Are some types of leadership better than others?

What’s better? Starting something myself or taking a prefect position at school?

Hi Sarah,

Thanks for your question and while it’s good to have leadership on your application in general, there are two main types of leadership, institutional and innovative, that hold different pros and cons.

Institutional Leadership
This means leadership that is within the organisational structure of an already established organisation. This is the majority of leadership positions available to youth today and some examples are head boy/girl, prefects, captains, or leaders of some sort of preexisting group.

Institutional leadership is a powerful indicator of your ability to work with people, especially as candidates often rely on votes to be elected. However, it is hard to tell which of these positions were competive and which weren’t -imagine applying for President of Club X when there is no one else applying vs when there are 20 other people who want the role. My point is that it’s impossible for the school to tell anything about your competency as a candidate from the resulting job title.

With this being said, the resources that are opened to a person in a position of power can give you significant leverage in a chosen project. This can be in both man-power (club members), financial resources or networks (through your team). So don’t write off these positions as you can achieve some great things in them that will also look strong on your resume.

Innovative leadership
This is when a student starts their own organisation, club, event or business. As the name ‘innovative’ suggests, this type of leadership shows that you have the ability to think creatively, strategically and confidently enough to bring your ideas into fruition.

You should involve yourself in both types of leadership for the strongest application.