Leadership: From theory to practice and self reflection

This assessment is designed to lead you from reflection on an analysis of another leader to encourage you to improve your own leadership skills and qualities. At the first stage, you will nominate a person whom you consider to be a successful and effective leader. This person could be someone you work with or for. Then, through your observation, you will identify the person’s leadership traits, behaviours, skills and/or styles. The learning outcome of this stage is that you are challenged to apply and link the theories in this course with your observation. In the second stage, you are asked to ‘interview’ the person who had served as your role model. At this stage, you are expected to learn not only from your role model’s experience but also about the complexities of leadership. In the final stage, ‘self reflection and improvement’, you are asked to reflect on yourselves, based on what you found in the first and second stages, and consider how your own leadership skills and qualities could be improved. By going through these three stages, you should be able to critically evaluate leadership theories and practices and understand how to improve your own leadership skills and qualities.

First Task: Observation

Identify a person who you consider to be a successful or effective leader. This could be someone you work with or for (for example: business, professional, sport, volunteer work, religious organisations etc) or anyone who through some association you judge to be a good leader.

Describe in detail what you observe this person doing in their leadership role; what you perceive this person’s leadership styles, behaviours, traits, skills and his/her use of power and influence tactics that make him/her an effective leader. You must be able to apply theories/concepts/models in the course to support your observation.

Second Task: Interview

As simple observation will not capture the complex leadership developed by effective leaders, interview the leader. Ask your chosen leader to describe his/her leadership style, behaviours, traits, skills and his/her use of power and influence tactics and see if you can confirm with your observation of what you perceived earlier.

Using the ideas and knowledge you have gained from the course to guide you but keeping it open ended, ask them what they think are the characteristics of a good and effective leader.  Encourage them to be specific – a good way to do this is to ask, after their initial responses, that they give examples or stories that illustrate when they felt they displayed good and effective leadership.  Then try and get them to focus on the skills, traits, styles, behaviours that enabled them to be an effective leader. Also what they think it takes to lead successfully based on their experience and what not to do. Again, you must demonstrate your ability to link the theories, models, and concepts to support your interview.

Third Task: Self-Reflection & Improvement

Reflect on what you have learned from the first two stages, discuss:

·         What do you learn about the complexities of leadership (comparing between what theory says and what you found i.e. do your findings support the theories in the course?)

·         Given what you have found, how might your own leadership practice be improved as a result of undertaking this assessment?

·         How has this piece of research helped you gain a better understanding of what it takes to lead well?



This assignment should have the following format:

a)    Introduction (~100 words)

b)    Body with headings and sub-headings (i.e. Observation, Interview, Reflection ~ 2,300-2,800 words)

c)    Conclusion (~100 words) 


It is expected that you will use at least 8 academic references, preferably specific topic books or journal/research articles. Websites, such as wikipedia, will not be accepted, other than for providing general details of the leaders and these will not be counted in the minimum references required. Please familiarise yourself with the RMIT Plagiarism policy. 

Other requirements:

·         Students are required to get feedback from their lecturer in Week 04. To do this, students should prepare a one-page plan. The one-page plan may include; details of the chosen leader (role, position; organisation); draft of interview questions; timeline of activities; key references.

Interview questions must be included in the Appendix section (after ‘Reference List’).

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