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Taking Initiative at the Workplace - Leadership Essay for Chevening Application

ayunovianti 5 / 8 3  
Nov 4, 2018   #1
Hello EssayForum community! I am a Chevening Scholarship applicant for the year 2019/2020. I would really appreciate some suggestions on the below essay. Thank you so much!

Chevening is looking for individuals who will be future leaders or influencers in their home countries. Explain how you meet this requirement, using clear examples of your own leadership and influencing skills to support your answer.

to practice my leadership skills on a bigger scale

My first leading experience happened during the first year of me working at my current company. At that time, our client requested a feature from us. In the beginnning it looked like a pretty simple and straight forward feature, just like any other feature, however after a few meetings with one of the clients we realized that the requirements given were very vague, and we were not even sure that the clients knew what they wanted.

Time was moving fast, multiple meetings were held but we did not produce any meaningful progress, even though the deadline was nearing. The design prototypes we handed out to them never seemed to address the problem. Amidst team's frustration with the condition, I suddenly remembered about a research methodology I learned from my experience in the previous company. This methodology always helped my previous company find the root cause of problems they were facing. However none of the business analysts in my current company had any experience with the methodology.

With this knowledge, I took the initiative to convince and influence the product owner, business analyst and designer in my team to work together with client using this methodology. I explained to them the benefits of this methodology and how with great teamwork, this would find the root cause of the problem and solve it using a proposed feature. Eventually product owner trusted me to lead the project on this particular feature.

This methodology is called Sprint, where we tried to identify solution to a problem and tested it out to real users within 5 days. We all mapped out the problem, tried to come up with a bunch of solutions, prioritized which solutions were worth to try, built few prototypes from the prioritized solution, and tested the prototypes to users. During the Sprint, I encouraged all team members to contribute in building the right solution. We ran into a problem that there were too many solutions that seemed to be the right one, but I quickly solved that by appointing the product owner to have the final say. In the end, the clients seemed happy with the prototype we tested out to them, and we successfully developed and deployed the feature that solved the right problem.

From this experience, I have learned that being a leader is not a matter of being someone in an higher authority position, but rather being able to influence other people to solve an ongoing problem. I hope to practice my leadership skills on a bigger scale if I am chosen to be a part of Chevening scholar.
bowls 4 / 5 1  
Nov 4, 2018   #2
Hi Ayu,

The example you used here seems a bit weak to me. In your essay, I feel that most of the work was actually done by the group (you used a lot of 'we'), you should emphasise more on how you lead the team to solve the problems. Also, you mentioned that the company let you lead the team because you have experience of using the methodology. It sounds like you were assigned the mission because of your previous experience instead of your leadership skills. You have to make it clear that you got the job because of both.

You used two paragraphs to introduce the background, it's a bit too long, I would suggest that you cut it down to one.

Hope it helps.
Holt  Educational Consultant - / 11,948 3858  
Nov 6, 2018   #3
Ayu, what you wrote is a methodology presentation. As such it cannot function in the capacity of a leadership and influencing essay. You will need to write a totally new essay that focuses on at least 2 instances of actual leadership in either an academic, volunteer, or professional setting. This means, you need to prove that you took point in the situation and you had actual personnel to manage, with you making the final decision. You cannot use this essay because you functioned in a team member capacity rather than leader capacity.

Try to think of a more recent representation that better aligns with the requirements of the prompt. Remember, you need "examples", plural form. So the essay cannot focus on a single project that did not allow you to exhibit at least 2 leadership skills and one influencing style. 2 for 2 would be a better presentation if you can come up with it.

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