Friday, August 17, 2007

Advice on Leadership Essays

Hi all ... long time no post, I know, I know. Still trying to figure out what exactly to do with this blog. In the meantime, I thought I'd post answers to some of the questions I've being receiving via email because the answers will hopefully be helpful to other applicants ... as a disclaimer these are usually written late at night (ahhh summer vacation) so please excuse poor grammar/spelling.

Recently I got a question from someone asking for help in the leadership essays because he/she felt that with limited experience and without "high-up" positions he/she didn't know what to write about. Here is my response:

I think when talking about leadership you don't need to necessarily have been a president of club or company. It can be in everyday actions and you just have to find one in your past experiences that shows it. For example, for a work leadership example in my essays I talked about how a member of our team was unexpectedly let go and because of his departure there was a big hole, including reports needed for senior management. I saw this and approached my VP asking him if I could do the work for no pay, but as a trade off to get the experience. He agreed and I started getting higher level work and exposure to high-ups. Although this isn't leadership in the sense of managing people it is leadership in taking charge of an unfortunate situation to help the greater company's good. In terms of extracurricular another example I used in my essays was how even when I was just a member of a committee (and not on a board) I always made it my mission to make ppl on the committee emotionally connected to each other. I did this both because I enjoy building personal relationships but also because I think when ppl are emotionally dedicated to a cause and to each other you get a much better result in the end. This is another case where there is no "concrete" leadership, but instead a subtle way of helping to form a successful group.

I think the key is not getting caught up in titles and positions, but instead of what sort of leadership is innate in you. My type of leadership (from the examples above) is being able to fix holes in a team and building team morale. By looking at patterns in what you have done in the past twenty-something years of your life you will hopefully be able to find your own personal leadership style!

Good Luck!