Crafting That MBA Essay On Leadership

Crafting That MBA Essay On Leadership

How to Write a Leadership Essay That Takes the Lead

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Every year millions of high school students apply for college. And every year, at least one of those colleges requires a leadership essay.

While you may have never served as a manager, fought against injustice, or led a rebellion, you have at least some inklings of leadership inside you. After all, one of the greatest fictional leaders, Daenerys Targaryen, didn’t think she was much of a leader at first either.

The point of the leadership essay is to bring those qualities out and show you—and your readers—how you can be a mother of dragons, breaker of chains, and master of essays.

So it’s time to stop looking up to other people—at least for a little while—and start seeing yourself in a new light. If you’re not totally convinced, I’ll help you dig deep and write a leadership essay that’s bound to lead the pack of other applications.

What Is a Leadership Essay Anyway?

leadership essay
“Leadership” by NY Photographic , The Blue Diamond Gallery ( CC BY-SA 3.0 )

In short, a leadership essay seeks to do two things:

  1. Define leadership
  2. Show how you are a leader

The best way to do this is to list characteristics that successful leaders have and show your reader how you exemplify these traits.

Leadership essays, in general, are going to be pretty different than the essays you’re used to writing for class. Instead of focusing on literature , authors, or literary devices, leadership essays focus on your personal qualities.

More likely than not, the first (and possibly only) time you’ll encounter a leadership essay is when applying to a university or for a scholarship. It seems a little unfair because you don’t have a whole lot of practice writing these types of essays, but that’s why I’m here.

Let’s dive a little deeper into how to write your leadership essay.

Elements to Consider When Writing a Leadership Essay

leadership essay
“Followership” by Tranductrung2009 , Wikimedia Commons ( CC BY-SA 4.0 )

Now that you have a rough idea about what a leadership essay is, you can start writing it, right?

Not quite.

First, let’s review a few things you should keep in mind as you write. These elements will help you stay on track and find inspiration so that you can really wow your readers.

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  • Write about yourself. When some students hear the word “leadership,” they’re inclined to think this kind of essay is similar to or the same as a hero essay . But hero essays focus on other people. Leadership essays are all about you.
  • Be honest. The point of any leadership essay is to let the admissions faculty know more about you. Yes, you can (and should) get creative in your essay—but don’t lie about who you are or what you’ve accomplished. If you don’t feel like you’ve accomplished anything, just wait until you get to the brainstorming stage. Ideas will just start flowing.
  • Don’t list leadership skills you don’t plan on explaining later. Your definition of leadership shouldn’t be one you find in a dictionary. Instead, think about the leadership skills you possess, and list those so that you can explain them later in your essay.
  • Leadership essays aren’t like other essays. They don’t have to (though they can) follow the five-paragraph format . They are a little more informal, more like a story. You can either use one story to explain all of your leadership skills or use different examples for each skill. Either way, make sure it all flows together logically.
  • It’s okay to write in first person . This isn’t academic writing. Plus, you’re talking about yourself. First-person writing makes it personal.
Leadership essays aren’t like other essays. They’re a little more informal & story-like.

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Steps to Writing an Awesome Leadership Essay

Okay, I know you’re itching to get to the good stuff. So here are all the details about how to actually write a leadership essay so that you can get started ASAP.

Brainstorm

Before you start trying to think of the specifics or the structure of your leadership essay, you need to know a little bit more about the leadership characteristics you have.  Brainstorming techniques are perfect for helping you identify your leadership characteristics.

Think about any leadership situations you’ve been in—the leader of a group project or sports team, any position within a school club, showing leadership among younger siblings. Really anything can be turned into leadership experience as long as you worked with other people.

Keep in mind that you don’t have to be someone’s superior to be a leader.

Let’s say for the sake of giving examples that Khaleesi herself was writing a leadership essay. Her brainstorming might include the following traits:

  • Fearless
  • Loyal
  • Just
  • Stand up for what I believe in
  • Kind but tough when I have to be
leadership essay
“Daenerys targaryen Artwork” by Ajai Gautham , Flickr.com ( CC BY 2.0 )

Having trouble coming up with a list? Try reading what other students have to say about their leadership in these example essays .

Outline

Once you have some ideas of what leadership qualities you possess, it’s time to start organizing them and creating the structure of your essay. Do you plan on writing one story or giving several different examples?

Whatever the case may be, you’re going to have an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. The difference is mainly what you do with the body paragraphs.

Daenerys’s outline might look something like this:

  1. Introduction
    1. Hook
    2. Thesis statement
  2. Freeing the Unsullied
    1. Loyal and stand up for what I believe in
    2. Punished/killed slavers and vowed to free slaves around the world
  3. Rescuing baby dragons from the House of the Undying
    1. Fearlessness and determination
    2. Ignored distractions like the Iron Throne and Khal Drogo hallucinations to rescue dragons
  4. Took control of the Dothraki people
    1. Used diplomacy whenever possible but was stern when needed
    2. Killed leaders who were talking about harming me and arose from the ashes unburnt—for a second time
  5. Conclusion

Write your introduction

leadership essay

You’ll notice on the outline that I have a hook and thesis statement under the Introduction section.

A hook is a way to get your readers’ attention  and make them want to keep reading. Unlike your teacher who has to read your essay to give you a grade, admissions staff don’t have to read anything they don’t want to. So make sure your intro really hooks them and draws them into your essay.

One of the best ways to write a hook is to start at the climax of your story. This shows readers the excitement of your essay and makes them curious as to how you got to that point. Other types of hooks might be to include quotes or clearly set up your story from the beginning.

A thesis statement  tells the reader what your leadership essay is really about. In this context, it’s just a mini-outline of your leadership essay. You can be more creative here than in other essays, so play around with it a little to see what feels right.

In leadership essays, the thesis statement is just a mini-outline showing what your essay’s about.

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Let’s see how Daenerys may write her introduction:

As I stepped out of the burning hut, I thought this was what I was born to do—lead the Dothraki across oceans and all the way to the Iron Throne, where I would take my rightful place as leader of the Seven Kingdoms. While leaders come in many forms, truly great leaders have loyalty to their subjects, courage and determination in the face of adversity, and the sense to know when to forgive and when to punish. In my rise to Khaleesi and beyond, I have acquired these very traits.

Can you spot the thesis statement?

That’s right, in Daenerys’s thesis statement, she outlines the characteristics of leadership that she’ll address in the body paragraphs (loyalty, courage and determination, and balancing forgiveness and punishment).

Write the body paragraphs

The meat of your essay is all in the body paragraphs. This is where you show your readers what a great leader you are. Use descriptive language and vivid examples .

Don’t just say, “I show courage by doing this.” Instead, your descriptions of events should give the reader a clear picture of how you demonstrate courage, or any other leadership trait you have chosen.

One of Daenerys’s body paragraphs could go like this:

I went through a series of rooms, each one more difficult to get through than the last. The first was my true end goal—the Iron Throne. It’s what I dreamt about constantly, and now it was right in front of me. I could see it, feel it, but it wasn’t what was important at that moment. I heard my dragons calling for me, and I knew I had to press on if I was going to get them and myself out alive.

Wrap it up

leadership essay

The final step is to write your conclusion. Let the reader know the impact your leadership has had on others or what you’ve learned about yourself in terms of your leadership.

Here’s what Daenerys’ conclusion might look like:

Although I grew up being told my brother was the last dragon, I realized in time that title was meant for me. Slowly, I became bolder and stronger in my convictions, helping to save the lives of thousands and realizing my role as the Mother of Dragons.

See? It’s not that hard to write a leadership essay, is it?

Here at Kibin, we consider our editors to be leaders. They fearlessly fight grammatical errors and work hard to make students’ essays shine. So if you’re not sure that your writing is up to par with that of a leader, we’re happy to take a look and make suggestions .

Now take a good look at yourself and all the awesome leadership qualities lying within, and bring them out on paper. Good luck!

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Table of contents

  • class notes

  • leadership essay plan and question

  • leadership essay-What I think that I'm good or not so good at

  • leadership essay- my leadership skills

  • handball ideas

  • more handballl ideas

  • fitness plan to lose weight

  • Planning the Training

  • Performance Profiling

  • Long Term Athlete Development (LTAD)

  • Tapering

  • Warm Up and Cool Down

  • Creating a Coaching Lesson Plan

  • tips for effective coaching By Susan M. Heathfield




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    here is some of my notes and essays that I wrote during my time doing my leadership course in school

    leadership essay- my leadership skills


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      An effective leader requires many different skill and qualities such as communication, motivation, listener, and organization in order to become a successful leader. Some leaders in my opinion who had these skills are Winston Churchill, Sir Alex Ferguson and Nelson Mandela. There are also other leaders who have been dictatorial, and forced their beliefs and ideology on others such as Adolf Hitler, Stalin. There are many other people who had many different skills and qualities. In my essay I am going to look closely at my skill and qualities in order to evaluate my own potential for leadership and draw conclusion based on this, which I hopefully will all be positive.

      I would say that through different experiences, such as sport, school, family household and general life, I have learned and demonstrated various leadership skills. These experiences which I will cover in more depth are when I am a sport coach, school buddy and a team player.

      The first leadership skill a sports coach requires is communication. Communication comes in different ways, such as verbal, written and visual demonstrations. A good coach will know when to use what style at the correct time and appropriate to the group they are working with.  As I coach of a wide range of ages from 5 years to 16 years I need to be able to get my point across effectively. This has to be done in a great variety of ways. The different ways, I have to be starting from simple words and phrases for the younger children to more complex and technical phrases. This is the same when I would also apply doing visual demonstration. This has developed these two forms of communication for me and has helped me get my point across clearly, so much so that I have recently coached the mini handballer of 7-8years old and the Schools 5th and 6th year’s girls, both to national finals. As a coach I have to at times be dictatorial and tell what I need to do, this is not in a negative way which people would see the way that leaders like Hitler and Stalin did, mines is simply to get a point across which if people follow the instruction will help support and make them improve.

      Following on from my first skill of communication, being a school buddy has taught me the skills of listening and motivating. Listening is a key skill as a phrase my dad keeps saying is “2 ears, one mouth” ,meaning listening is more important than talking, and everyday life you need to listen to understand what is being said or going on around you. Motivation is important when people are positive towards someone, and give them hope and belief then people can change their ways for the better. My example for these skills is when I helped to support and buddy, a pupil from the communication and support centre. The help I gave was to make secondary school a less frightening place for him and during interval and lunchtimes I had to support him by listening to his problems and challenges, which affected him due to change and masses of people, in coming to a bigger and new school in first year. Change was a big issue, and by having the same people around him, helped him settle into the school, then we had to look to make the school an enjoyable and exciting place ,so motivating to encouraging him to do things that he would not normal do, like going to school clubs both sport, and non-sporting sessions. The success came when he took part at the handball school championships whist he was in third year.

      Another skill I have worked on and developing is the skill of planning. As a coach I have to plan every session and in more detail every exercise according to age and ability. To supplement the planning and to know that it has went well, and then I am also developing and improving my evaluation skills. Evaluation skills are when I review the session to see how well the session went in line with the planed activity. This aids me to develop the following week’s session and in that so that I know whether or not I recap what I have previously done. For example at a recent club session we done an exercise involving passing at the end of the session we evaluated it and found that there was too many mistakes so we repeated it the following week.

      Finally the last leadership skill is whilst with in a team environment, the skill is being able to adapt to change. My experiences of change have come from my years of playing and learning handball. I have encountered many different coaches from several different countries and cultures and their interpretations of leadership. Each coach’s style of coaching varies some like you to be very physical in defence and other more around improving your technical ability. I found these coaches communication to coincide with the way they saw the game being played and where people should be looking to improve on like the defensive coach being very aggressive and the technical coach being a bit more laid back. At club level and abroad the coaches are a bit more laid back while the Great Britain coaches are a bit more aggressive due to them being more serious in their actions. The Swedish and German coaches that I have been coached by taught me that in particular when working with young children that we should make it a fun session with no aggression attached as there will be many mistakes made at that levels so you have to stay positive. This has taught me to accept change also away from sport like a change in head teacher or a different teacher for a subject.

      Overall a leader as mention need, to have many different key skills, I believe that thou the famous leaders were successful because they had the correct skills and attitude for what was needed and knew when to apply it. I would like to hope that I have identified that I have learned many skills which I use, and as like successful leaders the appropriate skill for the correct situation system and hope i continue to develop these skills I will be a successful leader and at this moment during my coaching I would describe myself as a authoritarian leader with a touch of paternalistic leadership. I believe this because I need to give instructions and keep a close eye on what they are doing but also act proactive to make sure they don’t get hurt and in doing so gaining there trust.

      In conclusion, in one of the skills I have developed through the course is evaluation, which I spoke of during the planning, but this essay is not about planning and is based around evaluation and I hope to have shown areas where I have recognised points that I have worked on, I know I still have many more to develop and only with constant evaluation of my leadership and everyday life will I improve as a person and a leader.

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