Vocabulary: Leadership

1. Definitions

What do the adjectives in bold mean? In what ways can they be used to refer to people?
1. She delivered a convincing speech on the need for change.
2. The photocopier can be a bit erratic at times, but it gets the job done.
3. The blackouts at work have been extremely disruptive.
4. The reasons they gave for not wanting to work with us any longer were completely illogical.
5. Her perfomance in the contest was impressive, to say the least.
6. That drilling noise is really irritating. Can't you tell them to stop?
7. The printer is fairly old but completely reliable.

2. Parts of speech

Complete the parts of speech for the words in the table. In some cases, there's no logical answer.

  Adjective Antonym Noun Verb Adverb
1. convincing unconvincing conviction to convince convincingly
2. dicruptive        
3. illogical        
4. impressive        
5. reliable        
6. irritating        
7. benefical        
8. popular        

3. Qualities for success

Which of these things are important for leadership or professional and personal success? An ability to…

  • … pull people together.
  • … learn from your mistakes.
  • … know your own strengths and weaknesses.
  • … know how to deal with people.
  • … know what makes people tick.
  • … inspire and motivate people.
  • … achieve what you set out to do.
  • … know when to take calculated risks.
  • … share the credit for success.
  • … take personal responsibility for failure.
  • … clearly state what is expected.
  • … defuse hostile situations.
  • … inspire others to take on new challenges.
  • … radiate composure and authority.

When you've finished, make three sentences with any of the expressions. For example: She was known as someone who often took calculated risks.

4. Website text completion

Complete the website text with the correct forms of the words in brackets.


Great Leaders
A good leader should have the discipline to work single- (1)________ (mind) toward a goal. They will (2) _________ (inspiration) by example, and do whatever it takes to complete the task at hand. 

Leaders create (3) _________ (opportune) to achieve greatness by setting good examples. They will give credit where it is due, and will take personal (4) __________ (responsible) for failures.

Some of the greatest leaders in history are (5) ________ (fame) for their ability to listen. They are able to suspend (6) _________ (judgemental), even if the ideas do not conform to their way of thinking. This sense of openness builds mutual (7) __________ (respectfully) and trust between leaders and followers, and it also keeps the team well supplied with new ideas that can further its (8) ___________ (visionary). However, when it comes to making a (9) __________ (decisive), leaders know when it's time to take (10) _______ (act). 

Great leaders can pull people together. They are (11) ___________ (capability) of creating a climate in which subordinates feel that they have something to (12) ____________ (contribution) and that they can disagree or raise doubts whitout fear of retribution. Leaders also have an (13) _________ (able) to hold firm on issues even when those around them may be urging change. They are axtremely good at (14) _________ (communication) their goals, being able to do this in a (15) _____________ (simplicity), concise manner that others can relate to easily.


Your turn!
Write a short bio about a famous or succesful person from your country. Include as many details about why he/she is famous or successful as you can.


Think about it! Success & leadership


Who are some of the most succesful people in your country? Have you ever had to lead a team? How did you do? What leadership qualities do you think you have? Which ones would you like to have? Have you ever had to motivate someone or persuade a group of people to do something? How did you do? Are you good at dealing with people? In what ways? Are you good at adapting to changing circumstances? Give examples. How would you define success? How do you measure success? Who is the most successful person you know? Is success important to you? Why? Why not? What part does luck play in success? Does success make you happy? What kind of success do you want in the future?

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