Lists of Transformational Leaders

Leader Panel Western 300x1371 Lists of Transformational Leaders

By Murray Johannsen, March 22, 2014.  Feel free to connect with the author by  Linkedin,  Google+  or by  email

Some of the most famous individuals in history are transformational in one form or another. In fact, transformational leaders have been written about for thousands of years and have both praised (Christ and Buddha) and cursed (Attila the Hun and Genghis Khan). 

It comes in many flavors, is seen on all continents, is practiced in many contexts. For example, entrepreneurs must function as transformational leaders to transform a small business into a large one. It must be said, however, that few managers or CEO’s are transformational. Most like the status quo and want to keep it that way.

Below are different lists of famous transformational leaders, some military, many political, and more than a few who have achieved greatness in the area of business.

List 1:  Famous Historical Leaders From Many Countries

Alexander the Great

Arnold, Henry

Ataturk, Mustapha


Attila the Hun

Aurelius, Marcus

Bolivar, Simon

Boyington, Gregory

Bradley, Omar



Carnegie, Andrew

Catherine the Great

Caesar, Augustus

Caesar, Julius


Chanel, Coco


Charles I (King of England)

Chief Joseph

Christ, Jesus

Churchill, Winston



Cornwallis, Charles

Cromwell, Oliver

Custer, George

Cyrus the Great

David Farragut

De Rothschild, Baron

Deere, John

Disney, Walter

Deng, XiaoPing

Eisenhower, Dwight

Elizabeth I

Ford, Henry

Franklin, Benjamin

Frederick the Great

Freud, Sigmund

Gates, Bill and Melinda


Giannini, A. P.

Giap, Vo Nguen

Goering, Herman

Goldwyn, Samuel

Gorbachev, MikhailGrant, Ulysses

Guderian, Heinz



Hitler, Adolf

Ho, Chi Min


Iacocca, Lee

Ivan the Terrible

Jackson, Thomas (Stonewall)

Jacqueline Cochrane

Joan of Arc

Jobs, Steve

Jodl, Alfred

Johnson, Samuel

Jones, Jim

Jones, John Paul

Jung, Carl

Kahn, Herman

Kaiser, Henry

Khan, Genghis

Kissinger, Henry

Koresh, David

Kroc, Ray


Lee, Robert E.

Lombardi, Vince

Louis XIV (Sun King)

Lynch, Peter


Manson, Charles

Marion, Francis

Marshall, George C.

McArthur, Douglas


Montgomery, Bernard

Morgan, J. Pierpoint

Mountbatten, Louis


Nelson, Heratio

NeroNightingale, Florence

Ogilvy, David

Packard, David

Park, Chung Hee

Patten, George

Penny, J. C.


Pershing, John

Peter the Great

Pharaoh Ramses II

Pharaoh Tuthmose III


Pot, Pol

Queen Elizabeth II

Queen Victoria

Rickover, Hyman

Rockefeller, John D.

Rommel, Erwin

Roosevelt, Eleanor

Roosevelt, Franklin

Roosevelt, Teddy


Schwab, Charles

Sloan, Alfred




Tse-Tung, Mao

Vanderbilt, Cornelius

Villa, Francisco (Poncho)

Von Clausewitz, Carl

Von Motlke, Helmuth

von Schlieffen, Alfred

Walton, Sam

Washington, George

Watson, Thomas, Jr.

Watson, Thomas, Sr.

Westinghouse, George

Whitney, Eli

Yamamoto, Isoroku

Zhou, Enlai


Leader Panel Asian 300x1091 Lists of Transformational Leaders

Below are lists of famous transformational leaders are grouped into transformational entrepreneurs and CEOs and geographically into the regions of America, Europe, Asia ,and Africa.


By definintion, entreprenerus must be transformational leaders. And while the American business schools are great believers in that they have to be managers, they completely neglect how to be a lead.


While there are exceptions such as Lou Gerstner, most CEO’s of Fortune 500 companies are not transformational. Decades spent obeying corporate rules to get to the top, typically creates hesitation when it comes to changing those rules.

This lists concentrates on CEOs and business leaders who:

Are not founders of the corporation.

These individuals could be considered successful entrepreneurs.

Can heal an unhealthy culture.

For example, Steve Jobs makes makes our list of as a successful entrepreneur, but also makes this list since after he returned to Apple, it was a dysfunctional organization headed toward bankruptcy.

Did not grow organization through acquisition.

Many CEOs, being men and women of action, like to buy things. However, different sources have said that as many as 2/3 of corporate acquisitions are not good deals from the stand point of the acquiring organization’s stockholders.

Do not need good PR firms.

Some CEOS who put on a pretty good facade as an enlightened, successful leader but the reality is much different. A classic example was “Chainsaw” — Al Dunlap.

While there are many great business leaders, this page concentrates on those that had books written about them or who wrote there own autobiography.


Business only forms one arena for the transformational leader. Another is government. In fact, you might argue that government is a tougher test for the transformational leader than is business. For one thing, the scale is much different. A CEO influences thousands, a head of state, millions. And military leaders often function as heads of state.

Douglas McArthur as a general, he had a long and illustrious history. Transformational to a great degree, he set-up a new and completely different Japan compared to what had existed before World War II. This article also lists a series of leadership questions one can ask about your treatment of others.


European history is full of transformational leaders.

    • Some used their power to build; some used their power to destroy.
    • Some established a new order; others destroyed the old leaving nothing new in its place.
    • Many were successful; others tried and ultimately failed.
    • However they lived, they exerted strong influence on their followers.


Many Asian leaders have been lost to history. Those that remain are truly fascinating. Great men and women who created nations were there was none.

Genghis Khan is undergoing something of leadership revival in Mongolia today. This site presents background information on the life of a transformational leader few of us would want to face, let alone oppose.

On the other hand, while some leaders accomplish things through the use of the sword, Gandhi chose the method of nonviolence.


Unfortunately, while humans began in Africa and migrated else where, the story of those great leaders who are now nameless and long forgotten. Here a few that are still remembered.

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