IELTS Cue Card Sample 421 - A friend who you think is a good leader

IELTS Speaking Part 2: IELTS Cue Card/ Candidate Task Card.

Talk about a friend who you think is a good leader.

You should say:

  • who is he /she
  • what he/ she does
  • how you met him /her

And explain why you think he/she is a good leader.

Model Answer:
A ‘good leader’.  That’s quite a philosophical concept!  I can think of a friend who I think is a brilliant leader.  I’m going to tell you all about her.  Who she is, what she does, how I come to know her, but most importantly what it is about her approach that I think makes her a great leader.

So this is a friend of mine I was at school with.  After finishing our education with both went in different directions, and I didn’t see her again for thirty years when we met up again completely by chance in a different city where we were both now living.  It’s actually quite hard to describe ‘what she does’ because that is part of her style, she does lots of different things, and it seems wrong somehow to pigeon hole her with just one activity  She makes a living through running her own business making specially decorated biscuits which she supplies by mail order.  But she is the sort of person who always has a multitude of things on the go at any one time.  She is involved in many sports clubs, on the organising committee for the local scouts (a national youth organisation) - including arranging an annual Guy Fawkes’ Night bonfire and firework display for many years which is their main fundraising event; and on top of that she is always initiating new – to me ambitious – projects like holding a huge birthday party or suggesting an outing further afield.

What makes this friend a good leader is hard to pinpoint.  I don’t think it is any one thing, it is rather a combination of positive characteristics.  She is very energetic, so prepared to work hard to get things done.  She is optimistic, inclined to see opportunities and possibilities where other people might be put off by potential problems.  This energy and optimism engage other people.  You can be confident if you invest time and energy in supporting her ideas they will happen, it won’t be a waste of time.  She is also incredibly well organised, with an attention to detail.  This is important for morale!  It means that if you turn up in the pouring rain to I don’t know, build a bonfire or erect a tent, she will have thought of things that make it fun.   You will find a gas bottle fuelled urn of bubbling hot water to make tea to keep you going, or maybe at a certain time a mass order of scalding hot chips, wrapped in paper from the local chip shop will appear as if by magic to keep everyone going for a couple more hours.  She has an ability to network, which means if one of her projects require some particular expertise she’ll almost inevitably know someone who knows someone that will get it done for free.  It is inspiring to be involved in her projects, you get a great sense of satisfaction working together as part of a team, confident that the person driving it all forwards knows what needs to be done, and that it will be enjoyable along the way.  When whatever project it is has finished, she always remembers to thank you and let you know for example how much money was raised, or how many people attended.  It is quite a skill.

Leadership is not easy.  A good leader in my view inspires and motivates others to do their best, rather than tells people what to do.  By believing in you, they can help you believe in yourself, and then everyone together achieves far more than they ever could on their own, and probably a great deal more than they thought possible at the outset…. If only my managers and bosses in the workplace had such good leadership skills I think I’d get a lot more done!

[ Written by - Lucy Marris:  Careers Adviser (UK), TEFL teacher (Vietnam) ]

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