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).
Transformational leadership 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.
One characteristic of the great transformational leaders is the ability to inspire. They just don’t know how to bore and snore. Perhaps its because they know how to appeal to your why.
125 Famous Transformational Leaders From Many Countries
Alexander The Great
Attila the Hun
Catherine the Great
Charles I (King of England)
Chulalongkornm, King Rama V
Cyrus the Great
De Rothschild, Baron
Frederick the Great
Gates, Bill and Melinda
Giannini, A. P.
Giap, Vo Nguen
Gorbachev, MikhailGrant, Ulysses
Ho, Chi Min
Ivan the Terrible
Jackson, Thomas (Stonewall)
Joan of Arc
Jones, John Paul
Jung, Joo Young
King, Martin Luther
Lee, Gun Hee
Lee, Robert E.
Louis XIV (Sun King)
Marshall, George C.
Morgan, J. Pierpoint
Park, Chung Hee
Park, Guen Hye
Penny, J. C.
Peter the Great
Queen Elizabeth II
Ramses II, Pharaoh
Rockefeller, John D.
Sejong the Great
Tuthmose III, Pharaoh
Villa, Francisco (Poncho)
Von Bismark, Otto
Von Clausewitz, Carl
Von Motlke, Helmuth
von Schlieffen, Alfred
Watson, Thomas, Jr.
Watson, Thomas, Sr.
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.
List 1: EUROPEAN TRANSFORMATIONAL LEADERS
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.
List 2: TRANSFORMATIONAL LEADERS WHO ARE ENTREPRENEURS
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.
List 3: TRANSFORMATIONAL CEOS
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.
List 4: FAMOUS TRANSFORMATIONAL LEADERS FROM ASIA
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.
List 5: TRANSFORMATIONAL LEADERS WHO ARE AMERICAN
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.
List 6: FAMOUS TRANSFORMATIONAL LEADERS FROM AFRICA
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.