Who would you call an “ideal leader”? And which traits define an “ideal leader” in your perspective? By reflecting on these matters, you can define the type of leader that you’d like to become, and strive to develop your own capacities in these areas.

The following exercise, selected from the Instructor’s Manual for Richard L. Daft’s The Leadership Experience, Sixth Edition, offers students the opportunity to consider the leaders who have earned their admiration and respect, and then consider how they might grow in these areas themselves.

 

Spend some time thinking about someone you believe is an ideal leader. For the first part of the exercise, select an ideal leader you have heard about whom you don’t personally know. It could be someone like Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King, Abraham Lincoln, or any national or international figure that you admire. Write the person’s name. Next, write down three things you admire about the person, such as what he or she did or the qualities that person possesses.

For the second part of the exercise, select an ideal leader whom you know personally. This can be anyone from your life experiences. Write the person’s name. Next, write down three things you admire about the person, such as what he or she did or the qualities that person possesses.

What is similar about the traits you listed for the two leaders? Different? Interview another student in class about traits he or she admires. What do the traits tell you about the person you are interviewing? What are the common themes in your list and the other student’s list of traits? To what extent do you display the same traits as the ones on your list? Will you develop those traits even more in the future? (Daft, 24)

 

Reference: Daft, Richard L. 2015. Chapter 2 in Instructor’s Manual for The Leadership Experience, 6th ed. Stamford, CT: Cengage Learning.

 

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How do you encourage students to identify the traits that will help them to become effective leaders? Share your ideas in the comments.