Who is the greatest leader of all time and why?

If you ask the question publicly expect nothing less than argumentative and disagreeable discussions.
the greatest leader
We may consider leadership politically, historically, from the business prospective and many more aspects and settings.

This topic has been rolling in my mind for a long time now because I am looking for the best leadership practices and also the people performing them. I was amazed by people’s approach to this question on the internet. It has almost nothing to do with leadership but rather about personalities that important people have or had.  You may find ‘answers’ under the titles like ‘XYZ Things the greatest leaders all have in common’,  ‘Who are the greatest leaders of all time?’ or ‘The greatest leader of all’ and similar.

Are they describing basic leadership methodology and then, based on it, show who the great leaders were (are)? No, they are not! Do these articles have anything in common then? Absolutely yes!

Most of the researches are listing what a leader should not lack. See what I wrote in the blog Added value of leadership names or labels: “Is it all about different behaviors, different styles, or just to give a new label in front of the word leadership?” Those articles just state the “names” (mostly applied in western societies while forgetting the other parts of the world) and what those leaders were great for. Some go deeper and explain what leaders contributed to their societies.

Che Guevara

Anyhow, there is also a good side to this search and question: it becomes clear that by “selecting basic strengths a leader should have” it strengthens the belief that ‘one leadership style’ cannot work solely and therefore should not be promoted separately!

Some of leadership areas that are not to be missed by a leader found in those articles are ability to build relationships; addressing people’s feelings; what leader does, not what leader says; leader has to inspire, have and share a vision; should be humble, respectful and approachable as well has to have communication and motivation skills; has a powerful force for change. Those leaders that had some or more of those characteristics have shaped civilization(s). One should be aware that no matter how carefully you build a list, such a list is always subjective (our own subjective opinion(s) are added to it).
In human history some famous leaders were definitively conquerors, some changed the world they lived in and others were treating the destruction of nation with their vision. Some actually worked for the good of their people and became the great leaders we remember as positive personality.

So, here we are again: who are the historical leaders that left their permanent mark (for good or bad)? In my search I was lucky and found a page that is building by ‘itself’. Find out here how every one of us can shape the list and a subjective opinion to who was (is) the ‘greatest’!


  1. One of my favorite teachers said, "There are no teachers; there are only learners," which obviously means that only someone who wants to learn will do so. Logically, if change is needed, it can't happen unless people truly want it; hence, the saying "Be the change you want to see." So what inspires people to want change? I would suggest that perhaps the only TRUE leaders are those who inspire others to a greater cause than themselves. As far as I can tell, Ghandi is the only person in our history who truly inspired people by appealing to their spiritual natures. In my humble opinion, such qualities as humility and selflessness would do our so-called leaders of today a lot of good.

    1. sentientpsychopath thank you for your comment. And yes if you want to teach you have to learn. The same goes for leadership: you have to learn.


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