10 Greatest Leaders of all Time

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Leadership is something that people are born with. It is an inherent charm and it doesn’t hide even if you want to hide it. There is a leader amongst us and he or she is the one that leads other people to great things by inspiring and motivating people to do good deeds. Leadership has been described as “a process of social influence in which one person can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task”. This way a leader can decide what work goes in and goes out. Good leaders in history have left a mark in walks of life. But great leaders, they’re different. Great leaders have the ability to make each and every individual re-think their life decisions and choices by merely living by good principles.

A leader cannot preach kindness and be unkind. A leader has to live by his words and practice what he preaches. Almost every great leader had some unique streak in them which made them different from the others. This is one reason why leadership cannot comply with or be understood wholly by its definitions. No matter who the leader is, there are some traits or qualities that are common to all. These traits are determination, patience, hard work, will, adaptation to change etc. These qualities make for a great leader. The following is a list of Top 10 Greatest Leaders of all Time –

10. Winston Churchill


The Right Honorable Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill was a prolific orator, a leader, a British statesman and he served as the Prime Minister of The Great Britain for two terms. He was born in 1874 in Marlborough, England. Since childhood, he was extremely smart but he was better known for his trouble-making antics. In 1887 he was accepted in the prestigious Harrow School where he learnt all the military tactics. He served as the Prime Minister of The Great Britain from 1940 to 1945, which is the most of World War 2 and again from 1951 to 1955. He was famously known for leading The United Kingdom into war against the German Nazis even when the general morale of the public was down. His excellent oratory skills and determination to win, fearlessness and his love towards his motherland is something that every great leader yearns for.

9. Napoleon Bonaparte


Napoleon Bonaparte, nee Napoleon Buonaparte was a military leader who was famous for his risk taking abilities as a leader. He was born in an Italian noble family. He was educated at a military school and was the commander of the French army in Italy. He conquered almost all of Europe with his military might. But it was not an easy task to lead a military in those days as everyone’s minds were fickle and changed in a blink. He was of a short stature but of great deeds. He became the Emperor of France 1804 and continued his reign till 1815. Napoleon Bonaparte always dreamed big but achieved bigger. He lead the team instead of just asking them to move ahead and he knew how to manage his anger and time.

8. Che Guevara


Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara was born in Argentina in 1928 in a well-off family with aristocratic roots. He finished studying in a medical school in 1948. In 1952, he and his friend Alberto Granado decided to take a trip across Latin America on his motorbike. They voyaged across almost all of Latin America and saw the poverty and misery that was wide-spread. He traveled and met all kinds of people and decided that he needed to help them. He started a revolution in Cuba and went on to lead all of Latin America into a civil war. The special quality that Che had as a leader was his connection to the people. He talked to them and knew what they needed. He was extremely kind and helping and determinate. His motto still lives on today – Hasta la Victoria siempre. Until victory, always.

7. George Washington

George washington

George Washington was born in 1732 in Virginia. It is known that from age seven to fifteen, George was home schooled and studied with the local church sexton and later a schoolmaster in practical math, geography, Latin and the English classics. Washington served as a general and commander-in-chief of the colonial armies during the American Revolution, and later became the first president of the United States, serving from 1789 to 1797. He shaped America at its birth and of course, it was no easy job. He lead various states to become unified into the United States of America. In addition to being a great military leader, he was also an excellent statesman and he was able to guide the new found republic in its first view years of existence. He was incredibly tough, persistent and organized. He knew what his priorities were and managed them well.

6.  General Mao


Mao Zedong was born in 1873 in Hunan province of China.  Mao received education only till he was 8 years old. By the time he was 13, he was working full time on the fields, growing restless and ambitious. His philosophies were deeply rooted in Marxism. He was the leader of the Chinese Revolution and the founding father of the People’s Republic of China. He transformed the economy of China into one of the major industrialized economies of the world. Because of him, China is a world power and a potent rival to the dominant United States of America. Although some of his actions are deeply revered, he is considered as a great leader because of his great orator skills, self-confidence and hard-work.

5. Nelson Mandela


Nelson Mandela was born in 1918 in South Africa. He was born in a very small community to which, his father served as a chief. Mandela was actively involved in the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa in his 20s. For 20 years, he directed a campaign of peaceful, non-violent defiance against the South African government and its racist policies. Mandela was imprisoned in South Africa from 1964-82. During the period of his imprisonment his public reputation grew. Upon his release from prison, he was considered the most prominent leader in black South Africa and he was a strong symbol of resistance in the anti-apartheid movement. Nelson Mandela became South Africa’s president in 1994. His main leadership qualities characteristics were his determination, persistence, focus and will.

4. Adolf Hitler


Many may argue the inclusion of Adolf Hitler in the list of world’s greatest leader. But one must know that nowhere is it mentioned that leadership is always positive. Leadership, as a characteristic, is neutral. It is people who make it positive of negative. Adolf Hitler was born in 1889 in Germany. He was of the thought that Germany was the greatest country in the world and that it should rule over the world. His crass mentality was that the Aryan race should wipe out the ‘evil Jews’ off the face of this world. After becoming the chancellor of Germany in 1933, he single-handedly managed the greatest economic and military expansions the world has ever seen. He successfully invaded more than 10 countries with his brilliant strategy and meticulous planning. His oratory skills, propaganda and planning made him a leader that only a few other have become.

3. Martin Luther King Jr.


Martin Luther King Jr. was born in 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia. He was a clergy in the Ebeneezer Baptist Church. He was also an activist and a leader in the Civil Rights Movement in The United States of America in the 1960s. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his outstanding work for racial inequality  with non-violent measures in USA. Through his activism, he played a pivotal role in ending the legal segregation of African-American citizens in the South and other areas of the nation. He continues to be remembered as one of the most lauded African-American leaders in history, often referenced by his 1963 speech, “I Have a Dream”. Dr. King was best known for his courage, perseverance, and non-violent approach to forcing change. His inspiration to this was Mahatma Gandhi.

2. Mahatma Gandhi


This brings us to the man who inspired Martin Luther King Jr, Gandhi. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, better known as Mahatma Gandhi, was born an ordinary boy who went on to change the world. He was born in 1869 in Gujarat India. He studied law in London and went on to work in South Africa where he became a part of the movement against the apartheid. When he was there, he realized that he could help his own country in her struggle towards freedom from the colonial rule. He came back to India and started leading masses of people against the British. But the only thing different from other freedom fighters was that he adopted the way of non-violence. He upheld non-violence and with civil disobedience movement and organizing boycotts against British institutions, he was able to lead India to her freedom in 1947. His main characteristics were resilience, knowledge, people-skills, motivational approach and leading by example.

1. Abraham Lincoln


Abraham Lincoln was born in 1809 in Kentucky, USA. His story from being a humble man to holding the highest office of the nation is something that everyone should learn from. Abraham Lincoln is regarded as one of America’s greatest heroes due to both his incredible impact on the nation and his unique appeal. His human nature, humane personality and humility got him love and admiration like no other. His work for the emancipation of slavery was ground-breaking. He contested the elections many times but lost. And yet, he didn’t give up until he actually became the President. He gave many inspiring addresses to the people, including the famous Gettysburg address. His most notable characteristics were honesty, persistence, determination and courage.

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