Leadership Paper

Pick a leader you personally admire – ideally a business leader – but you may also select a prominent leader in another field if you can relate his/her background and accomplishments to the assignment requirements.  You may select someone who is currently in a leadership position or someone who is a historical character.  For example:


Business                                              Political/Religious                             Historical


Jack Welch                                          Angela Merkel                                  Peter the Great

Warren Buffet                                   Nelson Mandela                               Abraham Lincoln

Bill Gates                                             Xi Jinping                                             Queen Elizabeth I

Melissa Mayer                                  Margaret Thatcher                          Simón Bolívar

Richard Branson                               Barrack Obama                                 Saladin (Salah al-Din Yusuf Ibn Ayyub)

Jeff Bezos                                           Pope Francis                                      Genghis Khan

Mark Zuckerburg                             Hillary Clinton                                    Cleopatra

Steve Jobs                                          Winston Churchill                             Napoleon

Oprah Winfrey                                  Dali Lama                                             Augustus Caesar (Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus)

Henry Ford                                         Vladimir Putin                                    Alexander the Great


No fictional characters (although Jean-Luc Picard of Star Trek: TNG was a fantastic leader).


Using a minimum of three reference resources (and no Wikipedia) for your research (newspapers, business magazines, books, company reports, websites if the information is 100% credible, etc.), this assignment is designed for you to share information about your person’s leadership style and impact and how that relates to what we are learning about leadership in class and in the textbook.


Grading for this project will be as follows:


Followed guidelines for length, formatting, footnotes, bibliography, etc. 25 points
Summary of your research about the person’s leadership abilities and methods and how those skills impacted his/her organization/ environment (what s/he did, how s/he did it, and what was the impact) 50 points
Analysis of your research, in relation to the textbook and class material, communication of your insights and evaluation using the questions posed as a guideline. 75 points


Note:   This is not a research paper where you merely report what you learned.  This is a paper to allow you to take your research, analyze it, and express your insights and opinions in relation to the class material.  Some questions that may help guide your analysis and thinking (and you don’t have to answer all of them, or limit yourself to these particular questions):


  • Was your person a leader, a manager, or both? What did you find that leads you to that conclusion?
  • How did your person develop into an effective leader? Would you say s/he was a born leader, or developed into one?
  • What would you say is your person’s leadership style? (What leadership theories may apply?)
  • What do you think contributed the most to your leader’s success? Were there any other key contributors?
  • Did your leader inspire trust? How did s/he accomplish that?  If not, what was the impact?
  • What kind of power did your leader utilize? Would another base of power have been more effective?  What power tactics did s/he use?
  • Do you consider your leader to be ethical? Why?
  • What skills did your leader demonstrate that could be applied to other organizations, in other time periods, and/or in other parts of the world or in other areas?
  • What skills did your leader demonstrate that you would like to adopt? Why?  How would you use them?
  • What could your leader have done to be more effective?


The paper should be at least 4 pages (and I do mean 4 full pages or more), 1 ½ line spacing, with 1 inch margin and using a normal 12 point font (Arial, Times New Roman, Calibri, Univers, etc).  Any “title” type information (your name, class, date, etc.) will not be counted as part of the 4 pages.  In other words, don’t substitute lengthy titles, big margins, extra lines for spacing or large fonts for actual paper content. It should contain a synopsis of the articles/books you read but mostly your commentary on what you read (see the grading guidelines – the weighing is a good guideline for content).  I expect footnotes or attributions as appropriate (APA style is fine) and a bibliography.


While there is an expectation of good business writing, grading will mainly be based on the content of your paper – your understanding, analysis and interpretation of your person’s leadership qualities.