People with unique personalities and the potential to influence those around them appear every once in a while. However, people who truly stand out by making a difference as individuals and leaders are few and far between. These are people or leaders in history that you can easily count on your fingers.
Some leaders rose to prominence due to their determination to pursue a dream despite adversity, only to achieve such incredible feats, people remember for long after their deaths. Others stood firm in their convictions and demonstrated for the rights of others, even if it meant risking their freedom and even their lives.
Their natural ability to empower and encourage people to act in significant ways and eventually transform the world makes some leaders truly revered long after their deaths. Here, we will be looking at three such inspirational leaders and how they became so loved and revered.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
With all that has happened in the country over the last year regarding the rise of the BLM movement, now is perhaps a great time to revisit the struggle and accomplishments of arguably the most significant civil rights activist/leader in history: Martin Luther King, Jr.
Martin Luther King employed several strategies to develop and lead a movement critical to the United States’ success in abolishing legal segregation. He was a leader who put others before himself, i.e., a servant leader. However, there were occasions where his leadership style could qualify as transformational or authoritarian. In other words, he could adapt his leadership style if there was a need for it.
King was primarily a master of the art of Charisma leadership in capturing the hearts and minds of the American public and building a worldwide following.
His “I Have a Dream” speech raised awareness and concern about civil rights in the United States. This speech won the hearts and minds of his supporters, which is an essential lesson for leaders. Almost everyone who heard him got on board.
His speech touched the hearts and minds of the public, and it did it with such force that it still resonates today.
Martin Luther King’s life served as a textbook for people aspiring to become leaders. One of the most important lessons is that change requires a disruption of the existing status quo. It stands true even today.
In British-ruled India, Mahatma Gandhi was the most prominent leader in the independence movement. India’s freedom struggle leader achieved incredible milestones through nonviolent civil disobedience, inspiring millions of people worldwide.
Gandhi’s moral significance was equally as significant as his role in liberating India, and global leaders, researchers, philosophers, and even businesses have inspired him.
He struggled peacefully and with ahinsa, or nonviolence, in mind. Nonviolence was his leadership philosophy. He firmly believed that the truth—and only the truth—would triumph, and he could bring independence to India without killing a single person. Gandhi’s leadership style was a mix of the directive and charismatic leadership styles.
He demonstrated his hostility to the British through civil disobedience, boycotts of foreign goods, and other means. The British ultimately ended up leaving India, and Gandhi became the face of the nation.
Winston Churchill shined in the face of adversity, which is the most crucial time for a leader to demonstrate their actual worth. During World War II, he served as Prime Minister and leader of the United Kingdom.
Churchill was an amalgam of the top leadership styles; charismatic leadership, participative leadership, servant leadership, directive leadership, transformational leadership, and task-oriented leadership. He was a capable leader and a sensitive individual, but his greatest triumph was motivating others to fight the Nazis. His tenacity, resilience, and patriotic loyalty inspired the British to “keep buggering on” and win the war with the aid of the Allies.
Winston Churchill delivered when his nation needed him the most, and owing to his strong leadership; he became part of history books the world over.
Churchill used a variety of leadership styles. He was mainly collaborative when it came to working with other allied international leaders. His public leadership image, on the other hand, was more transformative. His success centered on fostering motivation, morale, and a distinct sense of self. These successful values and behaviors were his leadership philosophy.
Great leaders come from a variety of backgrounds and rarely take a predefined path to become a leader. Almost every successful leader has faced challenges and setbacks along the road. The details of three such inspirational leaders, what they accomplished, and how they achieved above inspire the next generation of great leaders! For many, this is what defines their leadership style and motivates them to accomplish their goals.
One of the Top 100 Coaches, and Founder and CEO of Best Practice Institute, partner to Newsweek on America’s Most Loved Workplaces, and the author of more than 10 books on best practices in leadership and management, including Change Champion’s Field Guide, In Great Company, and Best Practices in Talent Management. Thought leaders and executives voted him as one of Global Gurus Top 10 Organizational Culture thinkers worldwide.