Leadership involves:

  • Being able to motivate & direct others
  • Taking responsibility for the direction & actions of a team
  • Setting objectives
  • Organising & motivating others
  • Taking the initiative
  • Persevering when things are not working out
  • Taking a positive attitude to frustration/failure
  • Accepting responsibility for mistakes/wrong decisions
  • Being flexible: prepared to adapt goals in the light of changing situations

How to become a leader

  • Use initiative to act on opportunities. Become a leader before other people view you as one. Healthy organisations reward those who take the lead, not just those with formal management roles.
  • Take responsibility for own objectives: set priorities.
  • Display a "can do" attitude even in demanding situations. Try to solve problems, rather than to pass them on to other people. First answer is ‘yes, I’ll make it happen’.
  • "Go the extra mile" when asked to do tasks. Go beyond your job description. Do work that gets you noticed.
  • Show enthusiasm: this will be noticed and you will eventually be rewarded.
  • Take ownership of problems: anticipate potential problems, take pre-emptive action and act quickly to resolve problems.
  • Introduce improvements to the way things are done.
  • Develop innovative practices. Value innovative thinking.
  • Learn new skills that will enhance capability.

Develop your Leadership Skills with Study Plus

The Study Plus programme runs sessions on a range of skills to prepare you for the world of work. It is free for University of Kent Students, check out when the next Leadership skills session is here. 

Example answers for application forms and interviews

Can you give me an example of a time when you have had to co-ordinate the work of other people?

Context: I was Social Secretary of the European Society on campus. We decided to mark Europe Day last May by organising a programme of social and cultural events representing all the EU member countries. I had to find people willing to take part: some were members of our own Society but I also approached other societies on campus, such as the French Society, and had to seek out individuals to make sure that all 15 countries were represented.

Action: Once I had a full complement of people willing to contribute I could draw up a programme of events for the day and we held regular meetings to monitor progress and iron out any problems.

Result: On the day, there were 15 different events running from a French breakfast with coffee and croissants through films, lectures and musical recitals through to a late-night disco with music from all over Europe. Several hundred students took part in them and the European Society signed up over 30 new members.

Describe a time when you have managed your own performance or the performance of others to achieve results. What did you do?

Context: When I volunteered at an Oxfam Charity Shop, there were very few employees. I was therefore given a large amount of responsibility from my first day.

Action: As I was often the only employee in the actual shop, it was necessary for me to manage the maintenance of the store – as new volunteers were recruited it became my duty to train them in a variety of tasks. I had to learn to delegate responsibility and learn how to handle occasionally difficult customers with tact.

Result: I learned a lot about how to take responsibility and it gave me confidence that I could enter a management role at some stage in the future.

Last updated