What Makes A Good Student Leader Essay

Expository essays on what makes a great leader are focused on explaining the difference between an ordinary leader and a great leader. Although these two are both leaders, there is a big difference between the two. There is a debate that great leaders are born, yet, there are those whose argue is great leaders are nurtured. This debate has brought into question what really makes a great leader.

A leader should have the qualities that cause him or her to be regarded as a great leader. Not all leaders are great leaders, and the difference is because of the qualities that such leaders portray. A great leader should not be a dictator. Instead, leaders should always be focused, visionary, possess sharp perception, be responsible, and reasonable. Leaders who are effective take into account their strengths as well as their weaknesses. They evaluate themselves when they ask questions like, “Am I a good leader? What can I accomplish, and what are my limits?” If a leader identifies his or her areas of weakness, he will try to turn his weaknesses into his strengths by working towards improving them.

Some leaders tend to think that they have the ability to accomplish anything within or outside their domain. They are disillusioned into the thinking that leaders are always knowledgeable and nothing can outdo their thinking powers. This is a fallacy in thinking because there is no complete individual who is able to perform all duties. Leaders should be assisted by other people who are professionals in different fields and areas of knowledge. These other persons assist the leaders in compensating for their weaknesses. Leaders should recognize the abilities of those who work with them. Doing so helps them to be regarded as effective leaders.

The perception of a leader is important. It helps in evaluating whether a leader is an effective or not. Leaders should be effective in their communication and should build a good relationship with those who serve under them. Leaders should ensure a good environment where everyone feels they have something of value to contribute. Conflicts should be recognized and addressed appropriately. A leader will be perceived to be a good leader if those who work with him talk positively about his leadership skills and what he is being able to accomplish. Leaders should also be responsible and accountable just like any other person. They should never be above the law. They should keep in accordance with the rules that govern them. They should never go beyond their limits. They should avoid the notion that they are powerful and, therefore, can bend the rules to suit themselves. The leaders’ incentive should be the goals of the organization or group they are leading. Good leaders should have the goal as their central concern and work towards realizing the goal with the interest of the organization or the group they are leading.

Tips on writing an expository essay on this topic:
The purpose of an expository essay is to express a personal opinion on a given topic. The topic should be interesting to your targeted audience. A good way to decide on a topic is to listen to news reports and social media on the hot topics of the day. Find something that interests you and do some preliminary reading on that topic. Do you have an opinion? Develop that opinion into a thesis statement. Then develop some major points to support that opinion. Look for examples or personal experiences to add as details for those support points. As always, make sure to organize your ideas logically and to use transitional devices to help your thoughts flow smoothly. Finally, be sure to edit your essay and to conduct a final proof-reading.

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Tags: expository essays, leadership essay

Though certain people may seem to have thatje ne sais quoi that inspires others to follow their lead, the ingredients of true leadership aren’t really a mystery. Many people have researched and studied the qualities that leaders possess, and they have observed many commonalities.

If your students are aspiring to take on a management or leadership role in an institution or organization, or if they simply wish to have more influence in their circles of friends and classmates, encourage them to begin building the characteristics of a leader today.

Andrew J. DuBrin has identified many of these characteristics in his book Leadership: Research Findings, Practice, and Skills, Seventh Edition. Here’s a quick summary of the traits he recounts:

  • Self confidence. Per DuBrin, “A leader who is self-assured without being bombastic or overbearing instills self-confidence in team members” (p. 37). Your self-confidence and calm demeanor can help others feel more certain that they, too, can overcome hurdles or reach a challenging goal.
  • Humility. When you’re willing to share credit with others, and you’re willing to admit that you’re not perfect, others see that and appreciate it.
  • Core self-evaluations. Research shows that four related self-perceptions relate to effective leadership: “self-esteem, locus of control [that is, taking responsibility for what happens in your life], self-efficacy [akin to self-confidence], and emotional stability” (p. 40).
  • Trustworthiness. People trust you when your attitudes, words, and motives align with what you actually choose to do. This includes being honest about mistakes, refusing to gossip and shift blame, and doing things the ethical way (even if it’s more expedient to do otherwise).
  • Authenticity. Be yourself, and act in line with your core values and personality. People will notice if you’re trying to be someone other than who you really are.
  • Extraversion. Most leaders maintain an outgoing demeanor, show an interest in people, and gladly participate in group or team activities. (Feel that you’re not naturally extraverted? You can work on your skills by making a conscious effort to demonstrate genuine curiosity about and friendliness toward others.)
  • Assertiveness. Be up front about your needs, concerns, and opinions. However, don’t forget to be tactful!
  • Enthusiasm, optimism, and warmth. Staying positive, being approachable, and expressing positive thoughts and feelings through both verbal and nonverbal communication help you build rapport with those around you.
  • Sense of humor. Your ability to make people laugh can help others feel comfortable and relieve tense situations.  (pp. 37-45)

In addition to these general personality traits, DuBrin also lists several task-related personality traits common to leaders:

  • Passion. Leaders show an extremely strong commitment to and enthusiasm about their work.
  • Emotional intelligence. A solid leader exhibits empathy towards others, has a good understanding of emotions – both others’ and their own – and recognizes that their own mood can have an effect on the entire organization’s performance. (The primary research in this area was conducted by Daniel Goleman.)
  • Flexibility and adaptability. A leader can bring about change… so it follows that he or she must also be ready and willing to adjust to different settings and situations.
  • Internal locus of control. Strong leaders take responsibility for events and believe that they can have an effect on outcomes and conditions.
  • Courage. Willingness to take risks on new ideas may put you “out there” for criticism and blame… but it also carries the reward of bringing new ideas to fruition. (pp. 45-51)

Through awareness of what it takes to be a leader, you can begin building habits that lead to increased effectiveness.

Reference: DuBrin, A.J. 2013. Leadership: Research Findings, Practice, and Skills, 7th Edition. Mason, OH: South-Western, Cengage Learning.

Wish to give your students additional suggestions for becoming the leaders they want to be? Direct them toHow to be a Leader: Advice for College Students on Developing Leadership Qualities, which appeared on CengageBrainiac, a student-focused blog managed by the team atCengageBrain.com. 

Who stands out as an example of an effective leader to you? Why? What personality characteristics, positive habits, or character traits do they exhibit? How do you encourage students to step into leadership roles? Share your story below.

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