Letter of Recommendation
for Leadership

How to write a letter of recommendation for leadership with good examples for different scenarios.

Know what to include in your letter of recommendation, how to format the letter and the type of leadership skills and competencies to focus on.

Illustration of leadership context with text

Take these 4 steps before writing your letter of recommendation for leadership

1. Ask the individual for information on the leadership role they are applying for

Find out about the responsibilities, functions and skill requirements for the leadership role or leadership program you are recommending the individual for. Discuss with them what you should focus on in your letter of recommendation.

2. Request a copy of their resume

This will help you gain a better picture of their academic or professional achievements and their credentials for the leadership role.

3. Make a list of the individuals strengths and skills as they relate to specific leadership role or leadership program

Make a list of the individual's strengths by considering what has impressed you about the individual.

4. Identify examples of when the individual has demonstrated these skills and strengths

Think of examples of when you have witnessed these strengths on display. It is important to support your descriptions with concrete examples.

How to write a letter of recommendation for leadership

Your letter of recommendation should include these 6 components. This will help you to format your letter and guide you on what information to include.

1. Header

Keep it professional by listing the recipient's name, job title, organization and date in the top left of your letter.

2. Salutation

Address the recipient by using  Dear Mr/Mrs/Ms or if you don't have their name then use "to whom it may concern"

3. Introduction

Briefly introduce yourself,  explain your relationship to the applicant and why you are qualified to write this letter. Include the name of the applicant and explain how you know them. State that you are fully recommending them for the leadership role or program.

4. Recommendation

Explain why you are recommending them by describing the applicant's skills, strengths and credentials. Keep it focused on those skills and accomplishments that are relevant to the specific leadership role or program.

5. Examples

Include specific examples and observations to support your description of the applicant's strengths and skills.

6. Closing

In closing your letter of recommendation summarize why you are recommending the applicant and reconfirm your confidence in their leadership abilities. Sign the letter and list your contact details plus your willingness to be contacted if any further information is required.

Letter of recommendation for leadership example - team leader position

In a letter of recommendation for a team leader it is important to highlight the skills that make the candidate the right person for that specific team leader position


Recipient Name

Recipient Title

Recipient Address

Dear Mr/Mrs/Ms

It is with confidence that I recommend Lesley Jones for the position of team leader at your company. During the 2 years that Lesley reported directly to me she consistently demonstrated the key skills and strengths associated with strong team leadership.

In team discussions Lesley would often raise thoughtful points and encourage debate within the group, always valuing and respecting  her colleagues and their input. This resulted in effective and productive communication between team members and a spirit of cooperation in successfully working towards team goals.

Lesley was always willing to provide support and guidance to her colleagues and her enthusiasm and positive attitude acted as strong motivators for the group. In fact I asked her to mentor our new team members, which she did with excellent results.

I could rely on Lesley's good  judgment to make sound decisions regarding the assignments she and the team were tasked with. She is a natural problem-solver who is able to identify and analyze challenges and deliver workable solutions.

Lesley demonstrated integrity and strong values in her personal and professional behavior which translated into a high level of trust between her and other team members. This was particularly evident in the way team members depended on Lesley to act as their spokesperson in liaising with management.

I firmly believe that Lesley has outstanding leadership potential. Her skills and personal qualities coupled with an admirable work ethic ensure that she will excel in a team leader role.

Please do not hesitate to contact me should you require any further information.


Brian Smith

Contact details

Letter of recommendation for leadership - leadership program


Recipient Name

Recipient Title

Recipient Address

Dear Mr/Mrs/Ms

My name is Alison Lang, and it is with full confidence that I recommend Mark Short for the XYZ Leadership Program.  I have know Mark for 4 years, both as a student in my class and as a member of the Student Society which I chair. Additionally Mark has acted as my research assistants over the last year.

Over this period Mark has demonstrated many admirable leadership skills and competencies which I firmly believe make him an excellent candidate for the leadership program.

As a student Mark displays a commendable work ethic that, paired with outstanding critical thinking skills, ensures top academic results. He displays an enthusiasm for learning and an intellectual curiosity that drive him to go far beyond the coursework and to achieve maximum value from his studies.

In group discussions Mark's contributions are always perceptive and insightful. He values and shows respect for the input of others and creates a spirit of debate and collaboration that results in productive and positive learning sessions. 

As a key member of the Student Society, Mark has proven himself to be a tireless volunteer. His commitment and persuasiveness have resulted in increased funding for projects whilst his planning and organizational skills are put to optimal use in developing successful outreach programs.

As a research assistant Mark displays creativity and initiative in dealing with challenges and conceptualizing solutions. He has implemented a number of positive changes to increase the efficiency of some of our processes and has made a significant contribution to our team.

Mark has acted as a mentor to a number of my younger students and his ability and willingness to coach and encourage them has resulted in improved marks and motivation.

Mark is an exceptional young man and it is my firm belief that he will add great value to the leadership program. Please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions, I am happy to provide any further information to strengthen his application.

Kind regards,

Alison Lang

Job Title

Contact details

Leadership skills to highlight in your letter of recommendation

Infographic in blue listing 10 leadership skills

When writing a letter of recommendation for leadership it is important to understand what leadership is and what effective leadership traits and skills are.

Research has attempted to identify traits that are consistently associated with good leadership. These are:

  • energy
  • the desire to lead
  • self-confidence
  • intelligence
  • integrity
  • value-driven
  • commitment

Leadership skills have been broadly listed as:

  • motivational skills
  • communication skills
  • judgment and decision-making skills
  • the ability to influence and persuade
  • problem analysis and resolution
  • innovation and creativity
  • empathy and insight
  • adaptable and flexible
  • developing others
  • critical thinking

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Use these effective adjectives for a letter of recommendation to make the right impact.

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Starting a letter of recommendation

The first paragraph of your letter is essential to establishing the credibility of your recommendation and confirming your enthusiastic recommendation of the applicant.

Starting a Letter of Recommendation

Closing a letter of recommendation

Key to making the right impact with your letter of recommendation is how you close the letter.

Closing a Letter of Recommendation tips and samples

Email requesting letter of recommendation

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