Leadership is all about bringing people together and help them rise above their misery. The 10 Best Inspirational Leaders mentioned in this article have shaped the political, spiritual, economic, and social spectrum with their vision.
From business to politics and spirituality to knowledge, the importance of leadership can’t be ignored. From making people aware of their rights and creating opportunities for business and employment, every aspect of society dwells upon inspirational leaders for the right path. Leaders show them how to avail themselves opportunities, fight for their basic requirements and peace.
Here is a list of 10 Best Inspirational Leaders to Admire.
1. Nelson Mandela: A Figure of Tolerance
Not even in your worst nightmare can you imagine yourself confined in jail for 27 years. But it was the endurance of Nelson Mandela that he stood, fought, and won for the cause of equality.
Born on July 1918 in Transkei, South Africa, he inherited leadership qualities from his father, a local chief, and councilor to the Thembu monarch. Known as a troublemaker since his early life, Mandela completed his college education and became a lawyer.
In 1944, he joined African National Congress (ANC) and started opposing the brutal policies of Apartheid. As a youth leader, he encouraged people to voice against discrimination based on color and creed. His anti-apartheid activities were a problem for the oppressing government. Eventually, he was arrested in December 1956 and kept on trial for around a decade.
After numerous bans and tortures, he was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1964. But the punishment didn’t silence him. He received immense support from the nation’s Black community. With his imprisonment, the foreign media started disseminating the news of the Apartheid’s brutality.
Finally, after a long period of negotiations, Mandela was released, and also Apartheid ended. In April 1994, after the general elections, Nelson Mandela was sworn in as the president. His endless sacrifices and fight against Apartheid resulted in the establishment of an independent democracy. He received Nobel Prize for Peace in 1993.
Mandela was among those inspirational leaders who devoted their lives to the betterment of humanity in human history. You can learn some leadership skills from him, like:
- Be patient in unfavorable circumstances.
- Any effort for a noble cause never gets wasted.
- Always follow your beliefs,
- Leadership means joining people for a better result.
- Great leaders never surrender to oppression.
2. Stephen Hawking: Imagination Beyond Disability
The idea of confining you to a wheelchair for the rest of the life might give you a chill to your bone. But physicist, cosmologist, and author Stephen Hawking never let his disability overshadow his ambitions. He was among those inspirational leaders who defied nature with their courage.
In 1963, at the age of 21, he was diagnosed with motor neuron disease (MND), and doctors declared a life expectancy of a maximum of two years. Hawking not only proved them wrong but continued his scientific discoveries for the next five decades. Confined to a wheelchair, he ruled the science world and was always praised for his intellect.
He is one of those inspirational leaders that never let disability confine their thinking and learning. Hawking’s theory of black holes influenced millions of researchers and scholars across the world. He was also known for his sense of humor.
His extremely popular book, ” A Brief History of Time,” presented difficult scientific theories in a simple language. You can learn inspirational leadership qualities from him like:
- Disability cannot disable your dreams.
- Always question the old ideas and bring new solutions.
- Never be a victim of circumstances.
- Be curious.
- Have a sense of humor.
Follow Top 5 Inspirational Stories about Hard Times for a positive approach towards life.
3. Mother Teresa: Portrayal of Kindness
- You can change society if you want.
- Good work is always appreciated.
- Service doesn’t need resources, and it needs devotion and kindness.
- Be humble but straightforward.
- Love is the only universal language that connects diverse people.
The above inspirational leaders’ qualities were inseparable from the servant-leader, portrayal of kindness: Mother Teresa. She was a hope to the beggars, lepers, and homeless. Her devotion to humanity conferred her the title of Saint Teresa of Calcutta.
Crossing the Mediterranean Sea in her youth to serve humanity, she reached India in 1929 and made this beautiful country her home. She served the needy and sick people through the Catholic Trust and won the 1979 Nobel Peace Prize for her humanitarian efforts.
She was a living legend and one of the most admired inspirational leaders, who continued to serve people without hesitation. She fought leprosy and provided hope to diseased people. Her dedication still inspires millions of people across the world.
4. Steve Jobs: Out of the Box Thinking
Leaders often inspire people with out-of-the-box ideas. Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple, was one of the inspirational leaders that revolutionized business and communication.
A college dropout inclined towards Buddhism, Steve Jobs had dreams that sound so unreal that no one took him seriously for his computing ideas. But he had a sharp business sense that revolutionized the personal computing experience worldwide after a series of failures.
He is always admired for his business skills, demonstrating the vibrant traits of leadership. He inspired employees to develop Macintosh and establishing the leading brand: Apple.
True business leaders recognize the potential of their employees. Steve inspired his employees to realize some out-of-the-box ideas. iPhone, iTunes, iPad, iPod, and several other quality products are the icons of his creativity.
You can learn some leadership qualities of Steve Jobs, like:
- Stay focused and make long-term goals.
- Be innovative.
- Invent and Inspire.
- Hire a team of open-minded people.
- Respect customers and employees.
As one of the most admired inspirational leaders, Steve Jobs is known for inventing the most user-friendly personal computing platform. He was focused on delivering high-quality products to the consumers, inspiring many people in the computer industry.
5. Oprah Winfrey: A Epitome of Positivity
American television personality, actress, and a successful entrepreneur, Ophra Winfrey is a household name in America and beyond. Being the host of the Oprah Winfrey Show, she has changed the personal talk show structure. Her popularity made her one of the best inspirational leaders across the world.
Meanwhile, Oprah’s childhood was not normal as her unmarried parents separated just after her birth. Spending her days in an isolated farmhouse, she practiced her acting skills by entertaining farm animals with her acts. She spent her teenage years moving away from her mother and father and finally joined CBS as a news anchor at 19.
But she has been thankful to her father, who taught her discipline, the importance of reading, and self-evaluation that shaped her career. Belonging to a middle-class family, Ophrah never limited her dreams. With numerous Emmy Awards, a successful media empire, and a great fan following, she has become a living legend to inspire millions of people.
She is an active voice of anti-racism, African-American rights and speaks freely on human rights issues. One of the distinct inspirational leaders, she inspires you with leadership qualities, like:
- Have an ability to admit mistakes.
- Never let failure stop you from dreaming.
- Overcome your fear.
- Fight for your rights.
- Be a visionary to realize success.
6. Tenzin Gyatso (Dalai Lama): Protestor With A Cause
Exile, uncertainty, and oppression didn’t cease Tenzin Gyatso’s, the 14th Dalai Lama, voice. He has spent his whole life fighting for the rights of the Tibetan people. One of the most admired inspirational leaders of our times, Dalai Lama, is a spiritual figure with a social cause.
Born in 1935 to a farmer’s family, he was identified as the reincarnation of the 13th Dalai Lama at the age of 2. Completing his formal education with expertise in philosophy, art, literature, astrology, and composition, he eventually became the 14th Dalai Lama in 1959. However, his journey was not easy, as he supported the democratic structure of Tibet.
His move troubled the Chinese government, and he was forced to spend his life in exile. But, he continued his voice in favor of democratic practices and challenged the Chinese intervention. He presented his views on different stages across the globe, including the US National Congress in 1987.
For his non-violence struggle for the liberation of Tibet, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989. He is a spiritual leader who never feared oppression and always remained vocal for justice and liberation. You can also learn some inspiring leadership qualities from him, like:
- Fight for justice and liberation.
- Spirituality is the best mind trainer.
- Have a purpose in life.
- Prepare yourself to face challenges.
- Bravery is the supreme wealth.
7. Jeffrey Bezos: An Opportunity Creator
An artisan weaving handicrafts in a remote Indian village only dreamed of selling it globally until Jeffery Bezos launched Amazon. This e-commerce site provides immense opportunities to millions of buyers and sellers to avail services. One of the worthy inspirational leaders in the business sector, Bezos shows the perfect use of communication to sell.
Leadership qualities sprouted in Bezos when he developed the Dream Institute to promote creativity in his school days. With degrees in electrical engineering and computer science, he started exploring investment possibilities on the internet. In the 1990s, the internet was the new thing that has revolutionized communication and businesses, including e-commerce.
In 1995, with a spontaneous business idea, he established a virtual bookstore known as Amazon. It was an e-commerce sensation, and with time Bezos started selling other goods. Today, Amazon is a leading e-commerce platform with more than $300 billion annual turnovers, and Bezos is one of the inspirational leaders for business revolution.
Bezos started his enterprise with just a simple idea of selling books online. Today, Amazon sells nearly everything. His business sense of purpose is to fortify sellers and to serve buyers. You can feel inspired by Bezos’ leadership qualities, like:
- Never rate any business as small.
- Be tech-savvy.
- Understand the potential of any new thing.
- Be creative and result-oriented.
- Support others to enjoy the benefits equally.
Also, read: 6 Inspiring E-Commerce Success Stories.
8. Angela Merkel: A Distinct Leadership Style
Germany has witnessed an unstable political situation since the World War era. It was the time of the fall of the Berlin wall when one of the inspirational leaders of our times, Angela Merkel, made her debut in politics. With a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry, her political journey is awe-inspiring.
She started her political career as the minister for women and youth after the union of Germany. In 1994, she became the minister of environment and reactor safety. She became popular for her exceptional working culture. She had to face prejudice, during her nomination for the Chancellor, for being a woman.
In 2005, when Merkel was elected Chancellor, it was the victory of her party and the triumph over prejudicial mindset. Since then, she has been continuously working on the issues of Germany and Europe. She has a distinct status in world politics for her role in solving economic and environmental problems.
Our world needs inspirational leaders like her, who are highly educated and able to help people in crises. You can adore her for some distinct leadership qualities, like:
- Ability to make bold decisions.
- Exceptional crisis management.
- Fight for gender equality.
- Use of education on a broad scale.
9. Doris Lessing: Writer of the Victims
The beauty of an author lies in creating such a story where characters survive in our conscience in blood and flesh for vividness. English author and one of the inspirational leaders in literature, Doris Lessing, is known for creating magic through her stories. She sketches the
e struggle, discrimination, and inequality of the 20th-century people on the world platform.
Recipient of the 2007 Nobel Prize for literature, she wrote what she encountered. Born in Persia and raised in England, she has voiced the pain and separation of countless marginalized people.
Her novels have inspired generations as she continued writing about struggle. The Grass is Singing (1950) was her most appreciated novel that later became her identity.
Her presence as one of the decent inspirational leaders for voicing the issues is still stored in her writings. Admire her for her leadership qualities, like:
- Write for a cause.
- Be vocal against discrimination.
- Challenge the stereotype.
- Unending effort.
- Keep doing your job, and the world will listen to it.
10. Barack Obama: An Icon For Change
In search of his biracial identity, a youth actively joined politics and spoke for civil rights issues. A lawyer, author, and politician, Barack Obama is one of the most admired inspirational leaders of our time.
Being the first African-American US President, his identity is not confined to racial attributes as he is known for diplomacy and restoring peace. Obama has always appeared as the best interlocutor and administrator with two consecutive terms in the Presidential Office.
In his entire Presidential tenure, he always tried to make peaceful relations with different countries. For this effort, he was awarded Nobel Peace Prize in 2009.
Obama, as one of the captivating, inspirational leaders, still inspires millions of people across the globe who believe in the power of communication in politics. You can learn some leadership qualities from him, like:
- Be ready to change.
- Have an inclusive attitude.
- Believe in the power of communication.
- Search for the perfect solution.
- Don’t be afraid of taking risks.