Essay Define Leadership

How Would You Define Leadership?

I would define leadership as the ability of any individual, regardless of their status or title, to influence others and achieve a final outcome via team commitment, influence and motivation. Leadership is a highly dynamic and forever changing requirement for all of society in the 21st century and has allowed society as a whole to develop and advance socially and technologically. The concept of leadership and its practice is dependent on a number of different circumstances, environments, teams, values and objectives. As such, leadership can not be restrictive and nor can it remain constant for a sustained period of time. For example, a political leader relies heavily on governance whilst a business leader may be focusing more on strategy and human resource management. Furthermore, leadership pertains to not only the requirements of a specified industry or job title, but the personality traits and individual strengths and requirements of the individual that must lead and achieve an overall outcome for the greater good of an organization or society as a whole.

Throughout my respective management and leadership experiences, I have seen leadership to vary widely, hence supporting my initial statements on its diverse nature. For centuries, academics and well known individuals have attempted to define leadership and essentially establish a structure for teaching others how to lead I believe this to be the wrong way of teaching younger people and children about leadership. Leadership can not be taught or engrained in a student or focus group. Rather, more experienced leaders in society can provide insights into different leadership scenarios and encourage people to incorporate their own traits in defining their own leadership style and how to effectively lead others.

Furthermore, in defining leadership, various leadership styles can be extensively analyzed as they are always present throughout an organization and in different forms. Each individual within an organization has a different leadership style, which vary in their effectiveness in different situations. This is significant as we can learn off the leadership styles of others and determine how certain situations should be encountered and how individuals should be led. Furthermore, leaders can improve their skills by learning off the failures of others. For example, in the corporate world, newly promoted leaders need to learn how to quickly make amends after previous leadership failures and determine how to positively influence others and instill success in their team. In a sense, good leadership is achieved through the use of initiative and individuals trying to find unique ways of achieving an outcome. Subordinates will subsequently respect leaders more if they are willing to exceed all boundaries to achieve a goal, which benefits everyone.

I also believe that leadership should always be related to success and an individual being able to influence others to effect change and achieve an overall outcome. If an individual can not achieve success, than their style needs to be further refined. As discussed earlier, there are a number of mechanism by which leaders can improve their style. The HEC program is one such means by which leaders can theoretically and practically learn how to become more effective and influential.

In conclusion, leadership is primarily based on an individual achieving success through positively influencing others and also developing and advancing further in their respective careers. Future leaders need to learn off the faults of others and be open to change, the use of initiative and listening to their subordinates. It has also been identified in this paper that the beliefs of subordinates also influence the effectiveness of a leader and how they use their team to achieve a task and ultimately, success.

F1GMAT:Leadership MBA Essay is a crucial component in an MBA application. You have helped hundreds of MBA applicants. How do you define leadership from an MBA admissions point of view? What part of leadership do the AdCom value?

Stacy Blackman: What is leadership?  If you are applying to an MBA program, you are going to need to figure out the answer to this question. Many applications have specific questions focused on your defining leadership experiences. While others don’t boast a “leadership” question per se, the best applicants will emphasize and demonstrate the idea of leadership throughout their applications.

Related: To find out how to highlight your leadership skills, download our MBA Application Essay Guide

Beyond Experience

Applicants need to think through past experiences to find the stories that best illustrate leadership skills.  The most effective examples may not be the first to come to mind. Many applicants automatically tag some of their greatest personal achievements as perfect examples of leadership. However, this is usually not the best formula for a strong leadership essay.

Just because you achieved something outstanding does not mean leadership skills were involved, especially if you did most or all of the work. The work of the leader activates the work of others; one of the central tenets of leadership essays is showing that you can enable the actions of other people. You bring out their passions. You educate them. You help them see organizational priorities in new ways. And then they share in the achievement.  Often, the best leadership essays will have heroes other than you. For example, if you helped Terri in accounts receivable realize her full potential on a project you led, showcase her as a hero in your leadership tale.  Find anecdotes in your work and extracurricular history that illustrate this kind of pattern

What kind of experiences will make the best tales of leadership?
 
Think about challenges where the following came into play:

  • Identifying/defining a problem
  • Being open to new information, input, etc.
  • Building consensus with appropriate stakeholders
  • Guiding strong mid-course corrections; overcoming mistakes
  • Building on success
  • Articulating a vision
  • Resisting conventional approaches; challenging status quo
  • Convincing others of importance of problem
  • Marshaling resources to address problem
  • Motivating others
  • Making good use of others’ talents
  • Permanently upgrading organization’s capabilities; institutionalizing solutions
  • Illustrating methods for other individuals, organizations, etc.

Related:Learn how to customize your application based on the above leadership traits.

Leadership is not about titles

Some candidates build leadership essays around the fact that they were selected for or elected to certain positions where they had a high level of authority and responsibility: editor-in-chief of a college paper, fraternity president, captain of the hockey team, director of product development, V.P. of marketing, etc. But what did you do with this position? A college newspaper editor could write about how she was constantly challenged to maintain high levels of editorial excellence, manage staff assignments, and hit all deadlines. This is definitely an esteemed position with tons of responsibility, but Ms. Editor, if you describe your role like that, it sounds exactly the same as the role of the other 798 editors-in-chief of college papers. Define the leadership challenges you faced, not the management challenges. Did you have to deal with a certain writer who falsified interview notes? Was there a sticky campus scandal that forced you and your staff to walk an ethical tightrope? Did you have to fire student editors? Did you lead a transition from a weekly to a daily with all of the scheduling and human resources rigors that entails?

"Collecting impressive titles does not make someone a great leader—helping a team accomplish something meaningful or overcome great challenges does"

To understand more about Qualities of Leadership, here are some related articles.

MBA Application Leadership Qualities - Focus
MBA Application Leadership Qualities - Listening
MBA Application Leadership Qualities - Humility
MBA Application Leadership Qualities - Personal Responsibility
MBA Application Leadership Qualities - Trust



Founded in 2001, Stacy Blackman Consulting has helped thousands of MBA applicants gain admission to the most selective business schools in the world.  The Stacy Blackman team, comprised of MBA graduates, former admissions officers and expert writers, editors and marketers, helps clients develop and implement a winning marketing strategy.

Stacy Blackman clients have a significantly increased probability of admission to top schools and are frequent recipients of merit scholarships.  The company is regularly featured in publications such as BusinessWeek, the Wall Street Journal and the Economist.  





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