All programs value leadership. In admissions, where so much is "It depends…" and I can imagine exceptions to almost every rule, leadership is universally recognized as a desired quality (Yes, if you click through to the other posts, I qualified that statement, but on further thought, I don’t think I need to. Just habit.)
But what constitutes leadership? A thread on the Businessweek Forum explores leadership in the context of military service. While some posters question the view that military experience does provide leadership, most feel that it gives a young people far more responsibility than they could have in civilian life.
Responsibility and followers are the two critical qualities of leadership. If you act in isolation, it’s not leadership. If you have followers, but your mission is insignificant or doesn’t require commitment, your leadership is equally insignificant. Make sure that your leadership stories show you handling responsibility and motivating or persuading others.
I will discuss other elements in other posts, but these two belong in any essay where you are trying to show leadership.