Admissions committee members know that leadership comes in multiple shapes, sizes and flavors. This week Harvard Business School Working Knowledge interviews HBS professor Dr. Joseph Badaracco , who wrote Leading Quietly: An Unorthodox Guide to Doing the Right Thing. The Q&A examines the quiet leader, the individual who leads by example and with consistency and integrity. Dr. Badaracco describes the quite leaders as modest individuals "acting quietly, effectively, with political astuteness, to basically make things somewhat better, sometimes much better than they would otherwise be." During the Q&A Dr. Badaracco describes the "3 virtues of the quiet leader": restraint, modesty and tenacity along with other attributes of the quiet leaders.
For you as an applicant trying to demonstrate leadership and distinguish yourself from other applicants, these three virtues and the other attributes discussed above are really sub-sets and aspects of leadership that you may want to highlight in your essays. "Leadership," a term Maxx Duffy in our MBA BlastOff ebook calls an umbrella term, is a word that bears a broad definition and represents desirable qualities in the admissions process, but is over-used both by schools and applicants. It is discussed again, and again, and again. These leadership sub-traits, however, receive much less hot-air time. They can help you differentiate yourself, especially when backed up with stories that demonstrate leadership as well as the virtues you are spotlighting.