How to Write a Classification Essay in Leadership Studies: Step by Step Instruction for Students

Writing guide
Posted on September 28, 2020

Classification is one of the skills that we begin to acquire in early childhood. So, the child learns to classify his toys according to size or purpose — and he puts the big toys in big boxes, and collects the small parts into small boxes, respectively. Later, the child learns to classify geometric shapes by shape and color, and as our brains develop, classification and sorting skills become more powerful.

Studying at a college or university is another reason to strengthen your classification skills and train your brain for more complex tasks. For example, write an essay classification for leadership sciences. This may sound rather complicated, because for now you may not have an idea of what you will write and what you will need to classify, but this guide will help you to cope with this task and put all the necessary information into shelves in your head.

How to Write a Classification Essay in Leadership Studies – Let’s Start From the Beginning

So, in order for you to be able to complete this task and get a high mark, we need to start from the very beginning and move in a logical order. First of all, let’s understand what a classification essay is and what features it has.

Classification essay is one of the types of academic papers when a student needs to choose an object of study, divide it into categories and classify it according to a certain attribute. So that you can immediately understand how this happens in practice, just look at the possible topics for an essay on leadership studies and you will understand where you need to move.

  • Types of Leaders and Leader Models;
  • Classification of Leadership Theories;
  • Classification of Theory of Personality Qualities;
  • Behavioral Theories of Leadership;
  • Situational Theories of Leadership;
  • The Concept of Three Leadership Styles
  • Classification of Differences between a Manager and a Leader.

Note! Next, we will give you an example of an essay on the last of these topics.
However, it is not enough just to find common ground and start the classification. You will have to explain why this feature is significant, and the classification according to it can be useful for the further development of scientific knowledge. And therefore, you will have to look at classification approaches from different angles, look for weaknesses and gaps, and offer your own ways to classify certain concepts or phenomena according to a sign that you consider to be critical.

Therefore, the most important thing you can do to make your life as easy as possible when completing this task is either to choose the topic correctly or also correctly approach the topic that the professor has appointed you with his willful decision.

Topic Selection Specifics

So, let’s look at two possible options. If you have the right to choose a theme yourself, then we recommend choosing what is easily visualized in your head. For example, it may be something that you recently studied at a lecture, and that you still remember well enough and can immediately imagine a ‘skeleton for classification’. However, here you also need to remember a few rules.

  • Try not to choose too broad a topic, otherwise, you will get too many criteria for classification – and there is a risk of confusion and loss of thought.
  • The same goes for too narrow a topic – otherwise, you will get one or two criteria, and give the impression that you simply did not want to go into details.
  • Try to make an effort to find a topic that you really like and which is as specific and understandable as possible.

Hint! To find the right topic, start with a specific area of leadership, such as management styles. And you already have a certain framework, that is, you will need to look for a topic and then scientific materials within them. Next, look at what recent studies have been written as part of your question, try to highlight thesis statements from the most recent and discussed studies. This will help you not only formulate a topic but also immediately come up with a thesis statement based on real scientific data.

If the professor himself distributed the topics between the students, well, you have to come to terms with what you got. At the very least, this has already saved you from an independent search for topics, so that you can immediately go on to research, collect materials, and write your paper. Let us do it too.

A Preliminary Study of Your Topic

So, before you take active steps and even more so write something, you need to delve into the topics that you will study. We can say that this will be a preliminary acquaintance with the topic and an additional opportunity to organize information in your head. Therefore, if the topic of your future essay is not familiar to you, we recommend that you start by reading the literature on the issue that you have to explore.

And this is best to start with books or textbooks – as a rule, the authors give information in a rather concise form, but this is enough to get a first impression of the subject matter, the object of your future classification, and move on to a deeper study.

Now that you have understood the preliminary point, you can move on and start looking for more specific sources that will help you with your classification. Hint! Look for scientific articles where attempts have already been made to classify any concepts or theories. Firstly, you will see how professional authors and scientists do this, and secondly, you will be able to get valuable insights about existing gaps in scientific knowledge.

Collection of Relevant Materials

When you got the first idea that you need to research, classify and justify the importance and correctness of your approach, it’s time to collect material that will relate directly to your topic. And it is necessary to work correctly with scientific sources, otherwise, you will simply get lost and get confused in a huge amount of information, plus you will have to constantly return to each of the sources to check the correctness and relevance of the information. Therefore, here is a step-by-step plan for working with scientific materials for writing a classification essay on leadership studies.

  1. Go back to the requirements that your professor gave you and specify the sources of which year are allowed for your study. For example, a professor may say that you can use any sources from 2015 to today.
  2. Go to Google Scholar and immediately set filters so that you can only get started with the right sources.
  3. Next, find a minimum of five articles that are most relevant to your subject.
  4. Read each article fluently and filter it again if necessary – it is possible that you will understand that a certain article is not suitable for you even after a quick look.
  5. Then, read each article carefully and write down the main thoughts from each article with the title, author, and page on which a specific thought was voiced. You will need these developments to formulate your thesis statement.

Planning and Writing a Draft

At the moment, you already have enough information. Now you need to do the most important thing – to find several criteria for classification and justify why such an approach has a right to exist. The ideal number of criteria is three – they will correspond to the three paragraphs of your essay.
The skeleton of your essay classification will look something like this.

  • Introduction
    • Introductory sentence
    • An intriguing proposal – is a very hook that makes the reader feel interested in what will happen next.
    • Thesis statement
    • Smooth transition to the main part
  • The main part – The first, second and third paragraph
    • Description of the criteria you will use
    • The classification of a phenomenon according to this criterion
    • Importance and practical applicability
    • Brief conclusion for each paragraph
  • Conclusion
    • A smooth reminder of the main idea of your essay
    • Repetition of a paraphrased thesis
    • A brief description of the results of the classification and its significance.

Writing Process and Examples

So, you already have all the necessary material, plus a plan that tells you what to write, sentence by sentence. We also decided to add an example classification of essays on the topic Classification of differences between a manager and a leader.


There is a tendency in modern scientific literature to distinguish between the concepts of ‘manager’ and ‘leader’. To be consistent, the distinction between a manager and a leader runs along the lines of formal and informal. Being a ‘top link’ does not mean automatically being a leader. One can occupy the first position in the organization, but not be a leader in it. An effective manager is not necessarily an effective leader and vice versa. Their main characteristics are in different dimensions, but it is possible to identify three main criteria for classifying the differences between these two types of roles in the organization.

Main Part

The first criterion for classifying the differences between managers and leaders is how each of them relates to work and to their employees. A manager is a person who directs the work of others and is personally responsible for its results. A good manager brings order and consistency to the work being done. He builds his interaction with subordinates more on the facts and in the framework of the established goals. The leader inspires people and instills enthusiasm in the workers, conveying to them their vision of the future and helping them to adapt to the new, to go through the stage of change.

If we take the organization’s goals as a criterion for classifying the differences between a leader and a manager, then managers tend to be passive in relation to goals. Most often, they are necessarily guided by someone’s set goals and practically do not use them to make changes. Leaders, on the contrary, set their goals and use them to change people’s attitudes to business.

And as a third criterion for classifying differences, it is necessary to consider the sources of power of managers and true leaders. The manager in his influence on the work of subordinates relies on the official, organizational basis of power (the right to power, the right to make decisions, the right to remuneration, the power of communications, the power over resources, the power of information). Leaders rely more on the support, trust, respect and even love of their subordinates for competence and personal qualities. If managers rely on the organizational basis of power, then leaders on a personal basis (expert power, the power of example). Managers receive their power from higher leadership and leaders from followers. Leaders inspire people, relationships are built on trust.


Not all managers in an organization can be leaders, just like not all leaders are managers. But in modern conditions, an increasing number of managers are realizing the need for leadership qualities, since only in this way it will be possible to develop creativity and introduce innovations, find the best ways to achieve planned goals, to include all employees in these processes. Therefore, leadership is an essential part of the roles that managers perform in the 21st century.

A Few Final Words Before You Leave

So, your composition is almost completely ready. However, do not rush to send it to your professor. It would be better if you allow yourself a little distraction from this task and turn your attention to other things. Be sure to check your essay after a while – most likely, you will immediately notice minor flaws and can quickly fix them. Plus, use technology to test and improve readability – Grammarly and Hemingway apps. And of course, do not forget to return to the original requirements for the academic style and once again check your work.

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