Meet 10 women & men who are great leadership examples
them to learn important traits of a good leader ...
... and to see
different examples of leadership styles
Model things you can use from
each of them to become a leader yourself
Examples of Leadership Are Found Everywhere!
Not all great leaders are born;
most of us who want to be better leaders need to learn how to go about it (see
also What Makes a Good Leader - The Traits of a Good Leader
One of the
best ways to learn is by studying examples of leadership and trying to discern
what makes those leaders successful.
Although they may be, great leaders
are not necessarily leaders of countries or in charge of big corporations /
A leader can also be a Sunday school teacher, a scout
leader, a community leader, a charity organizer, a person in middle management,
or a shift worker. The leadership position can be an official one, or one that
develops naturally due to the situation, or one that's due to innate abilities.
And, if you've ever seen a loving, but efficient single mother (or: father)
with a couple of kids, you know that great leaders exist on every level.
Let's look at some famous leaders and briefly examine examples of leadership
Leadership Examples ... no. 1:
Karamchand Gandhi (1869-1948) - who was and still is referred to by
the honorific Mahatma (meaning 'Great Spirit') is often held up as
one of the great leadership examples.
He was an Indian lawyer
who, using total nonviolence (Indian: 'ahimsa'), honesty and civil
disobedience led his country to freedom from one biggest superpowers
of that time, the British Empire.
From him we can learn
important qualities like determination, humility, and, of course,
honesty and non-violence. He didn't have to brow beat people into
supporting him. He didn't have to resort to outlandish promises or
dishonesty. Gandhi simply held to his beliefs and because of his
authentic nature, people were drawn to him and decided to support
him.Leadership Examples ... no. 2:
Indra Nooyi (full name: Indra Krishnamurthy Nooyi, born 1955) is
another of the great leadership examples. She is the CEO of PepsiCo,
presides over 185,000 employees and has reinvented this giant
company in a time when many others are struggling.
often mentioned as one of the 10 most powerful women in business.
Although she has a powerful job, she cares about all people and
the planet. She is determined to make PepsiCo a "green company" and
make the switch from a junk food company to one that offers healthy
Because of her passion and commitment to her ideals,
she is an inspiration and great leader that earns a lot of respect.
Love and Passion!
From these two examples of
leadership, we can learn one important common trait. These leaders
are passionate about their causes and beliefs.
To be a really
good leader, you need to be passionate, and passion is actually a
form of love.
Thus, there is no getting around it - love is
the most important and powerful of all the traits of a good leader.
The really great spiritual leaders (founders of religions) over time
have displayed this trait, too.
You may not be in a position
to change a huge company, or the world, but you can start where you
are and pour your love and passion into your beliefs. When you do
that, you are being authentic and it will draw like minded
supporters to you.Leadership Examples ... no. 3:
Bezos (full name: Jeffrey Preston Bezos, born 1964) is the
founder of Amazon, the largest retailer on the Internet.
He is considered a true internet pioneer and leader in the
In an interview with U.S. News, he attributes his success to
keeping an eye on his long term goal and ignoring the critics who
tried to distract him along the way. Because of his vision and
willingness to fail during the learning process, he drew the right
kind of people into his organization that helped him create the
giant company that Amazon has become today.
examples like this we learn how important it is to keep your eye on
the end goal - and to allow yourself and others to fail. A leader
with optimistic determination inspires confidence and loyalty among
A great leader knows how to set the proper
goals and is determined to achieve them. He may not know the certain
path to take, and is quite willing to fail trying to figure it out,
knowing success will come eventually.
Leadership Examples ... no. 4:
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) is remembered as a great leader
today. He was passionate about the African-American civil
rights cause, plus about ending poverty. Like Mahatma Gandhi
he advocated non-violence. In 1986 the third Monday of January
each year was established as a U.S. national holiday called
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
Like many other leadership
examples, he was passionate about his beliefs and stood up for
them in a nonviolent way. However, the thing that made King
such a great leader was his ability to inspire people to take
action and join his cause. His "I Have a Dream" speech in 1963
is world famous.
This drives home the importance of learning
how to inspire and influence people in order to lead. You can be
passionate and have great visions for the future, but if you do not
know how to inspire people, you may never gain the followers you
need - whether it is political backers or shift workers.
is a more practical aspect of being a great leader since many of us
are not born with the ability to be a great communicator. Luckily,
this is a skill that can be learned whether you intend to give
speeches or just want to communicate better with your group.
Leadership Examples ... no. 5:
prime minister for an unprecedented three terms from 1979 to
1990 Margaret Thatcher (full name: Margaret Hilda Thatcher,
Baroness Thatcher, née Roberts; born 1925) was a forceful
leader with an ideology that more or less matched American
president Ronald Reagan (1911-2004) - who was also one of her
Her deeply conservative style of
leadership was so forceful she earned the 'title' of 'Iron
Lady' and had a specific term named after her - 'Thatcherism',
which referred to both her uncompromising focus on achieving
political goals and her personal prim, hard nosed style and
unflinching ethics. No matter what kind of opposition she
encountered she always 'stuck to her guns'.
From the 'Iron
Lady' of Great Britain we might learn a lesson about not being one
of those which-ever-way-the-wind-blows kinds of leaders, and not
compromising too much, but rather sticking to our ideals - even in
the face of opposition.
Leadership Examples ...
John F. Kennedy
asked to think of a great leader in American history, many
people automatically think of President John F. Kennedy (full
name: John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy, 1917-1963).
Because of his charismatic personality and commitment to his
vision, he attracted many followers to him and Americans still
consider him one of their most popular presidents, ever.
everyone can be a leader like Kennedy because natural leadership and
charisma is not something that can be learned faked. You have it or
However, examples of leadership like John F.
Kennedy - born leaders - are important for groups and corporations
to learn from, anyway. The shining examples of natural born leaders
can teach us about the power of charisma - and having a leader with
great personal magnetism to act as a bridge between the varied
people and groups who have a vested interest in the goings on of an
organization is priceless.
That being said, most of
Makes a Good Leader? - The Traits of a Good Leader
can actually be
taught and learned. Leadership Examples ... no. 7:
leadership examples aren't so dependent upon charisma. Take
Bill Gates (full name: William Henry "Bill" Gates III, born
1955) for instance. He founded Microsoft (with Paul Allen) and
in 1987, at the tender age of 31, he was named the world's
youngest self-made billionaire. He has been one of the world's
richest men ever since.
Although his business methods
have been criticised as being monopolistic (and his company has received
the concurring judgement of the courts on the matter as well) he is
not only a great philanthropist, but also one of the greatest
business leaders of our time. However ... he is certainly not known
for having a magnetic personality.
Instead, he exudes an air
of authority, confidence, expertise and credibility. He has kept his
eye on the future of his industry and has led his company to the
From him we can learn how to command respect and lead
others when we come from a position of expertise and authority.
Find Your Own Path!
The leadership examples of Kennedy and Gates are about as
opposite as can be, yet they are both considered to be among
the greatest leaders in modern times.
This can inspire
us and help us realize we can find our own path.
do need the love, passion and integrity, but you don't have to be
born with great looks or a winning personality in order to become a
Leadership Examples ...
considering examples of leadership, you might not immediately
consider Martha Stewart (full name: Martha Helen Stewart, née
Kostyra; born 1941) because she is often seen as a
controversial figure with a stern personality. Also, she has
been in prison (in 2004) for lying to investigators about a
stock sale. But she is one of those driven people who just
won't stay down.
She is an American television host,
author, magazine publisher and all round business magnate, so
there is no denying she is an excellent business leader and
she has been able to weather many storms in her career and
still come out on top.
Much of her
success can probably be attributed to her attitude of 'never give
up' plus her leadership style that is strict and demanding. She
knows what she wants and expects full effort from her staff and
associates. And, as mentioned, she won't stay down.
Leadership Examples ... no. 9:
Disney (full name: Walter Elias "Walt" Disney, 1901-1966),
American entrepreneur, entertainer, producer, film director,
screenwriter, voice actor, animator, philanthropist and
creator of Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and much more, is another
of the non-typical leadership examples.
He followed his
passion and grew a simple comic strip to a global corporation
that earns more than $35 billion per year today.
His driving force was a desire to share art and
fun with people around the world. He indulged in his passion and
fuelled it with his imagination to believe that anything is
From him we can learn the importance of following
our dreams and letting our enthusiasm and belief lead others into
achieving great things. And yes, almost anything IS indeed possible!
Leadership Examples ... no. 10:
D. Rockefeller (full name: John Davison Rockefeller,
1839-1937) was a true leader in every sense of the word.
Not only did he revolutionize the petroleum industry and
become an oil magnate and one of the richest people in the
world, he also was one of the world's greatest
Some have calculated
Rockefeller to be the richest person in history when adjustments are
made for inflation. However, he didn't use his vast wealth for
personal gain only. He used it to shape the world and lead others to
a better life.
Rockefeller founded universities, supported
religious causes, and backed medical research to eradicate diseases
of his day. He touched many lives because of his desire to make the
world a better place.
His leadership example teaches us being
a great leader is about more than just taking a company to the top
of the charts, it's about making life better for those who believe
Final Words: Use Modeling
There are many great leadership
examples you can learn other useful tidbits from.
choose a person you admire ... be that a successful
politician, a CEO, a school soccer team coach or a single mom,
and study the qualities that make her or him great.
Modeling is one of the
roads to success. If someone else has success following a certain
path, if you follow that path, you are more likely to have success
Therefore, do spend some time reading about examples
of leadership, reflect upon them and apply their traits to your own
life. Whether you go on to lead a big company, a department, a group
of kids in a sports club or you simply end up leading just yourself,
you can still become a great leader, and both you and the world will
be the better for it!
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