likely have a structure that is slightly different from an argumentative one.

Leadership Essays

What you may have already encountered in your academic life is the work on a leadership essay. Although it sounds pretty complicated and vague, it is mostly possible to master an essay on leadership. Below is a guide for you to get an insight into this particular essay type.

What is a good leadership essay?

A good leadership essay is the one in which the essay writer has fully covered the topic of leadership and understood its core ideas. More specifically, to end up with a flawless leadership essay, you will need to indicate what makes a person a good leader. For achieving the latter, you will most likely need to conduct research and trace how a particular person reaches his or her goals. In other words, the task is to discover which actions the person undertakes, what their followers say about him or her, and how the person organizes the work. So, a leadership essay implies providing real-life success examples and further revealing them.

Above all, a good leadership essay is the one that follows a precise, clear, comprehensive structure. Structuring your essay about leadership in the most coherent way leads to a win-win situation: you have fewer troubles and barriers to writing a brilliant essay, and your teacher is able to comprehend the essay easily. This guide is what you will need to refer to to get an insight into how the flawless structure for a leadership essay looks like and how it will let you take a benefit.

How to write a Leadership essay?

To write a leadership essay that stands out, you first need to brainstorm all the ideas that you have and come up with a topic for your essay. If you are struggling with this step, you may think of some of the most influential people, read about them, and find out what makes them unique. Or, you can pick any topic which is mentioned at the end of this article. After you have chosen an issue, it is time to structure your essay appropriately.

how to write a leadership essay example

As you already know, an essay constitutes three essential sections: introduction, main body, and conclusion. Below is the more detailed description of each of the parts.

Introduction

Of course, your leadership essay introduction will always vary depending on the topic of the essay. However, you can always begin by stating your vision of leadership regardless of the topic. Additionally, to motivate the reader and instantly catch his or her attention, you may use a quote of a famous leader, or simply a quote which you find relevant to the topic. Be aware that you should avoid outlining the essence and the role of the leadership in your introduction; leave it for the body paragraphs.

What you may also do in your leadership essay is ask a question, which will most likely intrigue the leader. Or it will at least give your reader an overview of what you will dwell on  in your essay.

Body Paragraphs

You will need to divide the main body into 3-5 paragraphs to make the structure more comprehensive. What you have to do at this point  is  give your reader a sound understanding of your ideas. Therefore, try to fit each idea in a single body paragraph so that you do not confuse your reader. Do not hesitate to indicate your examples to strengthen your arguments. For instance, you may explain a fact that makes a particular person you are writing about a real leader.

Also, always stick to your thesis statement and don’t forget that the body paragraphs should reveal the parts of your thesis statement.

As you may already know, you need to restate your opinion and briefly summarize all the points from the main body in conclusion. For instance, if you wrote your essay on qualities of an effective leader, state the most fundamental qualities and indicate why they matter the most. Besides, try not to copy what you have already written in the body – it is better to restate your opinion using different words. And, of course, beware adding any new and extra information; indicate only those points that you have already outlined in the text. Finally, keep in mind that it is always favorable to keep your concluding remarks short.

leadership essay

Leadership Essay Examples

Writing a leadership essay requires some research and time. In case you feel the necessity to go through an essay example, below is a leadership essay sample you can refer to.

Is leadership an inborn or an acquired feature?

Is everyone capable of becoming a leader, or is this ability innate? A lot of researchers have been struggling to answer this question. One assumption about leadership implies that the leader is the person who possesses particular characteristics. Another assumption claims that leaders are capable of acquiring specific features over their life span. As the evidence shows, leaders own many features that distinguish them among others and make more and more people become their followers. These might be cognitive abilities, psychological traits, professional qualities, and a lot more, and all of them will be either acquired or innate. Based on the importance of leadership qualities, such as commitment, stress resistance, and the ability to make quality decisions, it is reasonable to claim that leaders are made, not born. 

One can deem commitment as one of the top fundamental qualities of the leader. In essence, such a feature indicates that a person is passionate about the common goal, strives to be a team player, and makes every effort to reach a shared goal. As the history shows, none of the successful companies was uncoordinated by an influential, committed leader: Apple, Amazon, Microsoft – all of these companies are examples of dominant teams led by a dedicated leader. A committed leader also inspires his or her team to achieve common goals and put more effort into the shared activity. Besides, commitment is unlikely to be an innate feature; it instead comes with experience. This is so, since commitment implies dedicating oneself to the shared task, and one can reach it only via learning and continuous self-improvement.

Stress resistance is another incredibly important feature that every good leader should possess. This is because only a stress-resistant leader has sufficient capabilities to overcome any complexity and not let the anxiety and stress prevent him or her from making proper decisions. Besides, such a leader will most likely have a positive influence on the team, as long as leading by example will motivate the team members to attain the same emotional stability. What is so far familiar about stress resistance as an effective leader’s feature is that it can be either innate or attained. However, although some researchers admit that emotional stability is something one is born with, it is not entirely true; many people still put a great effort into self-improvement, changing the attitude to unfortunate situations, and so on. Therefore, being resistant to stress can be mostly attributed to a personality.

An ability to make high-quality decisions most likely determines the chances for an enterprise’s success. In particular, such quality is incredibly fundamental for a company of any size and professional orientation. Additionally, it is one of the top tasks of a good leader to make final decisions. What he or she should do implies brainstorming, discussing various opinions in the group, making forecasts, analyzing all the pros and cons. However, the leader is the one to make a final decision. Thereby, he is in charge of researching the market, discovering all the hidden truths, and analyzing the organization’s potential and capabilities to result in the most effective decision. As it flows logically from the latter, an ability to make sound quality decisions is purely a professional quality. This leads to the conclusion that one has to work hard to become a genuine leader and master the skill of making effective decisions. 

Overall, the leader may possess a multitude of different skills and master them perfectly. However, what has so far become transparent is that any leader, regardless of which team he leads, must possess three essential qualities. These qualities are commitment to the common goal, ability to handle and resist stress, and, finally, an ability to make effective decisions. All of the three qualities are most likely to be acquired over a lifetime. The statement below leads to the conclusion that even though some qualities can be innate, most are not the ones that leaders are born with. Hence, this answers an essential question: leadership feature is acquired, and not necessarily inborn.  

20 leadership essay topics

When coming up with your next leadership essay topic, it is imperative to brainstorm ideas and think of what leadership might be related to. If you are struggling with a topic of the importance of leadership essay or any relevant type of essay, you may quickly take a look at some of the possible topics we prepared for you:

  • What are the main qualities of the leader?
  • Successful Time Management as a feature of an effective leader
  • The role that rhetoric plays in leadership
  • The most exceptional leader in the history of the 20-th century
  • The role of female leadership
  • What are the challenges of the leader of the 21-st century?
  • How college helps students develop leadership skills?
  • Qualities of the leader that motivate people to follow them 
  • Top things to avoid doing to become a team leader
  • Examples of effective and ineffective leadership in the history
  • Top techniques for developing leadership skills
  • The interconnection of creativity and leadership 
  • Is a university’s role fundamental in developing leadership skills?
  • Dictatorship as an anti-example of leadership
  • Liberal vs Authoritative leadership: which one works better?
  • The influence of the leader’s role model on the followers’ mindset
  • Main difficulties that the new leader may face in a new team
  • Leadership of today vs leadership of the past: what has changed?
  • Reasons why I want to become a member if the leadership program
  • The role of cognitive abilities for the leader 

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Leadership Essay for Students and Children

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500+ Words Essay on Leadership

First of all, Leadership refers to the quality of leading people. Probably, it is one of the most important aspects of life. Above all, Leadership has led to the progress of human civilization . Without good Leadership, no organization or group can succeed. Furthermore, not everyone has this quality. This is because effective Leadership requires certain important characteristics.

Leadership Essay

Qualities of a Good Leader

First of all, confidence is the most quality. A leader must have strong self-confidence. A person lacking in confidence can never be a good leader. A person must be confident enough to ensure others follow him. The leader must have confidence in his decisions and actions. If he is unsure, then how can people have the desire to follow him.

A good leader must certainly inspire others. A leader must be a role model for his followers. Furthermore, he must motivate them whenever possible. Also, in difficult situations, a leader must not lose hope. How can a leader inspire people if he himself is hopeless?

Honesty is another notable quality of a leader. Honesty and Integrity are important to earn the love of followers. Above all, honesty is essential to win the trust of the people. Probably, every Leadership which loses trust is bound to fail. People will not work with full effort due to an immoral leader.

Good communication is a must for a good leader. This is because poor communication means the wrong message to followers. Furthermore, good communication will increase the rate of work. Also, the chances of mistakes by followers will reduce.

Another important quality is decision making. Above all, if a leader makes poor decisions then other qualities will not matter. Furthermore, good decision making ensures the success of the entire group. If the leader makes poor decisions, then the efforts of followers won’t matter.

A good leader must be an excellent innovator. He must display a creative attitude in his work. Most noteworthy, innovation is a guarantee of survival of a group or innovation. Without creative thinking, progress is not possible.

Get the huge list of more than 500 Essay Topics and Ideas

Real-Life Examples of Good Leadership

Mahatma Gandhi was an excellent example of a good leader. He was a staunch believer in non-violence. With his brilliant Leadership skills, he made the British leave India. Probably, this was the most unique independence struggle. This is because Gandhi got freedom without any violence.

Abraham Lincoln was another notable leader. Most noteworthy, he ended the slavery system in the United States. Consequently, he made many enemies. However, he was a man of massive self-confidence. His struggle against slavery certainly became an inspiration.

Sir Winston Churchill was a great patriotic Englishman. Most noteworthy, he led Britain in the 2nd World War. Furthermore, he was extremely inspirational. He inspired Britain to fight against Nazi Germany. His great communication motivated the entire country at a time of hopelessness.

To conclude, Leadership is required in probably every sphere of life. Good leadership is the door to success. In contrast, bad leadership is a guarantee of failure. Consequently, good leaders are what make the world go round.

FAQs on Leadership

Q.1 Which is the most important quality for being a good leader? A.1 The most important quality for being a good leader is self-confidence.

Q.2 Why Sir Winston Churchill is a good leader? A.2 Sir Winston Churchill is a good leader because he inspired Britain to fight in 2nd World War. Furthermore, his excellent communication also raised the motivation of his people.

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What Makes A Good Leader: Essay Hints

Jessica Nita

Table of Contents

a leader essay

In this essay, you need to discuss the essential qualities needed for becoming an effective leader. In fact, different situations require different types of leadership styles, so it may be hard to choose the qualities that define good leaders admired by people from bad ones.

Besides, there are common misconceptions about their role. In this article, we will try to answer the question of “what makes a good leader essay” and give you some recommendations about the aspects you should focus on.

Essay structure and key points to cover

Wondering what the best way to approach an essay on leadership qualities is? Leadership essays can be written in the expository style and structured to include different subtopics:

  • Discussion of major leadership theories.
  • Personality traits defining great leaders.
  • Leadership styles and how they work.
  • Leadership principles and core values.
  • Examples of leaders in different spheres of society.
  • People you consider to be leaders in your life.
  • Leadership skills you have.

It’s important to demonstrate an original personal understanding of leadership concept and provide impressive illustrative examples taken from today’s real life or history. That’s the best thing to do when reviewing various leadership qualities.

What are the qualities of a good leader: essay ideas

When we take an in-depth look at history, we see countless leadership qualities that were adopted by both good and bad leaders. When writing what are the qualities of a good leader essay, you should focus on the characteristics and strengths of a leader, and how they help influence and motivate other people along with achieving own goals.

These are emotional and behavioral characteristics of well-known leaders that helped them succeed:

  • Vision – effective leaders have exciting ideas, they usually are forward-looking, and have excellent strategic planning skills.
  • Communication – communicating ideas clearly and concisely is essential to ensure teamwork towards the same goal.
  • Integrity – they are honest and can always tell the truth in any situation.
  • Confidence – they dare to take risks to achieve their goals and never give up.
  • Responsiveness – good leaders value their team, listen to people they lead, and quickly change their behavior to match different situations.
  • Determination – good leaders are passionate about what they do and can motivate people by demonstrating their own commitment.
  • Empathy is the most important skill which allows to create strong bonds of trust and build successful teams.

Tips on writing a winning essay on leadership

When working on what makes a good leader essay, students should follow certain basic steps.

  • Research relevant sources on the internet to get a better understanding of the concept, read a lot, and make notes of interesting ideas which can be used in your paper.
  • Brainstorm ideas to write about, formulate a strong thesis statement and create a detailed working outline. Organize information in a logical order.
  • Start writing a draft with an introduction. Engage readers with a hook – provocative question, anecdote, stunning fact, convincing statistics. Introduce a subject, providing relevant background information. End introductory paragraph with a specific thesis that sums up your ideas.
  • Devote separate body paragraphs to specific points supporting the main argument. Begin paragraphs with topic sentences, presenting key points, give detailed explanations, and provide additional evidence and examples. Include appropriate citations with proper referencing. Sum up and demonstrate how each paragraph contributes to the logical argument.
  • Create a convincing conclusion to wrap up the paper’s key points.
  • Revise the first draft , make improvements in content, logic, and sentence structure. Edit to improve word choice and clarity.
  • Proofread the final version – fix minor errors and typos. Create references list and check the formatting of the entire paper.

a leader essay

The use of a leadership essay sample

Still not sure that you can write a good leader essay that will impress your readers? Read biographies of famous people who played crucial roles in human history, created big successful businesses, managed large corporations to learn which qualities contributed to their success.

Besides, you may want to check out some good paper examples.

Find out how powerful papers on this topic are structured and what interesting points they cover. Use essay samples as templates or models to follow.

See this short sample paragraph which discusses one of the leadership qualities for inspiration.

Empathy, an ability to recognize other’s feelings and perspectives and understand other people’s needs is crucial in leadership. Being empathetic means you can step into another person’s world and this character trait is essential for success due to several reasons. It’s impossible to effectively lead people you don’t understand. You can effectively motivate and influence someone if you know their feelings. Empathy is one of the keys to successful leadership because it helps build relationships with people they lead and create an environment of open communication. Luckily, empathy is natural for humans and we can even learn to be more empathetic and demonstrate this ability to people around us.

No time to write your essay on leadership? We’ve got plenty of time here! Our writers strive to help you out. Click the button faster and get yourself a perfect essay with no struggle!

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a leader essay

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A Full Guide On How To Create Good Leadership Essay

Guide On How To Create Good Leadership Essay

Attempting a leadership essay isn’t such a daunting task, provided you have a grasp of the necessary information needed for a leadership paper. To write this special essay, you’ll need to redefine what exactly an essay on leadership is, how to choose the perfect topic, what should be in the content, and how to organize and structure the paper. Let’s delve deeper!

What Is A Leadership Essay?

A leadership essay is a well-formatted, organized and specialized type of formal writing which elaborates on a generic leadership topic or a superior human figure exercising a great influence on people and transmitting desire and optimism to achieve goals.

What Makes A Good Leader Essay?

There are some peculiarities needed to infuse in your write-up if, for example, you’re trying to learn how to write a leadership essay about yourself.

Also, if you’re just trying to produce leadership essays for college, then you’d first and foremost, learn  how to structure an essay , among other skills needed for this type of essay. Here are some qualities which can be found in a good essay about leadership.

  • Choose a creative topic
  • Avoid the passive voice (the active voice sounds stronger)
  • Search for and study leadership essay examples
  • Follow the appropriate essay style
  • Focus on the essay structure
  • Review the essay

How To Choose A Topic And Make A Great Title?

To choose a topic for a paper on leadership, you need to do some research on the concept of a leader (whether in the corporate industry, political society or even in the criminal world). You have to know the current leadership tendencies in organizational groups or society. You can choose to make a leader the point of your reference by explaining the consequences of their leadership abilities or inabilities.

In the body of your essay, don’t forget to mention several types of leadership styles and point out which one the subject portrays. Finally, you should not rule out making comparisons of famous leaders in the modern world or in history. An example of a great prompt for a leadership essay that deploys the comparison technique would be the leadership styles of President Trump and The Philippines’ Rodrigo Duterte as both leadership styles have been subjected to political reviews in recent times since their emergence as president of their respective countries.

Outline For A Leadership Essay

When writing a college or professional essay such as -long and short essays on leadership, planning is the key to perfection. The general outline for any essay, including leadership papers, include an introduction, the body paragraphs (which must be properly linked with transition words and/or phrases) and a recapitulating or finding-based conclusions. Here’s what your outline should look like:

Introduction

Knowing how to start a leadership essay depends on your introduction writing ability. The introduction is the gateway to the essay. Aided by punchy opening words, which are the hook, the purpose of the introduction is to draw the reader’s attention. The introduction presents the thesis statement and leaves the body paragraphs to sustain the reader’s interest.

Body Paragraphs

Having informed the readers of the topic of the essay in the introductory paragraph(s), the body paragraphs follow immediately.

Here, you can elaborate on the concept of leadership and do a meaningful interpretation of the subject – the topic or the thesis statement. Don’t forget to talk about your leadership philosophies and leadership experience in whatever capacity you might have found yourself in. Remember, people are more interested in personal experiences. They are great in helping to sustain readers’ attention.

Remember to state a thesis or hypothesis in the opening paragraphs – which is the intro. In each of the body paragraphs of the essay, try to relate your points to the thesis and use each point to prove its validity.

The conclusion is the end part of any well-structured essay. Its purpose is a no-brainer. You don’t want to leave your reader hanging by ending the essay cold turkey. Any standard essay without a conclusion is just as useless as an essay with no purpose. However, be careful not to present new ideas not mentioned in the body.

As mentioned, the conclusion serves to summarize the developed points, restate the thesis and/or present the findings. It is your last opportunity to create an impression on the reader, and this is where they take the message away. If your conclusion is weak, then we might say the essay’s objectives are not achieved.

What To Include In A Leadership Essay?

Here are some tips on what your leadership essay should include.

Your Definition Of A Good Leader And Why He Or She Is Important

Since your essay revolves around leadership and the traits of a good leader, you’ll need to define what it takes to be one. You may also take this opportunity to trash some common myths on what a leader is (i.e., a manager being confused for a leader).

For reference purposes, the concepts of leadership and being a good leader are explained:

Leadership is the quality of a leader and is that person capable of exercising a great influence on people and transmitting desire and optimism to achieve goals. A leader is a guide; someone with ideas and goals that can spread to a large group of people who still believe he or she can lead them in the right direction.

There are many types of leaders and therefore, of leadership since people generally always look for a person or group that shows them a direction to follow. You can find religious, political, social, or philosophical leadership. Leadership can be exercised in a traditional way. In many countries, there is a monarchy. The king or queen is a leader with limited political power, at least in western democracies, but still have the respect and consideration of the people. Their words continue to be heard and taken into account, especially in problematic times. There are other types of leadership that are not given by birth, such as legitimate leadership exercised by, for example, political leaders freely chosen by their people, or charismatic leaders.

In a way, charismatic leaders are what many understand as leaders since they are people who, by their way of behavior and characteristics, get many people to follow and adhere to their ideas. Some charismatic leaders can become legitimate leaders if they choose the path of politics. A traditional leader can also be charismatic. There have always been kings loved by his people more than others. But it can also be a person who prefers independent movements outside of power.

Charisma is the personal magnetism a person has. It is something very difficult to define but makes one capable of convincing others without too much effort, making people follow and trust the leading figure. Charisma can be used positively or negatively. The leaders of the most destructive sects are very charismatic people that are capable of convincing their followers of the eeriest ideas, including donating all their belongings or committing collective suicide.

Examples Of Your Leadership Style

In the content of your essay, you may consider giving an interpretation to your (or your chosen leader’s) leadership traits. Below are some examples of leadership qualities that separate a good leader from a bad leader.

What qualities are necessary for leadership

  • Communication
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Strategic thinking
  • Commitment and passion
  • Knowledge and experience
  • Leading by example
  • Active listening
  • Ability to enhance talent
  • Setting goals and expectations
  • People investment
  • Discernment
  • Concentration
  • Positive attitude
  • Problem-solving
  • Self-discipline

Leadership Essay Example

To know how to do essay fast, you’ll need some ready-made essay examples for the sake of guidance and inspiration. You may find below a leadership essay written by Oliver Smith useful in your leadership paper.

Writing a leadership essay should be easy. A good essay on leadership starts from the hook, and the thesis statement in the introduction. The points developed in the body paragraphs help affirm the hypothesis. Finally, the conclusion offers the reader a summary through the restatement of the essay’s main idea.

As required for every essay type, your essay on leadership has to follow a definite style and format. Examples are MLA, APA, Chicago and AP styles. Take your time in choosing a creative but new topic and also in writing the content. By following this guide, everything should be as perfect as possible.

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a leader essay

What Makes a Great Leader?

  • Linda A. Hill,
  • Emily Tedards,
  • Jason Wild,

a leader essay

Tomorrow’s leaders master three key roles — architect, bridger, and catalyst, or ABCs — to access the talent and tools they need to drive innovation and impact. As architects, they build the culture and capabilities for co-creation. As bridgers, they curate and enable networks of talent inside and outside their organizations to co-create. And as catalysts, they lead beyond their organizational boundaries to energize and activate co-creation across entire ecosystems. These ABCs require leaders to stop relying on formal authority as their source of power and shift to a style that enables diverse talent to collaborate, experiment, and learn together — a challenging yet essential personal transformation.

Mastering the ABCs of innovation at scale.

When Ajay Banga took over as CEO of Mastercard, in 2010, he knew that disruption of the payments industry was imminent. But rather than compete for market share within the 15% of global payments that were already electronic, he decided to focus the company’s growth on the 85% that were still made by cash and check transactions. For him, the financial inclusion of individuals and small businesses that lacked access to the formal financial system became both a business imperative and a societal responsibility. It called for new mindsets and behaviors around talent, clients, the market, technology, and government.

In our age of discontinuity, you need the ability to continually shift.

  • Linda A. Hill is the Wallace Brett Donham Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, the author of Becoming a Manager , and a coauthor of Being the Boss and Collective Genius .
  • Emily Tedards is a doctoral student at Harvard Business School in the Organizational Behavior Unit.
  • Jason Wild is the vice president of CEO co-innovation and customer engagement at Microsoft.
  • Karl Weber is a writer, an editor, and a publisher of books on business and social issues.

a leader essay

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Leading With Strengths

Watch interviews with leaders from around the world as they reveal the hidden layers of their own unique strengths and how they’ve used them to be successful.

Leadership Effectiveness: How to Be a Better Leader

  • Introduction
  • What Is Effective Leadership?
  • Leadership Traits: What Makes a Good Leader
  • Seven Expectations for Leaders
  • The Most Effective Leadership Styles
  • Leadership vs. Management
  • How to Lead a Team to Success
  • Leadership Development
  • Our Best Leadership Advice

01 Introduction

There may not be an "I" in team, but there is an "I" in disengaged.

What does this have to do with leadership? Well, regardless of what, why and where you lead, you -- as the leader -- are directly responsible for the engagement of those who follow you.

And engagement is supported by your culture, which you are also responsible for as a leader. This is why it's vital for leaders to set the right tone for the organization -- for the sake of engagement, culture and the employee experience.

Whether you're leading a family, a class or a corporation, leadership means inspiring others to achieve certain outcomes. And it's up to you to decide whether you are leading positively or negatively -- and whether you choose to focus on engagement or merely output.

"Improving your leadership begins with a focus on improving what you're already good at."

Leadership can often be equal parts high confidence and self-esteem and worrying if you're doing it right while continually searching for answers . Whether you're a leader in an organizational setting or have high influence in some other capacity, improving your leadership begins with a focus on improving what you're already good at .

a leader essay

We would call that leading with your strengths : the things that come naturally to you and that help you succeed daily. When you intentionally apply your strengths as a leader, that's when your life and the lives of those you lead begin to change.

This page will provide you with new ways to think about your role or position as a leader. Legitimate improvement begins with a refusal to ascribe to one-size-fits-all solutions. Stay with us, discover why your strengths matter and then learn to use yours to become a transformational leader.

02 What Is Leadership?

Improving leadership is an idea that can be difficult to grasp in tactical or practical ways.

The first step to improving it is to define it.

Our leadership definition , in its simplest form, means the act of getting individuals aligned and moving in the same direction toward a desired outcome.

a leader essay

Picture this: a world where every leader knew what goals they wanted to achieve, knew how to get their followers working toward that goal and knew how to use their strengths to get there. The world would be a much different place, wouldn't it?

Effective leadership has a lot to do with inspiring, aligning and then activating -- but it doesn't end there .

A key to effective leadership is the ability to define outcomes, but then helps individuals put their talents to use to get there. The best leaders know their people and are more aware of those people's strengths than they are of their weaknesses. Great leaders aren't blind to their own or others' weaknesses; they just know that their competitive edge lies within their strengths.

Let's put this into perspective.

a leader essay

Consider the owner of a successful bakery. Let's call him Jim. When Jim was in culinary school, he wanted to open a restaurant, but there was a problem. He was terrible at cooking. He burned every pasta dish and dried out every chicken entree. However, when it came to the art of baking, he excelled -- nobody was better.

Jim also had a natural knack for leadership, often pulling other students into his projects and helping them learn through his expertise -- whether it was people or pastries, he knew what he was doing.

And even better, he knew that what he had originally desired had changed.

Now, his friends and family wanted Jim to follow his original dream. His instructors offered him extra cooking lessons because they knew he could get better. His peers told him to work harder, saying, "Jim, we know you're good at baking. You're the best -- a natural! But forget that. Your dream is to cook. Just spend more time on that."

But he didn't listen. Jim opened his own bakery, hired full-time staff and grew a successful business.

From an outsider's perspective, it was easy to see what Jim should do.

The advice from Jim's inner circle wasn't great. Their intentions were, but they were ignoring natural excellence and emphasizing weakness in hopes of mediocrity.

It's the type of advice leaders fall prey to often. "Spend most of your time developing your weaknesses to become a stronger leader" -- when really, you could acknowledge those weaknesses but use your strengths to make up for them.

Not focusing on weaknesses and focusing on strengths is countercultural -- but the best leaders don't follow. They are willing to stray from the way things have always been done and be open to better ways to succeed.

Clarify Leadership Roles and Expectations

Having clear expectations in your role as a leader is vital to success. Most of the time, understanding your role and the expectations that come with it begins with deciding what outcomes or goals need to be met. Whether you define them yourself or have an organization define them for you, they need to be clear, manageable and well-communicated.

When leaders lack clear expectations for their own roles and outcomes, it can create a lack of trust among their followers. They can come off as incompetent and lose buy-in from their team members.

a leader essay

Think of any leader you've had personal experience with. If you asked them, "What is the outcome of this supposed to be?" or "What is the purpose?" and they said, "I don't know," there would be an apparent issue with how they go about fulfilling the duties of their role.

Action item : List out the responsibilities of your role -- both those that were ascribed to you and the ones you took on yourself. Outlining the expectations and responsibilities of your role as a leader will help you know where and how to focus your energy.

03 Leadership Traits: What Makes a Good Leader

A good leader takes responsibility for their leadership. They understand that everything they do directly affects the people they lead.

In other words, the best leaders lead with their followers in mind.

And one of the most important leadership traits is engaging your followers.

We've studied which leadership skills are the most important to a follower. What do you think we found? Maybe "good communication," "motivational" or "highly committed"?

While these are certainly important for leaders, what followers crave the most are trust, compassion, stability and hope .

Check out the descriptions below. Which one of these areas do you excel in? Which one doesn't come as naturally to you, and how can you lean on strong complementary partnerships for that need?

What Followers Need From Leaders

a leader essay

Building trust is the foundation for leading . Honesty, clarity and behavioral predictability all make up trust. Leaders must adopt the trait of trustworthiness and prioritize it as one of their most important skills -- because without it, people won't feel as confident to follow.

Example: Share your concerns or struggles as a leader. By modeling this, your followers will be more likely to trust you with theirs.

a leader essay

Bring positive energy and a willingness to listen . Being compassionate means caring about your followers holistically while seeing them as more than just their ability to perform. Compassionate leaders should be willing to share their own struggles and accept the same honesty from others.

Example: React calmly and empathetically when followers are dealing with difficult situations in work or life. From family burdens to workplace burnout, modeling compassion can help them succeed.

a leader essay

Ensure people can count on you . Providing stability looks like creating space where people feel psychologically safe, like they can depend on you to answer their questions, hear their ideas and address their concerns. Communication is key for this trait. Stability puts emphasis on the current moment, keeping people grounded in the here and now -- knowing they can count on you.

Example: Try to be as consistent as you can when responding to those who follow you. Seek to answer the questions your followers have. This will help provide the stability they crave.

a leader essay

Encourage people to believe in a better future . While stability focuses on today, hopefulness deals with the future. People need to see that their leaders have a clear direction in mind. They want to have faith that their leaders are guiding them in the right direction. When leaders communicate hope, they can help followers feel more enthusiastic about the future.

Example: Talk about the future as if it's bright. Even when things are hard, you can acknowledge difficulties while still communicating the best possible outcome to your followers.

To practically apply these traits, make them a part of your everyday communication. Every email, conversation, instruction, etc., should be building hope, trust, stability and compassion.

Learn more about these essential leadership traits (also called the "four needs of followers") from Gallup experts.

Button to play The Four Needs of Followers video

04 Seven Expectations for Leaders

If you Google "effective leadership skills," "developing leadership skills," "characteristics of a good leader" or anything in that ballpark, you'll notice a pattern: Almost every article, website or business leadership skills "solution" is geared toward trying harder and investing in developing weaknesses. Or trying to adopt certain leadership qualities that simply don't come naturally.

This isn't the right way. It doesn't produce long-lasting results.

Great leaders actually start somewhere else: They start with an awareness, of both themselves (through strengths) and their job (their role and expectations). They should begin with a goal in mind, communicate the desired outcomes and then identify where they've had success in the past -- and then consider how they'll use those successes to help them now.

Self-awareness is key in using your strengths. It's hard to use something you're not aware that you have.

Button to play The Importance of Knowing Your Strengths video

What all leaders need is a fresh look at the leadership behaviors that actually contribute to performance, development and success.

After you gain an awareness of yourself through your strengths, you need to learn how to apply those strengths to the expectations of your role. Here's a framework for approaching your role with these expectations:

  • Build relationships.
  • Develop people.
  • Lead change.
  • Inspire others.
  • Think critically.
  • Communicate clearly.
  • Create accountability.

These expectations work in any scenario where there's a leader. No, really -- think about it. CEOs? For sure. Professors or teachers? Definitely. The leader of your small group at church or facilitator of a book club? No doubt.

Descriptive image of an activity sheet

Being able to do these seven things well can be the biggest differentiator between being an average leader and an exceptional leader.

  • Build relationships. The concept of "leadership" cannot exist apart from a group of people who need to be led. Simply put, leaders can't lead unless someone follows, which means that building strong relationships is key. People need to connect with each other, share trust and have relationships to thrive. It is important to recognize the value of people, seek to know them for who they are and build lasting connections.
  • Develop people. Do the people you're leading, coaching, teaching, etc., feel like they're growing? Most people know that if they're not growing, they're not getting closer to success. Then, it's only a matter of time before they leave -- your organization, your fitness class, your night class -- for someone who gets them closer to their goals. Every day, those people have a chance to either get a little bit better at what they do, or not. Development can, and should, be constant.
  • Lead change. The keyword being "lead." Much is expected of you as a leader to keep moving forward, ensuring that the purpose, mission and vision remain the same. It's OK (and good) for you to charge your followers with some responsibility for change -- coming up with good ideas, better ways of doing things or smarter processes -- because it will help them take ownership for helping with the right kind of change. Every individual is able to see an opportunity and take initiative, set a goal and create a plan to get there, but it's your job to set an example for that.
  • Inspire others. Is this trait too "soft" to count as an expectation that's critical to success? Definitely not. Leaders should provide inspiration so that others can find greater meaning in a vision or purpose. Without meaning, and without connecting inspiration to the individuals who follow you, you'll find that those who follow will have a difficult time committing themselves to the greater purpose -- whether that's in your organization, classroom, small group or otherwise. This expectation helps people see that every little thing they do matters.
  • Think critically. Aimless decision-making and feeble thinking have no place in leadership. Or, at least, they shouldn't be the type of thinking that influences final decisions. Evaluating plans, understanding risk, organizing thoughts and creating action steps requires leaders to bring their whole selves and think critically . Success requires establishing an aim and devising a comprehensive, multifaceted approach to achieving it.
  • Communicate clearly. Learn the best way you communicate , and then learn how others like you to communicate with them. Share information and ideas that matter -- because effective communication means you'll need to convey compelling information that leads to more informed actions and decision-making. Don't think of communication just as telling your followers things, but think of it as sharing information, asking questions, listening and brainstorming. These are all important forms of clear communication in leadership.
  • Create accountability. Every person is accountable for something. But this is especially true for leaders. Responsibility is expected of you , just as much as it is of those who follow you. You expect the students at your fitness class to bring the right equipment, you expect that your employees are held accountable for their deadlines, and so on. A culture of accountability starts with you. In practice, this may look like openly committing to initiatives, plans or ideas so that everyone knows what you're responsible for. It may also look like you apologizing to those you lead when you drop the ball in a significant way. Accountability creates a better environment for your followers and allows them opportunities to become more efficient and creative through their own responsibilities.

Descriptive image of activity document.

Want to increase your self-awareness and develop as a leader? Download this free activity to connect your natural talents to leadership outcomes -- and discover how you excel as a leader.

05 The Most Effective Leadership Styles

You may have wondered, "What type of leader am I?"

There are countless ways you could answer this question. But most people look to academic leadership theories or find a list of leadership personality traits and different leadership styles to try to answer this.

For example, there's transformational leadership or authentic leadership. Well, wait, aren't all leaders supposed to be these two things? Then there's transactional leadership and laissez-faire leadership, or you could be more autocratic or a coaching leader. OK, now I'm really confused .

a leader essay

With many ways to pinpoint your leadership styles or categorize your relationships with your followers, your attempts may leave you feeling discouraged or irritated. But if you're not sure what kind of leader you are, how are you supposed to find support or improve?

Instead, ask yourself a different question: Why and how do I lead?

Most leadership categories are all about how a person behaves when they're leading a group -- when really, you should be focusing on the things that you already know and that are easier to identify: your natural patterns of excellence. These natural strengths tell you more about why you lead the way you do and how you lead best than about what kind of leader you are.

a leader essay

Each leader is naturally drawn to different things, so you may find that more traditional ways of compartmentalizing leadership styles leave you feeling confused. Instead, answer the questions presented by the four domains of leadership below.

X

Traditional methods of leadership discovery say to choose the statement that best describes you to discover what one specific type of leader you are.

Traditional coaching styles in four quadrants

Top Left Quadrant: I am task-oriented and like to get things done. Top Right Quadrant: I can motivate others and can often be commanding. Bottom Left Quadrant: I am more analytical in my approach to leadership, always lost in thought. Bottom Right Quadrant: I tend to focus on relationships and can understand where my followers are coming from.

check mark

The four domains of leadership say, "You naturally do all of these things; you just do them differently than others. Let's discover your unique way of leading."

Four quadrants of the domains of leadership

Top Left Quadrant: How do you make things happen? Top Right Quadrant: How do you influence others? Bottom Left Quadrant: How do you absorb, think about and analyze information and situations? Bottom Right Quadrant: How do you build and nurture strong relationships?

The four domains of leadership are a helpful framework because when you search for one specific leadership style, you wind up trying to spend more time categorizing than you do developing.

Traditional leadership styles establish strict boundaries, but the CliftonStrengths domains freely encourage you to cross those boundaries.

Each of the four domains encompasses a set of CliftonStrengths that fit that category. Leaders who know their CliftonStrengths become more effective leaders in a few ways. Knowing their strengths helps them:

  • improve their decision-making
  • boost their engagement
  • increase their productivity

Those who know and use their CliftonStrengths are also:

Simply understanding your strengths makes your life better -- and who wouldn't want to have a higher quality of life and be more effective? Haven't discovered your strengths yet? Get started and take the assessment today .

06 Leadership vs. Management

At the end of the day, leaders and managers are both focused on two things: developing people and delivering team (or organizational) success.

Leadership : Traditionally, leaders have been responsible for creating the overall strategic vision.

Management : Managers are the ones who execute leadership direction and direct teams.

But as the workplace continues to change, the line between the roles of leaders and managers continues to blur.

Driven by the pace of change in globalized business and an evolving workforce that prioritizes development and flexibility, today's business world is agile and dynamic. As a result, a manager's role is far more than supervisory -- and Gallup finds that 70% of the variance in a team's engagement is influenced by the manager . Furthermore, the traditional role of a boss as a command-and-control function does not work for today's workforce.

The expectation is for the manager and leader to be more of a coach than a boss .

Gray horizontal arrow pointing left as a timeline pointing to the past

  • My Paycheck
  • My Satisfaction
  • My Annual Review
  • My Weaknesses

Green horizontal arrow pointing right as in a timeline pointing to the future

  • My Development
  • My Ongoing Conversations
  • My Strengths

The biggest difference between a leader and a manager is where they fall within an organization. A manager is someone who is usually in charge of leading people, where a leader is in charge of leading the people who lead people. Leaders are more responsible for creating the strategic vision and are a little more removed from the front lines. Managers are more about getting the actual work done.

Check out this video that talks about the differences between leadership and management:

Button to play Leadership vs. Management video

07 How to Lead a Team to Success

Success is measured and defined differently by all, which means that good information on how to lead your team to success or understanding what makes a successful team can be hard to find. Before you know how to lead, you need to know what a successful team looks like.

A successful team is a team where individuals are positioned to do what they do best and get the resources and partnerships they need to do their best work.

Leading a successful team requires you to identify the unique contributions that every person on your team makes -- including yourself.

CliftonStrengths makes this easier. Having team members discover, develop and lead with their strengths can lead to higher employee engagement and performance, which are outcomes of a successful team. However, they aren't the most important outcomes because giving your employees the opportunity to do what they do best is the greatest measure of a successful team.

To lead a successful team, be willing to admit to your team that you're not great at everything. It's good to acknowledge, and it's even better for your team to hear.

Conventional wisdom says that to become a better leader, you should develop the areas where you are naturally weak. And to be a good leader, you encourage your team to do the same. But CliftonStrengths says you should invest in the places where you're naturally strong.

"Identify the unique contributions that every person on your team makes -- including yourself."

Here's a practical way for you and your team to understand each other's strengths and intentionally aim them at your goal -- the Team Strengths Grid.

a leader essay

As a leader, you could look at your team's grid to determine who would good be partners to:

  • come up with ideas for a new solution to a process
  • determine how to make an existing process more efficient
  • help gather the latest findings in your industry and analyze them

Knowing the makeup of your team's strengths allows you to lead more confidently because you know how to set each person up for success.

Button to play Understand Your Greatest Strengths: What Leaders Can Do video

Position individuals to do what they do best, better use each individual's strengths, build more effective partnerships and teams, and then mobilize the team to increase individual and team effectiveness.

For more information about the team grid and bringing strengths to your team, contact us .

08 Leadership Development

If your attempts to develop in the past have fallen short, it may be because too few leadership development programs can clearly define the experiences that lead to excellence in leadership . They don't individualize, they can't match leader to experience at the time it's most needed, and they don't help leaders analyze their experiences so they can effectively apply them in the future.

Don't overcomplicate your development . Start with these three areas:

1 We believe that knowing your strengths is a great foundation for creating a leadership development plan. When you take the CliftonStrengths assessment, you will get a report with personalized results. Our CliftonStrengths 34 report (featuring all 34 strengths in rank order) will help you discover what you do best and give you the confidence to live and work every day using those strengths.

The descriptions of your top strengths, and the order in which they appear, will be unique to you. Because just as we believe that no two leaders lead the same way, we also believe that no two people have the same strengths.

Take the Assessment

a leader essay

2 Take a look at the seven expectations for leaders. If you truly want to develop, those are where you should begin. Start with a self-assessment. At first glance, which one of these core leadership competencies do you do really well? How can you get even better? Then determine which one doesn't come as naturally. How can you use your natural strengths to develop it?

For more details, check out the Seven Expectations for Leaders section. And to get started right now, download this free activity to help you develop.

3 Learn to identify your own key experiences, both the ones that got you where you are today and the ones you want to have. Consider your past and present, and decide what you want for your future. Key experiences are some of the most critical components of leader success. Put simply, "Key experiences are events in a leader's life that result in learning, growth and/or increased capacity to effectively lead." Every role and every industry looks different, but key experiences are one of the foundational elements to leadership development anywhere.

Here are a few examples of key experiences that have helped develop leaders in the workplace:

  • working on stretch assignments and projects outside of their expertise
  • turning around a failing business or product
  • leading a cross-functional team on a mission-critical organizational project
  • experiencing failure and learning from it

Although those key experiences will look different for each person, you can notice a pattern or commonality between them all. Embracing new situations and being uncomfortable are important parts of developing as a leader. When things look tough, lean in. That's where growth happens.

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What is leadership?

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All leaders, to a certain degree, do the same thing. Whether you’re talking about an executive, manager, sports coach, or schoolteacher, leadership is about guiding and impacting outcomes, enabling groups of people to work together to accomplish what they couldn’t do working individually. In this sense, leadership is something you do, not something you are. Some people in formal leadership positions are poor leaders, and many people exercising leadership have no formal authority. It is their actions, not their words, that inspire trust and energy.

Get to know and directly engage with senior McKinsey experts on leadership

Aaron De Smet is a senior partner in McKinsey’s New Jersey office, Carolyn Dewar is a senior partner in the Bay Area office, Scott Keller is a senior partner in the Southern California office, and Vik Malhotra and Ramesh Srinivasan are senior partners in the New York office.

What’s more, leadership is not something people are born with—it is a skill you can learn. At the core are mindsets, which are expressed through observable behaviors , which then lead to measurable outcomes. Is a leader communicating effectively or engaging others by being a good listener? Focusing on behaviors lets us be more objective when assessing leadership effectiveness. The key to unlocking shifts in behavior is focusing on mindsets, becoming more conscious about our thoughts and beliefs, and showing up with integrity as our full authentic selves.

There are many contexts and ways in which leadership is exercised. But, according to McKinsey analysis of academic literature as well as a survey of nearly 200,000 people in 81 organizations all over the world, there are four types of behavior that account for 89 percent of leadership effectiveness :

  • being supportive
  • operating with a strong results orientation
  • seeking different perspectives
  • solving problems effectively

Effective leaders know that what works in one situation will not necessarily work every time. Leadership strategies must reflect each organization’s context and stage of evolution. One important lens is organizational health, a holistic set of factors that enable organizations to grow and succeed over time. A situational approach  enables leaders to focus on the behaviors that are most relevant as an organization becomes healthier.

Senior leaders must develop a broad range of skills to guide organizations. Ten timeless topics are important for leading nearly any organization, from attracting and retaining talent  to making culture a competitive advantage. A 2017 McKinsey book, Leading Organizations: Ten Timeless Truths (Bloomsbury, 2017), goes deep on each aspect.

How is leadership evolving?

In the past, leadership was called “management,” with an emphasis on providing technical expertise and direction. The context was the traditional industrial economy command-and-control organization, where leaders focused exclusively on maximizing value for shareholders. In these organizations, leaders had three roles: planners (who develop strategy, then translate that strategy into concrete steps), directors (who assign responsibilities), or controllers (who ensure people do what they’ve been assigned and plans are adhered to).

What are the limits of traditional management styles?

Traditional management was revolutionary in its day and enormously effective in building large-scale global enterprises that have materially improved lives over the past 200 years. However, with the advent of the 21st century, this approach is reaching its limits.

For one thing, this approach doesn’t guarantee happy or loyal managers or workers. Indeed, a large portion of American workers—56 percent— claim their boss is mildly or highly toxic , while 75 percent say dealing with their manager is the most stressful part of their workday.

For 21st-century organizations operating in today’s complex business environment, a fundamentally new and more effective approach to leadership is emerging. Leaders today are beginning to focus on building agile, human-centered, and digitally enabled organizations able to thrive in today’s unprecedented environment and meet the needs of a broader range of stakeholders (customers, employees, suppliers, and communities, in addition to investors).

What is the emerging new approach to leadership?

This new approach to leadership is sometimes described as “ servant leadership .” While there has been some criticism of the nomenclature, the idea itself is simple: rather than being a manager directing and controlling people, a more effective approach is for leaders to be in service of the people they lead. The focus is on how leaders can make the lives of their team members easier—physically, cognitively, and emotionally. Research suggests this mentality can enhance both team performance and satisfaction.

In this new approach, leaders practice empathy, compassion, vulnerability, gratitude, self-awareness, and self-care. They provide appreciation and support, creating psychological safety so their employees are able to collaborate, innovate, and raise issues as appropriate. This includes celebrating achieving the small steps on the way to reaching big goals and enhancing people’s well-being through better human connections. These conditions have been shown to allow for a team’s best performance.

More broadly, developing this new approach to leadership can be expressed as making five key shifts that include, build on, and extend beyond traditional approaches:

  • beyond executive to visionary, shaping a clear purpose that resonates with and generates holistic impact for all stakeholders
  • beyond planner to architect, reimagining industries and innovating business systems that are able to create new levels of value
  • beyond director to catalyst, engaging people to collaborate in open, empowered networks
  • beyond controller to coach, enabling the organization to constantly evolve through rapid learning, and enabling colleagues to build new mindsets, knowledge, and skills
  • beyond boss to human, showing up as one’s whole, authentic self

Together, these shifts can help a leader expand their repertoire and create a new level of value for an organization’s stakeholders. The last shift is the most important, as it is based on developing a new level of consciousness and awareness of our inner state. Leaders who look inward  and take a journey of genuine self-discovery make profound shifts in themselves and their lives; this means they are better able to benefit their organization. That involves developing “profile awareness” (a combination of a person’s habits of thought, emotions, hopes, and behavior in different circumstances) and “state awareness” (the recognition of what’s driving a person to take action). Combining individual, inward-looking work with outward-facing actions can help create lasting change.

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Leaders must learn to make these five shifts at three levels : transforming and evolving personal mindsets and behaviors; transforming teams to work in new ways; and transforming the broader organization by building new levels of agility, human-centeredness, and value creation into the entire enterprise’s design and culture.

An example from the COVID-19 era offers a useful illustration of this new approach to leadership. In pursuit of a vaccine breakthrough, at the start of the pandemic Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel increased the frequency of executive meetings  from once a month to twice a week. The company implemented a decentralized model enabling teams to work independently and deliver on the bold goal of providing 100 million doses of vaccines in 12 months. “The pace was unprecedented,” Bancel said.

What is the impact of this new approach to leadership?

This new approach to leadership is far more effective. While the dynamics are complex, countless studies show empirical links among effective leadership, employee satisfaction, customer loyalty, and profitability.

How can leaders empower employees?

Empowering employees , surprisingly enough, might mean taking a more hands-on leadership approach. Organizations whose leaders successfully empower others through coaching are nearly four times more likely to make swift, good decisions and outperform other companies . But this type of coaching isn’t always natural for those with a more controlling or autocratic style.

Here are five tips to get started  if you’re a leader looking to empower others:

  • Provide clear rules, for example, by providing guardrails for what success looks like and communicating who makes which decisions. Clarity and boundary structures like role remits and responsibilities help to contain any anxiety associated with work and help teams stay focused on their primary tasks.
  • Establish clear roles, say, by assigning one person the authority to make certain decisions.
  • Avoid being a complicit manager—for instance, if you’ve delegated a decision to a team, don’t step in and solve the problem for them.
  • Address culture and skills, for instance, by helping employees learn how to have difficult conversations.
  • Begin soliciting personal feedback from others, at all levels of your organization, on how you are experienced as a leader.

How can leaders communicate effectively?

Good, clear communication is a leadership hallmark. Fundamental tools of effective communication  include:

  • defining and pointing to long-term goals
  • listening to and understanding stakeholders
  • creating openings for dialogue
  • communicating proactively

And in times of uncertainty, these things are important for crisis communicators :

  • give people what they need, when they need it
  • communicate clearly, simply, and frequently
  • choose candor over charisma
  • revitalize a spirit of resilience
  • distill meaning from chaos
  • support people, teams, and organizations to build the capability for self-sufficiency

Learn more about our People & Organizational Performance Practice .

Is leadership different in a hybrid workplace?

A leader’s role may look slightly different in remote or hybrid workplace settings . Rather than walking around a physical site, these leaders might instead model what hybrid looks like, or orchestrate work based on tasks, interactions, or purpose. Being communicative and radiating positivity  can go a long way. Leaders need to find other ways to be present and accessible, for example, via virtual drop-in sessions, regular company podcasts, or virtual townhalls. Leaders in these settings may also need to find new ways to get authentic feedback. These tactics can include pulse surveys or learning to ask thoughtful follow-up questions that reveal useful management insights.

Additional considerations, such as making sure that in-person work and togetherness has a purpose, are important. Keeping an eye on inclusivity in hybrid work  is also crucial. Listening to what employees want, with an eye to their lived experience, will be vital to leaders in these settings. And a focus on output, outcomes, results, and impact—rather than arbitrary norms about time spent in offices— may be a necessary adaptation in the hybrid era .

How should CEOs lead in this new world?

Just as for leadership more broadly, today’s environment requires CEOs to lead very differently. Recent research indicates that one-third to one-half of new CEOs fail within 18 months.

What helps top performers thrive today? To find out, McKinsey led a research effort to identify the CEOs who achieved breakaway success. We examined 20 years’ worth of data on 7,800 CEOs—from 3,500 public companies across 70 countries and 24 industries. The result is the McKinsey book CEO Excellence: The Six Mindsets That Distinguish the Best Leaders from the Rest (Scribner, March 2022). Watch an interview with the authors for more on what separates the best CEOs from the rest .

Getting perspective on leadership from CEOs themselves is enlightening—and illustrates the nuanced ways in which the new approach to leadership described above can be implemented in practice. Here are a few quotes drawn from McKinsey’s interviews with these top-level leaders :

  • “I think the fundamental role of a leader is to look for ways to shape the decades ahead, not just react to the present, and to help others accept the discomfort of disruptions to the status quo.” — Indra Nooyi , former chairman and CEO of PepsiCo
  • “The single most important thing I have to do as CEO is ensure that our brand continues to be relevant.” — Chris Kempczinski , CEO of McDonald’s
  • “Leaders of other enterprises often define themselves as captains of the ship, but I think I’m more the ship’s architect or designer. That’s different from a captain’s role, in which the route is often fixed and the destination defined.” — Zhang Ruimin , CEO of Haier
  • “I think my leadership style [can be called] ‘collaborative command.’ You bring different opinions into the room, you allow for a really great debate, but you understand that, at the end of the day, a decision has to be made quickly.” — Adena Friedman , CEO of Nasdaq
  • “We need an urgent refoundation of business and capitalism around purpose and humanity. To find new ways for all of us to lead so that we can create a better future, a more sustainable future.” — Hubert Joly , former chairman and CEO of Best Buy

What is leadership development?

Leaders aren’t born; they learn to lead over time. Neuroplasticity refers to the power of the brain to form new pathways and connections through exposure to novel, unfamiliar experiences. This allows adults to adapt, grow, and learn new practices throughout our lifetimes.

When it comes to leadership within organizations, this is often referred to as leadership development. Programs, books, and courses on leadership development abound, but results vary.

Leadership development efforts fail for a variety of reasons. Some overlook context; in those cases, asking a simple question (something like “What, precisely, is this program for?”) can help. Others separate reflections on leadership from real work, or they shortchange the role of adjusting leaders’ mindsets, feelings, assumptions, and beliefs, or they fail to measure results.

So what’s needed for successful leadership development? Generally, developing leaders is about creating contexts where there is sufficient psychological safety in combination with enough novelty and unfamiliarity to cultivate new leadership practices in response to stimuli. Leadership programs that successfully cultivate leaders are also built around “placescapes”—these are novel experiences, like exploring wilderness trails, practicing performing arts, or writing poetry.

When crafting a leadership development program, there are six ingredients to incorporate  that lead to true organizational impact:

  • Set up for success:
  • Focus your leadership transformation on driving strategic objectives and initiatives.
  • Commit the people and resources needed.
  • Be clear about focus:
  • Engage a critical mass of leaders to reach a tipping point for sustained impact.
  • Zero in on the leadership shifts that drive the greatest value.
  • Execute well:
  • Architect experiential journeys to maximize shifts in mindsets, capabilities, and practices.
  • Measure for holistic impact.

A well-designed and executed leadership development program can help organizations build leaders’ capabilities broadly, at scale. And these programs can be built around coaching, mentoring, and having people try to solve challenging problems—learning skills by applying them in real time to real work.

What are mentorship, sponsorship, and apprenticeship?

Mentorship, sponsorship, and apprenticeship can also be part of leadership development efforts. What are they? Mentorship refers to trusted counselors offering guidance and support on various professional issues, such as career progression. Sponsorship is used to describe senior leaders who create opportunities to help junior colleagues succeed. These roles are typically held by more senior colleagues, whereas apprenticeship could be more distributed. Apprenticeship  describes the way any colleague with domain expertise might teach others, model behaviors, or transfer skills. These approaches can be useful not only for developing leaders but also for helping your company upskill or reskill employees quickly and at scale.

For more in-depth exploration of these topics, see McKinsey’s insights on People & Organizational Performance . Learn more about McKinsey’s Leadership & Management  work—and check out job opportunities if you’re interested in working at McKinsey.

Articles referenced include:

  • “ Author Talks: What separates the best CEOs from the rest? ,” December 15, 2021, Carolyn Dewar , Scott Keller , and Vik Malhotra
  • “ From the great attrition to the great adaptation ,” November 3, 2021, Aaron De Smet  and Bill Schaninger
  • “ The boss factor: Making the world a better place through workplace relationships ,” September 22, 2020, Tera Allas  and Bill Schaninger
  • " Leading agile transformation: The new capabilities leaders need to build 21st century organizations ," October 1, 2018, Aaron De Smet , Michael Lurie , and Andrew St. George
  • " Leading Organizations: Ten Timeless Truths ," 2017, Scott Keller  and Mary Meaney
  • “ Leadership in context ,” January 1, 2016, Michael Bazigos, Chris Gagnon, and Bill Schaninger
  • “ Decoding leadership: What really matters ,” January 1, 2015, Claudio Feser, Fernanda Mayol, and Ramesh Srinivasan

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What It Means to Be a Leader? Creative Writing Essay

An autobiography about leadership.

It is common for people to assume that some people are born leaders while others believe that leadership can be learned. However, I strongly believe that everyone has some leadership potential with the exception that some people are more of leaders than others. Accordingly, we all have a starting point in leadership, and thus, with sufficient training and practice, we can make good leaders.

As a result, leadership should be a process, which helps groups of people to achieve goals by ensuring that all the leaders in the group enjoy a mutual relationship in influencing decisions. It then follows that leaders must possess certain skills/abilities, knowledge, behaviors, and values, which make then either good or bad leaders.

Accordingly, leaders should be organized and committed in anything they are involved in besides possessing a complex set of knowledge, values, and skills to support their roles. Most importantly, leaders should know their values, knowledge, and abilities in order to claim their share within a group with confidence. This also ensures that leaders recognize their strengths and compensate for their shortcomings.

On the other hand, leaders learn and practice skills in addition to possessing more specific abilities such as the knowledge and understanding of various tasks, excellent communication skills, ability to build teams/groups, the willingness to take risks, and the ability to add value to the group or individuals. Furthermore, leaders spread optimism as they treat other people with empathy, and show support for those in need. Above all, leaders are trustworthy and accountable to their people and various commitments.

Table: A summary of leadership features

Defining the role of leadership communication

From the foregoing autobiography, it is worth noting that different roles, abilities, values, and skills are needed for one to qualify as a successful leader. Moreover, the discussions downplay the notion that some people are born to be leaders by insisting that everyone possesses the ability to be a leader if only one identifies his or her abilities, knowledge, and skills, which should be nurtured and practiced to perfection.

However, from the roles highlighted in the discussions above, I find that my definition of leadership communication has been changing over time. It is widely accepted that communication skills form the core of leadership, and without these skills, many leaders find it difficult to guide their people through various tasks. On the other hand, I believe that it is never too late for those in leadership roles to learn communication skills and implement them in their day-to-day activities.

There are many reasons as to why leaders should learn leadership communication skills. To begin with, excellent leadership communication skills encourage open communication between leaders and their people by creating an environment, which allows people to exchange ideas and solve problems without favor or fear. Here, leaders are called to encourage their subordinates to embrace open communication by exchanging ideas frequently.

For instance, in an organization where employees are encouraged to communicate with their superiors more frequently, studies show that task performance, job satisfaction, and communication increase while problems arise less often. On the other hand, good leadership communication skills enable leaders to deliver clear messages to their subordinates.

Whether written, oral, or non-verbal, any message sent out is received in the same way it was sent. Therefore, to ensure good communication and eliminate any chances of misunderstandings, it is imperative for leaders to develop their communication skills to the effect that any message conveyed is understood in the manner intended.

Most importantly, leadership communication skills should not limit leaders to being mere communicators, but they should allow leaders to do as much listening as talking. Here, by listening to their subordinates, leaders stand a better chance of handling different situations before they cause problems. Listening will also allow leaders to determine the needs of their subordinates in order to meet them accordingly.

The role of leaders in listening has changed over time as leaders move from the autocratic style of leadership to more participative and inclusive styles where employees in a given organization understand and take an active role in decision-making because they know that their leaders are listening. Such organizations where employees are treated with empathy and recognition remain successful through difficult situations because everyone is on the same page.

Another aspect of leadership communication that has changed over time is the role of non-verbal cues in communication. Over the years, people have been insisting on the need to develop excellent communication skills, but much of these efforts have been directed toward verbal and written skills. A gap is fast developing between verbal and non-verbal communication skills, and the number of people who are aware of their non-verbal behaviors is far less than otherwise.

Here, it is my understanding that communication entails various aspects ranging from written and verbal skills through non-verbal communication skills. As a result, for one to be a good communicator, it is imperative that one develops skills that cut across the range. Therefore, it is my understanding that leaders who wish to convey clear messages to others should consider their tone of voice and facial expressions among other gestures as they communicate.

For instance, if a manager is communicating a serious financial problem to other employees, it is natural that he should have a serious face. Non-verbal communication cues are important because they coincide with the verbal message being conveyed thus making the message more effective. However, leaders should not allow their non-verbal cues to overshadow their main message as this will end up causing unnecessary misunderstandings.

Overall, good leadership communication skills are the core of leadership as illustrated in the foregoing discussions. Here, it is notable that effective communication creates an environment where open communication thrives, ideas are shared, problems are effectively solved, and clear messages are sent and received with minimal distortions.

Most importantly, good leadership communication skills enable leaders to communicate more effectively by incorporating different aspects of communication ranging from oral, written, and non-verbal skills. Therefore, it is important for leaders, particularly upcoming leaders in the twenty-first century going forward to embrace good communication skills, which should reflect the current changes in organizational designs across different sectors.

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IvyPanda. (2022, April 7). What It Means to Be a Leader? https://ivypanda.com/essays/being-a-leader/

"What It Means to Be a Leader?" IvyPanda , 7 Apr. 2022, ivypanda.com/essays/being-a-leader/.

IvyPanda . (2022) 'What It Means to Be a Leader'. 7 April.

IvyPanda . 2022. "What It Means to Be a Leader?" April 7, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/being-a-leader/.

1. IvyPanda . "What It Means to Be a Leader?" April 7, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/being-a-leader/.

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IvyPanda . "What It Means to Be a Leader?" April 7, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/being-a-leader/.

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Home — Essay Samples — Business — Effective Leadership — How To Rule The World: Effective Leadership

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How to Rule The World: Effective Leadership

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Introduction, what makes an effective leader, the role of ethics.

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a leader essay

Ahron Friedberg M.D.

Leaders Learn from Being a Leader

To be a better leader, reflect on your own experience and others'..

Posted November 13, 2023 | Reviewed by Hara Estroff Marano

  • Since every leadership situation is specific, one-size-fits-all rules tend not to be helpful.
  • Leaders learn on the job, reflecting on their own experience and that of others.
  • Collaboration is a crucial leadership skill, since no one can lead on their own.
  • Empathy for the people you lead will help to inspire trust and to build committed teams.

The leadership issues faced by everyday leaders are persona, and bound up with their specific situations. Thus, it’s impossible to lay down infallible rules (either for becoming a leader or for managing in that position). That would miss the subtlety and spontaneity of how each of us may be required to respond. It would miss the jerry-built nature of leadership on a small scale, where we accomplish what we can and then think up new, possibly more productive strategies that utilize the resources at hand. So, I favor broad, individually adaptable principles for coping with challenges as they arise— that is, as we evolve into a leadership role and adapt as we go.

From this perspective, everyday leadership is situational, a way of managing challenges so that they do not prevent us from reaching a goal that has not been unduly compromised. Apart from conforming to some basic principles (“I will always treat my colleagues fairly,” “I will always be honest”), we may be required to change course too often for one overarching approach to govern how we proceed.

I’ve been down this unmarked road before. When I wrote a book on happiness , I argued that no one can tell anyone how to be happy. That is, each of us finds our own way, based on the circumstances of our lives. A similar principle applies to everyday leadership, since it’s futile to lay down managerial rules for the unique challenges that everyday leaders face.

What does help, however, is to learn from how others, in similar circumstances, navigated their own challenges. We can study how ordinary people (at least in terms of their status) managed to step up and lead. Their approaches can be adapted as need be, recognizing that every approach to leadership must change in response to the demands of their situation.

However, I think that certain general, adaptable principles can inform our understanding of effective leadership. Perhaps the most important is that leaders are in constant negotiation with the led (and with those whom they seek to lead). A leader cannot be effective absent loyalty from the people they lead, and— to earn it and keep it—they must reassure such people that there are benefits from the relationship and that the project is worthwhile. This may require compromise, so that everyone tangibly experiences the benefit.

Viewed in this light, leadership is an exercise in building relationships. Most challenges are too big (even on the reduced scale of everyday leadership) for one person to manage single-handedly. Leaders will need a team, and teams need to feel that they have the leader’s support. So, even as circumstances evolve, no leader can stand apart, either from the troops or from the network of people on whom they rely for advice, expertise, and material support.

Another principle I want to cite is the need for empathy. A leader must never forget that they lead real people, with their own needs, interests, and, yes, challenges. It is crucial —if one is to gain and keep such people’s trust—to respond to their concerns. Strategically, a leader must understand such concerns so they can respond in ways that allow people to feel like more than just cogs in a machine. Again, compromise may be necessary. But people will likely require less if they feel that you care about them, that you take them into account as you move ahead.

Compromise is the result of flexibility. So, while leaders should be determined, they should never be rigid. They should listen and weigh options. Sometimes they must listen to themselves, as they debate internally their various possible courses of action. I pair flexibility with determination, since plowing ahead with a leadership initiative can fail without accepting some likely redirection. In the un- lonely world of the leader, flexibility may become the defining M.O. It is the foundation of communication and collaboration .

In my discussion so far, character traits have segued into ways of responding to practical challenges. This is because they are hardly separable. An everyday leader must empathize to appreciate constituents’ needs, and compromise accordingly. They should be flexible in order to work with teams they rely on. A leader develops useful character traits so that their actions do not seem forced —a matter of expedience rather than genuine concern. While some leaders play a good game (it’s all they’re capable of), most literally work on themselves, learning to think like a leader as if that were their natural inclination.

a leader essay

In this vein, another principle I want to cite is that leaders always learn as they go, never discarding useful insights—even where these result from failure. They become more sensitive, literally more conscious of themselves as leaders. Being a leader is never static, even with your title on the door. Learning how to lead (in context with the demands of one’s own situation) is part of leading. Picking up the pieces and starting over is never a waste of time, but just an aspect of learning. We can learn as much from failure as from success, sometimes more.

Of course, I could cite other leadership principles, like the need for self-discipline and a willingness to acknowledge responsibility (even when things don’t turn out well). I could mention that leaders must know how to communicate and collaborate. But these skills are straightforward, and I wanted to highlight here (i.e., right up front) those that are more nuanced. They are foundational to an everyday leader’s success.

So, my larger point is that leaders do not merely bring to the task the skills that they have. They enhance these skills and develop new ones. The process—and it is a process—calls for a high degree of continued self-awareness, an ability to take stock of oneself in a situation as the situation changes.

You should look at yourself honestly and register people’s responses. You should take account of those responses. When a client asks me, “How do I become a leader?” I say that you have to live in a world of two-way mirrors. You look out at people looking in and, when you see how they react, you either keep on keeping on or change accordingly. Leadership is a dynamic process where leading and becoming a leader are inseparable.

Ahron Friedberg M.D.

Ahron Friedberg, M.D., practices as a psychodynamic psychiatrist in Manhattan. He is a Clinical Professor at Mount Sinai Icahn School of Medicine and Editor of the Academy Forum.

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Ali Davachi, CEO of Realware, Pens a Thought-Leadership Piece that Gains National Recognition with Feature in USA Today

Realware ceo, ali davachi, demonstrates industry expertise and forward-thinking perspective in his latest essay featured on usa today, solidifying his position as a thought leader in his field..

Boulder, CO,

a leader essay

(Ali Davachi, CEO of Realware) Boulder, CO – In a significant testament to his expertise and leadership, Ali Davachi , CEO of Realware , has contributed a thought-leadership feature to USA Today , demonstrating the transformative power of technology in the modern business landscape.

In his USA Today feature, Davachi lays out the challenges businesses face in today's fast-paced digital environment and provides actionable strategies to leverage technology and foster innovation. As a leader of a cutting-edge technology firm, Davachi brings a wealth of experience and unique insights to the table, guiding businesses on how to unlock new opportunities and achieve their strategic objectives in the digital age.

The USA Today feature emphasizes the importance of businesses adopting technology as a driving force for change. Davachi illustrates the potential of technology to revolutionize operations, enhance innovation, and improve business processes. He stresses that to remain competitive, companies must be agile and adaptable, with technology serving as a vital tool to facilitate this necessary evolution.

Davachi dives deep into how technology can help businesses transform their operations. He highlights the benefits of harnessing data analytics to extract valuable insights into customer behavior and market trends. Such insights, he argues, empower businesses to make informed decisions, develop strategies that resonate with customer needs, and ultimately drive business growth.

The USA Today feature further explores the impact of automation on business processes. Davachi explains how automation can streamline operations, enhance efficiency, and lead to significant cost savings and increased profitability. He cites examples of automation in action, showing how routine tasks can be automated to free up resources that can then be redirected towards more strategic initiatives.

An integral part of the digital age, as discussed by Davachi, is cybersecurity. He emphasizes the need for businesses to proactively address cybersecurity threats and implement robust security measures to protect their data and systems. This, he argues, is paramount to building customer trust and safeguarding the reputation of the business.

The feature concludes by underscoring the importance of fostering a culture of innovation and continuous learning. Davachi explains how the digital landscape is constantly evolving, necessitating businesses to be prepared to adapt and evolve in tandem. He advocates for a commitment to continuous learning, experimentation, and risk-taking. By cultivating a culture of innovation, businesses can stay ahead of the curve and thrive in the digital era.

In summary, Ali Davachi's USA Today feature serves as an essential read for business leaders and individuals interested in understanding the intersection of technology and business. The feature is a treasure trove of valuable insights and practical strategies that can guide businesses in leveraging technology to foster innovation, improve operations, and drive growth in the digital age. As a testament to Davachi's expertise and leadership, the feature adds to the growing recognition of Realware as a front-runner in driving technological advancements in the business world.

About Ali Davachi and Realware

Ali Davachi combines technical expertise with a deep understanding of business intricacies, allowing him to expertly navigate complex legal and financial landscapes while also creating effective marketing campaigns and optimizing operational efficiency. This well-rounded approach is the foundation upon which he built Realware, a technology company that has been at the forefront of digital transformation since its inception in 1999.

Under Ali's leadership, Realware has become a leader in providing business-driven technology solutions, with a track record of successful projects for startups and Fortune 500 companies alike. The company's expertise spans a range of industries, including healthcare, consumer products, financial services, and direct-to-consumer businesses. Realware's services include developing mobile applications, crafting frictionless payment systems, building e-commerce platforms, and delivering customer-centric solutions, all designed to help businesses optimize efficiency and unlock new growth opportunities.

Working with Ali and the team at Realware is more than just a technological partnership; it's a journey towards transformative success. By leveraging Realware's strategic insights and innovative solutions, businesses can achieve significant cost savings and gain the agility needed to capitalize on new opportunities, ultimately driving accelerated growth and market dominance.

Organization: Realware

Name: Ali Davachi

Email: [email protected]

Website: https://www.alidavachi.com/

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Thomas L. Friedman

The Most Revealing Moment From My Trip to Israel

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, seen behind a small opening in a doorway.

By Thomas L. Friedman

Opinion Columnist, reporting from Tel Aviv.

During my nine days of reporting recently in Israel and the West Bank, little did I know that the most revealing moment would come in the final hours of my visit. As I was packing to leave on Saturday night, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave a news conference in which he indicated that Israel and the United States do not have a shared vision of how Israel should complete its war in Gaza or how to convert any Israeli victory over Hamas into a lasting peace with the Palestinians.

Without such a shared strategy, the Biden administration and the American people, particularly American Jews who support Israel, will need to make some fateful decisions.

We will have to either become captives of Netanyahu’s strategy — which could take us all down with him — or articulate an American vision for how the Gaza war must end. That would require a Biden administration plan to create two states for two indigenous peoples living in the areas of Gaza, the West Bank and Israel.

Yes, I am talking about a wartime peace plan that, if Israel agreed, could help give Israel the time, legitimacy, allies and resources it needs to defeat Hamas — without getting stuck governing all of Gaza and all of the West Bank forever, with no political horizon for the Palestinians.

And have no illusion, Netanyahu is offering only one vision right now: Seven million Jews trying to govern five million Palestinians in perpetuity — and that is a prescription for disaster for Israel, America, Jews everywhere and America’s moderate Arab allies.

The Biden plan — are you sitting down? — could actually use as one of its starting points President Donald Trump’s proposal for a two-state solution, because Netanyahu embraced that in 2020, when he had a different coalition. (Netanyahu and his ambassador in Washington practically wrote the Trump plan.) More on that in a second.

Here is why we are at a juncture that demands bold ideas, starting this past Saturday night. Speaking in Hebrew in a news conference with Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and Minister Benny Gantz, Netanyahu rejected U.S. and world concerns over the thousands of Palestinian lives already lost to the war to uproot Hamas from Gaza. Even more important, he declared that Israel’s military would remain in Gaza “as long as necessary” to prevent the Gaza Strip from ever again being used to launch attacks on Israeli civilians.

Gaza “will be demilitarized,” he said . “There will be no further threat from the Gaza Strip on Israel, and to ensure that, for as long as necessary, I.D.F. will control Gaza security to prevent terrorism from there,” he added, referring to the Israel Defense Forces.

Those are legitimate Israeli concerns, given the Hamas atrocities of Oct. 7, but Netanyahu also indicated that Israel would oppose the return of the Palestinian Authority — Israel’s partner in the Oslo peace process that governs Palestinians in the West Bank — to Gaza after the war. The authority, Netanyahu said, is “a civil authority that educates its children to hate Israel, to kill Israelis, to eliminate the State of Israel … an authority that pays the families of murderers based on the number they murdered … an authority whose leader still has not condemned the terrible massacre 30 days later.”

Bibi — who never gives the Palestinian Authority credit for how it works every day with Israeli security officials to dampen violence in the West Bank — offered no suggestion of how and from where an alternative, legitimate Palestinian governing authority ready to work with Israel might emerge.

This was an in-your-face rebuke of the Biden administration position articulated by Secretary of State Antony Blinken last Wednesday. As The Times reported, Blinken declared during a meeting of foreign ministers in Tokyo that Gaza should be unified with the West Bank under the Palestinian Authority once the war is over.

To retain America’s Arab and Western allies, Blinken said that right now — today — we must articulate “affirmative elements to get to a sustained peace.” And “these must include the Palestinian people’s voices and aspirations at the center of postcrisis governance in Gaza,” he said. “It must include Palestinian-led governance and Gaza unified with the West Bank under the Palestinian Authority.”

My four-word translation of Blinken’s proposal to Israel: “Help us help you.”

Blinken, though, also offered no details of how that might happen. The Biden team needs to flesh that out.

Why is Netanyahu trying to destroy the Palestinian Authority as a governing option for a postwar Gaza? Because he is already campaigning to hold on to power after the Gaza war is over, and he knows there will be a huge surge of Israelis demanding he step down because of how he and his far-right cronies distracted and divided Israel and its military by pursuing a judicial coup that Israeli intelligence sources told Netanyahu was emboldening and tempting enemies such as Hamas and Hezbollah.

The only way Netanyahu can stay in power is if his far-right allies don’t abandon him, particularly Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich and National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir. So to hold the support of the Jewish supremacists in his cabinet — some of whom want Israel to erect settlements in Gaza as soon as possible — Netanyahu has to declare now that the Palestinians will have no legitimate, independent representation in Gaza or the West Bank.

Yes, I know it is hard to believe, but Netanyahu is campaigning in the middle of this war.

It is time for President Biden to create a moment of truth for everyone — for Netanyahu, for the Palestinians and their supporters, for Israel and its supporters and for AIPAC, the pro-Israel lobby. Biden needs to make clear that America will not be Netanyahu’s useful idiot. We are going to lay down the principles of a fair peace plan for the morning after this war — one that reflects our interests and that will also enable us to support Israel and moderate Palestinians and win the support of moderate Arabs for an economic reconstruction of Gaza after the war.

I cannot see any major economic support for the rebuilding of Gaza coming from Europe or from countries like the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia unless Israel and some legitimate Palestinian authority are committed to the principles of a peace framework to create two states for two peoples.

Biden needs to say: “Israel, we are covering your flank militarily with our two aircraft carriers, financially with $14 billion in aid and diplomatically at the U.N. The price for that is your acceptance of a peace framework based on two states for two indigenous peoples in Gaza, the West Bank and pre-1967 Israel.” This plan is based on U.N. Resolutions 242 and 338, which was also the cornerstone for negotiations in the peace plan put forward by Trump in 2020.

“Bibi, do you remember what you said about that Trump plan that gave Palestinians about 70 percent of the West Bank for a state, plus an expanded Gaza Strip and a capital in the area of Jerusalem?” Biden could add. “Here’s the Associated Press story of Jan. 28, 2020, to remind you: ‘Netanyahu called it a “historic breakthrough” equal in significance to the country’s declaration of independence in 1948.’”

The Palestinian Authority foolishly rejected the Trump plan outright instead of asking to use it as a starting point. This is a chance to make up for that mistake — or be exposed as unserious.

In his valuable new book on the history of the peace process, “ (In)Sights: Peacemaking in the Oslo Process Thirty Years and Counting ,” Gidi Grinstein, a member of Ehud Barak’s negotiating team at Camp David, argues that the Trump plan provides a natural foundation for a revived peace process for a two-state solution.

That is not only because Netanyahu already agreed to it, Grinstein told me in an interview, even if the settler hard-liners in his cabinet did not and still would not. It’s also viable because the Trump plan was actually based on the condition that peace was possible only after Hamas was removed from power in Gaza and the Palestinian Authority could assume control of the Gaza Strip, which, the Trump plan argued, would be expanded by land carved from Israel’s Negev Desert.

Biden could also propose that with the help of our moderate Arab allies, such as the U.A.E., Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and Bahrain, we would come up with a plan to overhaul the Palestinian Authority, purge its education system of anti-Israel material, upgrade its forces that work daily with Israeli security teams in the West Bank and phase out its financial support for Palestinian prisoners who harmed Israelis.

Is the Palestinian Authority up to such a deal? Are progressive Palestinian supporters in the West who chant the eliminationist mantra “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” up for it? Will Israel’s silent majority be if Hamas is defeated?

Let’s see what they all really stand for — or if they have a better answer — because neither is going to disappear. Biden needs to put them all to the test.

I know that a lot of American Jewish leaders privately would love Biden to put forward such a plan, but so far only one, Ronald Lauder, a longtime Republican and the president of the World Jewish Congress, has had the courage to call for it — in a Saudi newspaper, no less, in an essay titled, “A Time for Peace and a Two-State Solution.” As he explained, “Only a two-state solution would guarantee Israelis and Palestinians a life in dignity, safety and with a better perspective on the economic situation, which would lead to a sustainable future.”

Such a plan would protect America’s interests and make clear that we care about what’s best for Israelis and Palestinians and our allies in the region, not what’s best for Bibi’s political future — which several Israeli analysts told me would be to drag out the war, so he couldn’t be ousted by mass demonstrations, or to drag us into a conflict with Iran in hopes that it would overshadow all his mistakes.

If a two-state plan was embraced by Israel, even with reservations, it would reinforce for the world that Israel sees its war in Gaza as one of necessary self-defense and a prelude to lasting peace. And if such a plan was embraced by the Palestinian Authority, even with reservations, that would reinforce that the authority intends to be the alternative to Hamas in shaping an independent future for Palestinians alongside Israel — and that it will not be a bystander to Hamas’s madness or a victim of it.

The Times is committed to publishing a diversity of letters to the editor. We’d like to hear what you think about this or any of our articles. Here are some tips . And here’s our email: [email protected] .

Follow The New York Times Opinion section on Facebook , Twitter (@NYTopinion) and Instagram .

Thomas L. Friedman is the foreign affairs Opinion columnist. He joined the paper in 1981 and has won three Pulitzer Prizes. He is the author of seven books, including “From Beirut to Jerusalem,” which won the National Book Award. @ tomfriedman • Facebook

3 Things Ivy League Colleges Look For On A Transcript

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Harvard University

The high school transcript is one of the most important components of the college application that top admissions officers will consider when making admissions decisions. Not only does it demonstrate a student’s academic capabilities, but it also conveys a dynamic story about the evolution of a student’s passions and skills over time. Therefore, it is important not to wait until junior or senior year to begin thinking about what story your transcript is telling. Instead, students should begin strategizing with their parents, school counselors, and any private academic support system they may have during their freshman year.

As they do so, they should be mindful of the three key qualities colleges look for in a transcript:

1. Rigorous coursework in a student’s field of interest

Top colleges are not just interested in stellar grades; they want to see that a student has taken the most challenging coursework available in the field they hope to pursue. Taking these challenging classes not only shows a student’s passion for their subject, but if they take AP or IB level courses, they can also allow students to earn college count these challenging classes as college credits while still in high school. If a student’s school does not offer AP or IB courses, they should plan to take whatever Honors or high-level courses are offered at their institution. A transcript that boasts rigorous courses aligned with a student’s intended major signals their ambition, passion, and commitment to excellence in their chosen field.

2. Engaging electives

First and foremost, electives can convey a student’s personality and secondary interests to colleges, adding dimension to their application. Elective courses allow students to explore their interests and discover new passions, particularly if they are not sure what they want to study in college. While an elective course can be a fun opportunity for a student to deepen their knowledge of an adjacent interest, students should be mindful that their elective selection should not stray too far from their core passion and area of study. The subject could be in an area of study that a student is considering minoring in or a subject that relates to their core interest in a more specialized way. For instance, a student intending to study sustainable technology may take an oceanography course to better understand underwater ecologies. Students should show dimension without undercutting the cohesive narrative presented through their application.

3. Improvement over time

While earning perfect grades throughout high school is ideal, this is not a feasible goal for most students—nor is it what colleges expect. Instead, colleges look for evidence of improvement throughout the course of a student’s high school career. Colleges are particularly interested in seeing improvement in the core academic subjects. An upward trajectory in grades signals adaptability, resilience, and a genuine commitment to personal and academic development. This upward trajectory should not only occur in GPA, but also in the difficulty of the student’s course load. Demonstrating improvement over time conveys not just a student’s current capabilities but their potential for continuous learning and academic development within the rigorous academic environment of the Ivy League.

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While the transcript is only one piece of a student’s application, it is a critical opportunity to tell a story and showcase a student’s strengths—but this is only possible with strategy and careful consideration. Students should keep these three key points in mind starting in freshman year to ensure that their transcript demonstrates the strength of their candidacy.

Christopher Rim

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  26. Ali Davachi, CEO of Realware, Pens a Thought-Leadership

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  28. 3 Things Ivy League Colleges Look For On A Transcript

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