“How can I inspire others to follow my lead?”
Aspiring influencers have been posed with this question since the beginning of time, and those who emerged and ultimately became legendary leaders did so because they were willing to learn from the very best.
Often, the best lessons can be learned from history. All great leaders throughout history share common attributes that not only made them unique but also helped them lead great movements with innovative ideas. These individuals were not necessarily born leaders; they developed their leadership and followed the inspiring example of those that came before them.
We can develop and foster habits of leadership within our lives too. As aspiring leaders, it is critical that we take time to reflect and assess our own perspective, capabilities, and habits.
This is a look of some of the greatest leaders and some of the characteristics that made them great.
“Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other.”
~ Abraham Lincoln
The 16th President of United States, Abraham Lincoln is most celebrated for his role in keeping the nation together during the Civil War and signing the Emancipation Acclamation, which helped to end slavery in the United States.
His leadership was a great example for determination and is a reminder that great leaders must remain persistent, even when others do not believe in your vision as a leader.
“Surround yourself with only people who are going to lift you higher” ~ Oprah Winfrey
During a time when women were not readily embraced in the entertainment industry, Oprah Winfrey overcame humble beginnings to build an empire. She is best known for The Oprah Winfrey Show, which has won multiple Emmy Awards and has been called the most successful daytime TV program in history.
The influence she had on culture by celebrating the success of others is a reminder that great leaders surround themselves with individuals who incorporate their values and are also striving for success.
“A company shouldn’t get addicted to being shiny, because shiny doesn’t last” ~ Jeff Bezos
Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon.com is well known for his visionary insight, turning an idea about
e-commerce into the world’s No. 2 most admired company with a market value of over $175 billion.
With innovations at Amazon like Amazon Prime and Kindle Unlimited, along with his personal projects like Blue Origin, a human spaceflight company, and his purchase of The Washington Post, Jeff Bezos is continuing to re-imagine the way business will impact the way people communicate. His ability to imagine a future that we have yet to see is a reminder that great leaders believe in bold visions.
“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear” ~ Nelson Mandela
Nelson Mandela was a visionary leader who believed that forgiveness was more important than revenge. He was the first South African President to be elected in fully democratic elections, after serving almost 30 years in prison.
His commitment to justice and peace, even after being imprisoned for so many years is a reminder that great leaders must often sacrifice their personal comfort to accomplish their goals.
It is important to constantly seek opportunities to grow and strengthen our skills. As leaders, we must seek opportunities to build reinforcing habits that allow us to be more effective. These leadership lessons help us to expand our influence, strengthen our organizations and advance our careers.