A good essay should be balanced and incisive. Essays are your opportunity to explore a subject in depth and demonstrate to the reader, be they teacher, friend or employer, that you have the capacity for independent thought, research and assessment. Your ideas and conclusions are as important as your spelling and grammar. Leadership, being such a broad and inspiring subject, gives you much scope for exploring ideas and demonstrating your essay-writing skills.
Write an introductory paragraph setting out your aims for the essay. The paragraph should be written in the first person. For example, "It is my assertion that great leadership is one part courage and one part compassion. With examples from our own history and that of our European neighbors, I aim to prove that without both qualities, a person can't be a good leader."
Cite examples of good leadership. Your assertions are baseless without examples. Find an example of good leadership that supports your claims in the introductory paragraph, analyze it and summarize it. Be detailed and confident in your analysis. Using phrases such as "I suppose," or "it seems" suggest you aren't sure of what you're saying. Use phrases such as "I therefore believe" after giving an example to support what you're about to say.
Cite examples of bad leadership. For balance and further support of your initial assertion, find examples of where someone failed in their duty as a leader due to a lack of the qualities you describe at the outset.
Bring the article to a conclusion. Summarize your main points here, including how you came to believe them. For example, if at the beginning you claim that leadership relies on understanding the motivations of others, your conclusion must contain a brief reference to this claim and how you supported it.
Compose a title that is brief, eye-catching and makes the reader want to read on. It pays to leave the title to the end, as you have a better understanding of the tone and content of the essay. Your title should refer to the topic, rather than your beliefs on it. You can pose a question in your title, provided you answered it in the essay. For example "Leadership in War Time - Is Compassion as Essential as Courage?"
Cite references at the end of the essay. To add credence to your claim, include the title, author, year of publication and publisher of any books you got information from.
Proofread the essay. Check for spelling, grammar and style mistakes.