If there is one skill that is revered across educational institutions and organizations, it is leadership.
Being the boss or in a position of power is not enough to make you a good leader. Effective leadership comes from the impact you have on people, the respect you garner and how you manage to walk the talk.
Owing to how important a role leadership plays in our personal and professional life, it’s no surprise that students are asked to write leadership essays in college.
The purpose of this assignment is to get them to understand the concept of leadership, reflect on their own experiences or even assess the leadership style of a prominent leader. Apart from writing skills, this assignment also puts students’ critical thinking skills to test.
Here are 6 Tips to Help you Write a Powerful and Effective Leadership essay
If you are thinking you can just go ahead and write an essay on your favorite leader, you are mistaken - grade 5 is long gone.
Leadership essay writing is a lot more layered. It requires you to demonstrate your understanding of the concept in an interesting manner and back it up with strong examples and research.
Don’t panic. Here are useful tips on writing effective leadership essays about yourself.
Brainstorm Interesting Topic Ideas
If you are fortunate, you will be given a specific leadership essay topic to write on but most of the times, students are given the flexibility to come up with a topic of their choice.
Leadership essays need to be personal. By the end of it, the reader needs to understand your leadership abilities. Now you can choose to throw light on that aspect of yourself by recounting your leadership experiences, relating it to the leadership style of a prominent leader or even compare two leaders. Regardless of the topic you choose, it’s important to connect it back to yourself.
So, start with enlisting potential topic ideas that would help you throw light on your leadership abilities. Don’t rush through this step - take your time to pick a suitable topic.
Work on the Outline
Similar to any other academic paper or essay, even your leadership essay needs to be well-structured and flow in logically. How do you ensure that?
After conducting research, you work on the outline first which can serve as your guide through the writing process and ensure you stay on track.
The outline of a leadership essay consists of -
- Introduction - give an overview of leadership and end it with a thesis statement which will state what your paper will be focusing on
- Body - in 2 to 4 paragraphs, express your thoughts on the core idea with facts, arguments and examples to strengthen your case
- Conclusion - neatly summarize the essay and reinstate the thesis statement
Hook the Reader
The introductory paragraph is a crucial one as it lays the foundation for the rest of the essay. Does your introduction entice the reader to know more or does it induce yawns? It all depends on how you choose to begin your essay.
It’s important to start with a bang and hook the reader from the very first sentence. A good hook is written in 1 - 2 sentences and manages to get the reader interested. You can start with a funny experience, raise a startling question or state an interesting fact - there are various ways to begin your leadership essay and capture the reader’s attention.
Use Active Voice
“I performed the task with great precision” vs “The task was performed with great precision” - what is more impactful in the context of leadership essays? Clearly, the former one.
Unlike a research paper or any other academic paper, leadership essays are meant to be personal. They are supposed to be about you. As you are sharing your perspective or experiences, it’s always advisable to use active voice to make a greater impact and ensure your message reaches the reader.
Another element that can really strengthen your leadership essay and take it from good to great is anecdotes.
Yes, don’t shy away from sharing anecdotes and personal experiences related to leadership. It adds credibility to your writing and justifies the points you have made. It can be something humorous or a life-changing one but sharing anecdotes helps in keeping readers invested and also adds immense value to the essay.
Here’s a helpful video by Matthew Singleton on how you can use anecdotes while writing essays
Focus on Key Qualities
We know how effective leadership constitutes of certain key traits and qualities such as empathy, collaboration, good listener, visionary, ownership, decision-making capabilities, delegation, communicator and more.
Your essay needs to reflect some of these traits. Instead of choosing to enlist all these traits and not focussing on either of them well, it’s important to first choose which are the traits you want to explore in your essay and then work towards highlighting them while writing.
So, now you know that leadership essays are not as ‘vanilla’ as they sound. They need to be descriptive and logical while capturing your leadership abilities.
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