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This is an IELTS Writing Task 2 sample answer on the topic of leadership from the real IELTS test/exam.

It’s really interesting because when I started this blog years ago – this was the very first question that I wrote a sample answer for!

The questions can repeat themselves on IELTS, but only years later.

I thought it would be interesting to write about it again to see if my sample essays have changed a lot or not.

You can find the one that I wrote on the same topic years ago here.

Read my new one below!

Dave

Before reading, listen to the audio and take notes, then check with the sample answer:

IELTS Writing Task 2 Sample Answer Essay: Leadership Essay 2 (Real Past IELTS Tests/Exams)

Some believe that people are naturally born as leaders while others feel that leadership skills can develop.

Discuss both views and give your own opinion.

Many are of the view that leadership is innate, rather than cultivated through time and experience. In my opinion, leadership is largely developed rather than gifted.

Those who believe that there are naturally born leaders point out the character of a person as a fixed quantity. There are certain individuals who display a natural charisma and inimitable capacity for command. A recent example of this would be Barack Obama. He is a naturally eloquent, stately, physically imposing presence and perfectly walks a fine line between warmth and firmness. Researchers have long identitified common natural characteristics of leadership such as height, a deep voice, a strong chin and natural grace of movement. These cannot be developed to a significant degree and therefore support the claim that leadership is intrinsic.

However, great leadership is more deliberate than spontaneous. There are countless examples of individuals possessing all the physical characteristics of leaders who fall well short of inspiring people. An instructive example of this is Steve Jobs. Early in his career he inspired people with his exceptional talent but that had its limits as he pushed and demeaned employees ultimately leading to his ouster from Apple. This humbling experience led him to soften the sharper edges of his personality in the ensuing decade by considering other viewpoints and giving up more control to competent employees. These learned traits served him well when he become CEO of Apple again and reached what many regard as the pinnacle of leadership.

In conclusion, though the endpoint may obscure the origins, all leaders must cultivate their hubris to become great leaders. The long-standing assumptions about leadership must be challenged in order to put in place better institutional practices to mold future pioneers of industry and politics.

Word Count: 289

Analysis

1. Many are of the view that leadership is innate, rather than cultivated through time and experience. 2. In my opinion, leadership is largely developed rather than gifted.

  1. Paraphrase the overall topic in your first sentence.
  2. Give your opinion – make it clear!

1. Those who believe that there are naturally born leaders point out the character of a person as a fixed quantity. 2. There are certain individuals who display a natural charisma and inimitable capacity for command. 3. A recent example of this would be Barack Obama. 4. He is a naturally eloquent, stately, physically imposing presence and perfectly walks a fine line between warmth and firmness. 5. Researchers have long identitified common natural characteristics of leadership such as height, a deep voice, a strong chin and natural grace of movement. 6. These cannot be developed to a significant degree and therefore support the claim that leadership is intrinsic.

  1. Write a topic sentence with a clear main idea at the end.
  2. Begin to develop/explain your main idea.
  3. Give a specific example.
  4. Develop the example with specific details.
  5. Here I quote (fake) research to further support my main idea.
  6. Tie it back to your main idea for the paragraph/the overall essay question.

1. However, great leadership is more deliberate than spontaneous. 2. There are countless examples of individuals possessing all the physical characteristics of leaders who fall well short of inspiring people. 3. An instructive example of this is Steve Jobs. 4. Early in his career he inspired people with his exceptional talent but that had its limits as he pushed and demeaned employees ultimately leading to his ouster from Apple. 5. This humbling experience led him to soften the sharper edges of his personality in the ensuing decade by considering other viewpoints and giving up more control to competent employees. 6. These learned traits served him well when he become CEO of Apple again and reached what many regard as the pinnacle of leadership.

  1. Write a new main idea.
  2. Begin to develop that main idea by explaining it first.
  3. Start another specific example of a person that you know a lot about.
  4. Go into great detail in your example.
  5. Continue developing the example.
  6. Finish developing your example to fully support your main idea.

1. In conclusion, though the endpoint may obscure the origins, all leaders must cultivate their hubris to become great leaders. 2. The long-standing assumptions about leadership must be challenged in order to put in place better institutional practices to mold future pioneers of industry and politics.

  1. Repeat your opinion.
  2. Add in a final thought/extra detail for full points from the IELTS examiner.

Vocabulary

What do the words in below in bold mean?

Many are of the view that leadership is innate, rather than cultivated through time and experience. In my opinion, leadership is largely developed rather than gifted.

Those who believe that there are naturally born leaders point out the character of a person as a fixed quantity. There are certain individuals who display a natural charisma and inimitable capacity for command. A recent example of this would be Barack Obama. He is a naturally eloquent, stately, physically imposing presence and perfectly walks a fine line between warmth and firmness. Researchers have long identitified common natural characteristics of leadership such as height, a deep voice, a strong chin and natural grace of movement. These cannot be developed to a significant degree and therefore support the claim that leadership is intrinsic.

However, great leadership is more deliberate than spontaneous. There are countless examples of individuals possessing all the physical characteristics of leaders who fall well short of inspiring people. An instructive example of this is Steve Jobs. Early in his career he inspired people with his exceptional talent but that had its limits as he pushed and demeaned employees ultimately leading to his ouster from Apple. This humbling experience led him to soften the sharper edges of his personality in the ensuing decade by considering other viewpoints and giving up more control to competent employees. These learned traits served him well when he become CEO of Apple again and reached what many regard as the pinnacle of leadership.

In conclusion, though the endpoint may obscure the origins, all leaders must cultivate their hubris to become great leaders. The long-standing assumptions about leadership must be challenged in order to put in place better institutional practices to mold future pioneers of industry and politics.

Answers

innate intrinsic

cultivated developed

largely mostly

rather than gifted instead of given

naturally born leaders innate leaders

point out argue

character temperament

fixed quantity unchangeable

display show

natural charisma personality

inimitable capacity for command can’t be repeated ability to lead

naturally eloquent speaks well

stately presidential

physically imposing presence looks like a leader

perfectly walks a fine line balances well

between warmth and firmness being friendly and strong

natural characteristics your character

deep voice manly voice

natural grace of movement refined manners

to a significant degree much

support the claim give evidence for

intrinsic innate

deliberate intentional

spontaneous without intent

countless examples many instances

fall well short nowhere near

inspiring people leading

instructive example instance that shows well

inspired visionary

exceptional talent standout ability

limits boundaries

pushed forced

demeaned condescended to

ultimately leading to in the end resulting in

ouster kicked out

humbling experience brough him down to Earth

soften the sharper edges of his personality mature

ensuing decade over the next 10 years

considering other viewpoints listening to others

giving up more control empowering others

competent employees able staff

learned traits served him well experiences benefited him later

what many regard as lots of people think

pinnacle of leadership height of leadership

endpoint final destination

obscure hide

origins where it started

cultivate develop

hubris ego/pride

long-standing assumptions unquestioned

challenged rethink

put in place implement

institutional practices schools, companies, etc. how they operate

mold shape

pioneers trailblazers

Pronunciation

ɪˈneɪt
ˈkʌltɪveɪtɪd 
ˈlɑːʤli 
ˈrɑːðə ðæn ˈgɪftɪd
ˈnæʧrəli bɔːn ˈliːdəz 
pɔɪnt aʊt 
ˈkærɪktə 
fɪkst ˈkwɒntɪti
dɪsˈpleɪ 
ˈnæʧrəl ˈkærɪzmə 
ɪˈnɪmɪtəbl kəˈpæsɪti fɔː kəˈmɑːnd
ˈnæʧrəli ˈɛləʊkwənt
ˈsteɪtli
ˈfɪzɪkəli ɪmˈpəʊzɪŋ ˈprɛzns 
ˈpɜːfɪktli wɔːks ə faɪn laɪn 
bɪˈtwiːn wɔːmθ ænd ˈfɜːmnəs
ˈnæʧrəl ˌkærɪktəˈrɪstɪks 
diːp vɔɪs
ˈnæʧrəl greɪs ɒv ˈmuːvmənt
tuː ə sɪgˈnɪfɪkənt dɪˈgriː 
səˈpɔːt ðə kleɪm 
ɪnˈtrɪnsɪk
dɪˈlɪbərɪt 
spɒnˈteɪniəs
ˈkaʊntlɪs ɪgˈzɑːmplz 
fɔːl wɛl ʃɔːt 
ɪnˈspaɪərɪŋ ˈpiːpl
ɪnˈstrʌktɪv ɪgˈzɑːmpl 
ɪnˈspaɪəd 
ɪkˈsɛpʃənl ˈtælənt 
ˈlɪmɪts 
pʊʃt 
dɪˈmiːnd 
ˈʌltɪmɪtli ˈliːdɪŋ tuː 
ˈaʊstə 
ˈhʌmblɪŋ ɪksˈpɪərɪəns 
ˈsɒfn ðə ˈʃɑːpər ˈɛʤɪz ɒv hɪz ˌpɜːsəˈnælɪti 
ɪnˈsjuːɪŋ ˈdɛkeɪd 
kənˈsɪdərɪŋ ˈʌðə ˈvjuːpɔɪnts 
ˈgɪvɪŋ ʌp mɔː kənˈtrəʊl 
ˈkɒmpɪtənt ˌɛmplɔɪˈiːz
lɜːnttreɪts sɜːvd hɪm wɛl 
wɒt ˈmɛni rɪˈgɑːd æz 
ˈpɪnəkl ɒv ˈliːdəʃɪp
ˈɛndˌpɔɪnt 
əbˈskjʊə 
ˈɒrɪʤɪnz
ˈkʌltɪveɪt 
ˈhjuːbrɪs 
ˈlɒŋˈstændɪŋ əˈsʌmpʃ(ə)nz 
ˈʧælɪnʤd 
pʊt ɪn pleɪs 
ˌɪnstɪˈtjuːʃən(ə)l ˈpræktɪsɪz 
məʊld 
ˌpaɪəˈnɪəz 

Listen and repeat:

Vocabulary Practice

Many are of the view that leadership is i____________, rather than c____________ through time and experience. In my opinion, leadership is l____________ developed r____________.

Those who believe that there are n____________ p____________ the c____________ of a person as a f____________. There are certain individuals who d____________ a n____________ and i____________. A recent example of this would be Barack Obama. He is a n____________ , s____________, p____________ and w____________ b____________. Researchers have long i____________ common n____________ of leadership such as height, a d____________, a strong chin and n____________. These cannot be developed t____________ and therefore s____________ that leadership is i____________.

However, great leadership is more d____________ than s____________. There are c____________ of individuals possessing all the physical characteristics of leaders who f____________ of i____________. An i____________ of this is Steve Jobs. Early in his career he i____________ people with his e____________ but that had its l____________ as he p____________ and d____________ employees u____________ his o____________ from Apple. This h____________ led him to s____________ in the e____________ by c____________ and g____________ to c ____________. These l____________ when he become CEO of Apple again and reached ____________ the p ____________.

In conclusion, though the e____________ may o____________ the o____________, all leaders must c____________ their h____________ to become great leaders. The l____________ about leadership must be c____________ in order to p____________ better i____________ to m____________ future p____________ of industry and politics.

Listen and check:

Listening Practice

Listen to Tony Robbins below on leadership:

Reading Practice

Here is a fascinating article on leadership from research that Google conducted:

https://www.inc.com/justin-bariso/google-spent-years-studying-effective-teams-this-single-quality-contributed-most-to-their-success.html

Speaking Practice

Answer the questions below about leadership from real IELTS speaking test:

Leadership

  1. What makes someone a good leader?
  2. Are there differences between male and female leaders?
  3. What makes for a bad leader?
  4. Is it important for leaders to be decisive?
  5. Have leadership qualities changed much over time?

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