To be an effective, inspiring leader, learn from the best. Role modelling and learning from successful people is one way of improving your leadership skills.
Politicians often call themselves ‘leaders’, but how many can actually be called great leaders? While the political arena is often considered a dirty game where participants fight for power, influence and money, there have been political leaders who have left a lasting impact on our world. In this section, we look at some politicians who have influenced and changed nations through their leadership.
In each political leadership profile, you will find:
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We hope that the profiles help you understand these leaders in a deeper way and provide useful lessons on how to emulate their success in leadership and life.
So put on your Padawan hats, and get to learning some leadership lessons from these notable leaders!
Nelson Mandela was the first Black President of South Africa and was an instrumental figure in ending apartheid. After his term as president, Mandela went on to become an advocate for a variety of social and human rights organizations.
Martin Luther King Junior was an American Baptist preacher, activist and prominent leader in the American Civil Rights Movement. Today, he is identified as an icon of human rights, and his famous “I Have a Dream” speech is still much admired and quoted.
Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States and deemed by many scholars as the greatest President of the United States. As President, he built the Republican Party into a strong national organization, and abolished slavery within the Confederacy.
Lee Kuan Yew was the first and longest serving Prime Minister of Singapore. It was his leadership that transformed Singapore from a third world country into a thriving metropolitan city in a stunning three decades.
George Washington was the first President of the United States and was known as the “father of [his]country.” Before his appointment as President of the United States, he was the Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army who drove out the British from America, and helped establish an independent United States of America. Washington was known for his character and his commitment to his soldiers’ welfare and discipline.
Adolf Hitler was the leader of Nazi Germany. He is known for his role in the rise of fascism in Europe, World War II and The Holocaust.
Barack Obama is the 44th president of the United States, and took office in 2009 after winning the electoral campaign against John McCain. He is also the first African-American president of the United States.
Tony Blair served as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 2 May 1997 to 27 June 2007. Since leaving politics in 2007, he has become a sought after corporate speaker with his in-depth analysis and approach to the macroeconomic environment.
Aung San Suu Kyi is a Burmese politician known as an advocate for the pro-democratic movement in her country. She currently holds several political offices in Myanmar; among them, she is State Counsellor of Myanmar, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of the President’s Office.
Eleanor Roosevelt was the longest-serving First Lady of the United States, holding the position during Franklin D Roosevelt’s four terms as U.S. President from 1933 to 1945. She redefined the role of the First Lady by being more active in political and civic life, instead of the traditionally accepted ‘domestic hostess’ role. She was also a diplomat, social activist and humanitarian.
Angela Merkel is the first female Chancellor of Germany and has served three terms. As a Lutheran divorced woman from East Germany, she defied convention by breaking into, and eventually leading, the traditionally conservative male-dominated Christian Democratic Union party.
Hillary Clinton is an American politician who has held numerous positions such as First Lady of Arkansas, First Lady of the United States of America, U.S. Senator and U.S. Secretary of State. In 2016, she became the first female presidential nominee for a major U.S. political party.
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