Top 13 Leadership Skills Every Leader Should Master

Top 13 Leadership Skills
Photo by Thomas James Caldwell

“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way” – John C. Maxwell


from 50 Leaders Who Changed History by Charles Phillips


The past gives us a blueprint to the future. I’ve learned that by analyzing yesterday’s leaders, we can form leadership skills for tomorrow. Charles Phillips does an amazing job in providing heroes to study from so we can self improve ourselves through his easy to read format. 

Success revolves around the key concept of leadership. Therefore, I realized I need people around me in my goals just as a car needs wheels. People to help me push the boulder forward. And finally hit my goals. In return, I help theirs as well. 

This article shows 13 leaders who had a tremendous impact on the world. It looks at their leadership skills to use as a guide to become a better, more dynamic leader. So let’s begin by starting with the earliest on our list!



Top 13 Leadership Skills


1. Moses (14th Century BC)

Paternalistic: Moses accomplished an amazing feat of guiding 600,000 men on foot to of Egypt not even counting women, children, and non-Israelites. This was not easy as he made sure the whole nation of Israel had food and water while in the desert (even though they complained often.) He instructed his people what needed to be done and how to live through the Torah. His example illustrates that being a leader isn’t a walk in the park.

I’ve learned: A leader takes care of their team by having all their needs met to succeed. Therefore, be a GPS system and teach them what needs to be done. You will also reach your goals easier.  



Alexander the Great

2. Alexander the Great (356 – 323 BC)

Strategist: Alexander the Great was king of the ancient Greek kingdom of Macedon. He dominated many battles while being outnumbered and dealing with little resources.

I’ve learned: It’s possible to win and succeed with factors that appear to limit your success. Times will come where it will be critical to place people where they excel. In order to do this, it’s important know the field you’re in, look for opportunities for your team, and know the direction you want to go in.



3. Jesus Christ (c. 4 – 27 AD)

Compassion: Throughout the New Testament of the Bible, Jesus addressed the people’s sicknesses and issues directly with His gentle and wise nature. Due to this nature, He perfected selflessness in His great sacrifice for our sins.

I’ve learned: When a team member has an issue, you must be compassionate and deal with it through care and kindness. Drop what you’re working on to hear them. And show your compassion through action by putting your team above everything to develop them. The company grows when they grow. 



Queen Boudica

4. Queen Boudica (33 – 61 AD)

Inspiring Symbolism: Queen Boudica was the British queen in 60 AD. She inspired British troops to defy the Roman military machine after they slaughtered her husband and raped her daughters. Because of this, she was able to appeal to her British audience as one stripped and shamed by brutish Rome and the mother of dishonored daughters. This touched the British troops who also felt as she did in her declaration of death rather than living as a slave to the Romans.

I’ve learned: Leaders can inspire in different ways. As a symbol, it’s easier to connect and relate with a person’s heart and emotions because it sticks and stays with the audience. Through symbolism, you become a role model for success.



5. Genghis Khan/ Temujin (1162 – 1227)

Iron Willed: Genghis Khan created the Mongolian empire which was the largest empire ever. It ruled a massive 25% of the world’s population! Temujin means ‘man of iron.’ He used ruthless tactics to conquer and subdue his foes. A couple of times, when he captured enemies he also learned how they laid siege and how their weapons worked. By using this student mentality, he brought death to any army facing him. 

I’ve learned: Business is ruthless, since there are always people out waiting to pluck you from the top. So, be iron willed by being steadfast on decisions; stay firm and focused on the mission. And in addition, learn and use your enemy’s tactics against them.



6. George Washington (1732 – 1799)

Unifier: Before he became the first president of the United States, he linked the country together after the Revolutionary War vs Great Britain. In addition, during the war, he delivered his army through a 5-year struggle when defeat was in their face. Death was knocking at their door! His men were poorly paid, had inadequate food, and inferior equipment. So he won their devotion and kept the army together by campaigning vigorously with Congress for their better treatment and food.

I’ve learned: Through good and bad times, a leader keeps the team together and goes the extra mile to fight with everything so they are not bullied nor discouraged. Trust is then created and a brotherhood of unity that never dies. 



“A manager says, ‘Go!’ And a leader says, ‘Let’s go!'” – Unknown




Simon Bolivar

7. Simon Bolivar (1783 – 1830)

Visionary: Simon Bolivar had a colossal vision. That vision became a reality as he freed Venezuela, Colombia, Panama, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia from Spanish rule. He did this by, first, writing The Letter from Jamaica. This incredible letter encouraged his followers to rebel against Spanish rule. In addition, he justified it by detailing how the Spanish treated Latin America like slaves. This later portrayed his vision in convincing people that the independence movement would succeed.

I’ve learned: Display your vision to your team to make it clear and known like it’s in Ultra HD. Then once your team understands it, take action with all your passion. Like Nelson Mandela said,

“Action without vision is only passing time, vision without action is merely daydreaming but vision with action can change the world.”




Mahatma Gandi

8. Mohandas Gandhi (1869 – 1948)

Channeler: In South Africa of 1893, Gandhi traveled on a train, but soon had to give up his first class compartment because of his skin color. He had a valid ticket, similar to Rosa Parks decades later in Montgomery, Alabama. After refusing, he was thrown off without overcoat or luggage at a nearby station. He slept there that night shivering from cold. Instead of repressing the anger he felt, he transformed and channeled the negative energy into the positive energy that drove his peaceful revolution. That revolution led India to independence from Britain.

I’ve learned: A leader never gives into the force of anger, nor use it to effect change. They channel it into something greater to accomplish the goals they set. 



9. Winston Churchill (1874 – 1965)

Devoted: The Prime Minister of Britain in World War II was totally committed to win against Hitler and Germany to where he suffered 2 serious bouts of pneumonia in 1943. He encouraged the House of Commons during the war, “Victory at all costs – victory in spite of all terror – victory however long and hard the road may be.”

I’ve learned: A leader shows loyalty and dedication by putting his life on the life for the cause. Like he once said,

“If you’re going through hell, keep going!”




 Vince Lombardi

10. Vince Lombardi (1913 – 1970)

Talent Promoter: In 1958, the year before Lombardi began head coach, the Green Bay Packers finished a disastrous 1-10-1 season. Since then, he has led them to NFL championships in ’61, ’62, ’65, ’66, ’67. As the greatest coach in American football, he a team and combined their talents together to accomplish their goal.

“People who work together will win.”

I’ve learned: Use this mentality of togetherness to develop the crucial characteristic of knowing where the arm goes on the human body and applying it to reach for the goal, instead of using it to walk. Sometimes it requires trial and error. You can’t force an arm to smell if it’s not a nose. 



Nelson Mandela

11. Nelson Mandela (1918 – 2013)

Giver of Limelight: Former president of South Africa, Mandela knew how to drag the best out of others. One way he demonstrated this was to shove them in front of limelight, and award them the credit. As a result of this selfless act, his followers loved him more.

“You take the frontline when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership.”

I’ve learned: As an impactful leader, you must step forward in times of difficulty and grant your team a good name when things go right. I’ve learned people hate to dishonor a good name and the one that gave it to them. 



12. Eva Peron (1919 – 1952)

The Voice: Former actress and wife of the former president of Argentina, Juan Peron, Eva achieved goals as a champion of the ‘shirtless’ poor. Therefore, she made a powerful connection with the poorly paid working class called descamisades or ‘shirtless ones,’ even encouraging them to call her, Evita (informal version of Eva).

I’ve learned: Leaders are the voice to those who have little or none. Speak up for your team so that those who look up to you are not bullied or recriminated against. Be the one they hear taking charge of the goals in front of them. 



13. Steve Jobs (1955 – 2011)

Innovator: Apple founder, Steve Jobs produced the iPod, iPhone, iPad, Macs, and Pixar. He taught that innovation is all around us. Therefore, he became constantly obsessed with whatever he worked on with laser beam focus to make the product better. 

I’ve learned: People, animals, and events are all around to inspire. But you must become aware of innovation and transform it into a goal that improves and changes lives. It’s vital to think of ways to improve the common to meet the extraordinary goal.



Learning from all of these leaders has empowered me to be a better leader. It’s allowed me to pilot the plane to success with these men and woman from different nationalities as a guide and GPS. I hope that they help you as well so that you achieve your dreams and goals. Teams make the climb of success much easier and learning these skills keep them together.


Today’s Question: Who is a leader that you look up to? (Comment and share with others)


If you found this article helpful then please don’t forget to share and help others!!

Also, don’t forget your free eBook!!

About Seth 34 Articles
Seth Tubre is the Founder of The Success Owl. He is dedicated to success and helping others achieve success as well. He aims to assist by sharing what he has read and experienced.


  1. We always learn leadership skills as well!
    My favourite book is Robert G. Allen’s The One Minute Millionaire!
    It gives me energy to build up my network and strengthen my mindset like the successful leaders!

  2. Wow. This is a very detailed article, well done! I especially like your quote about a leader saying:”let’s go.” I am tempted to send this to my former manager.(I used to work in retail) He did not know how to lead at all, and I think people like him could really benefit from this piece.

    Thanks for posting this!

  3. Hi Seth,

    You are so right, these 13 are among the many leaders that have had a tremendous impact on the world. One that I look up to is American Civil Rights Activist and Minister, Dr. Martin Luther King.

    Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, Nobel Peace Prize lecture and “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” are among the most revered orations and writings in the English language. His accomplishments are now taught to American children of all races, and his teachings are studied by scholars and students worldwide. He is the only non-president to have a national holiday dedicated in his honor, and is the only non-president memorialized on the Great Mall in the nation’s capitol. He is memorialized in hundreds of statues, parks, streets, squares, churches and other public facilities around the world as a leader whose teachings are increasingly-relevant to the progress of humankind. (Ref:

    Thanks for the information, I immediately thought of Dr. King

    • You’re welcome Gaylene! Thanks for the info on Dr. King. He was a true leader in every sense. He and Gandhi both use non violent methods to reach their goals and dreams.

      Like you said his writings are some examples of the best in English language showing that the pen is mightier than the sword.

  4. Hi. Great article. My only comment is possibly a negative one. I personally would have entitled each point by the description of what the person meant, and then said who it was from, and not the way you did it.
    However, this is a minor point! I liked what you wrote, how you wrote. I especially liked that you included Vince Lombardi, as I’m a sports nut, so bringing the world of sports leadership into play was a great hook for me.

    • Thanks for the feedback James. I really appreciate it. It wasn’t negative at all. I’ll definitely take it into account next time.

      And I’m glad you enjoyed Vince Lombardi on the list. He inspires me often whenever I want to quit something.

  5. Hi Seth,

    This is terrific. Well done! I love how you have put this all together, not just giving examples of certain skills, but identifying individuals who exemplify those traits. Awesome!

    It’s a great list, and a terrific site. We need more like you. Keep up the great work!

    Best wishes,


  6. Hey Seth, interesting article. Love your analogy on each person. Must admit there were a few I had never heard of before but thanks to your article it has enlighten me

  7. They are all great leaders but none can compare to Jesus Christ. He’s perfect in every sense of the word, in thoughts and in action.

    I don’t seem to see Martin Luther King on the list though. He’s a might man of God.

    • Thanks Yvonne! I agree that none compare to Jesus Christ.
      With Dr. King, I had him on the list. It was originally going to be top 15 leadership skills. But for length and diversity sake, I decided to shorten it. It was a difficult decision because he is included in the book and definitely changed the world through his leadership, influence, and words coming from a nonviolent perspective.

  8. Great article, thank you Seth,
    It’s been said in other comments about how you gave an example of a great leader and then referred to the qualities they had and how they apply to the present day, I think this is excellent 🙂


  9. Hi! Such an inspiring collection and I loved that it was also a history lesson mixed in. Really informative. I love that Jesus is in the list. I’m going to channel that compassion aspect at work so I can be embody Jesus where ever I go.

  10. Excellent post I love history and most of these people you have talked about. Love the images also. Learning how to be a great leader is something a lot of people should learn. Thank you for sharing.

  11. Hey Seth

    This is a great article. I’ve decided to grab every ‘action’word that you’ve given us and live by each word one day at a time for thirteen days, and then repeat until it all becomes a part of me. Awesome advice and the push that I needed in order to become a better leader.

    Why did you choose the leaders that you chose? Perhaps I should ask you what each of these leaders mean to you on a personal level.

    • Thanks Dee! This comment is very inspiring because you can definitely do it for 13 days. It reminds me of something that Benjamin Franklin did. He had 13 virtues and would focus on each one of them for one week before going on to the next one to perfect each. I talk about it here: Benjamin Franklin Keep it up!

      And I choose these leaders, first, for diversity. They are all apart of the 50 Leaders Who Changed History by Charles Phillips and they come from different nationalities. Second, I chose them because they inspired me in different ways. To talk about each would be an article of its own lol. But my favorites are Jesus Christ and Alexander the Great. I love the Bible and I read a biography on Alexander the Great which really inspired me with a different mentality. I love history.

  12. Excellent. Our job as leaders is to inspire and help people grow. You did a great job here. These are all people to look up to and admire. I will definitely take some of these lessons back to the office to help me do a better job. Keep up the great work!

  13. These were all incredible people and their leadership skills are invaluable! I learned a lot, thank you! Even as a single business owner I feel that I can take away a lot from this post because without leadership skills I wouldn’t be able to push myself to get up and go to work at home every morning! I have to do this myself because nobody will boss me to do it and that requires leadership. I’m not sure if that’s the same thing, but it has helped me to become stronger in myself 🙂

    • Thanks Emma! Leadership begin in leading ourselves. There’s a great quote that goes, “You can’t handle someone’s darkness if you can’t handle your own.” Leading yourself is just as, or maybe even more important than leading others. All the best!

  14. Great read! Definitely an interesting article. I never really considered lessons from these leaders but you have done a great job in taking situations and deriving practical lessons from them. I’m really going to try and implement these qualities because in the field of work I want to go into, I’ve realised that I need to be a leader rather than a boss.

    • Thanks for the feedback Lindsey! Glad it was helpful to you. And you’re right a leader and a boss are two totally different things. A boss says, “Work for me.” A leader says, “Work with me.”

  15. I like this post and enjoyed reading it. There were people on this list I haven’t heard of but now I am interested in learning more about them. I like reading biographies so this list has given some ideas on who to read about next. Queen Boudica sounds interesting to me so Ill learn about her next, thanks for the information.

  16. This is a great list of leaders throughout the ages. I never really thought about until now how great a task Moses had to do. This was before communication methods of radio and phones and telegrams and everything, andleading 600,000 people requires great leadership qualities.

  17. I like this article and makes me hookup reading all the 13 leaders you posted. I myself have become leaders in many organization and becoming a leader help me with my journey in becoming successful. For me learning a lot from reading and understanding the behavior of people helps me to be a successful leader. I’m glad to read that you posted Jesus as one of the leader. He is a symbol of everything. Great post. I will follow you!


    • Thanks Charred. I appreciate the follow. Your feedback is inspiring. I agree leaders need to be constant learners and always understanding of situations and their people. People can’t lead a team they don’t understand.

  18. Hey Seth

    Dude great article, my favorite is the compassion. Just being in that vibration/feeling towards others continually makes such a huge difference, its incredible. You have really hit home on this article, I am super grateful that I received this from you. Well done. I will keep following you and we can give feedback to each other. Keep up the great work brother.


    • Thanks AJ. I’m thankful for your feedback. I agree compassion is big. And I think it starts with serving rather than being served. I think that compassion is an action word. I used to not feel compassionate but would be compassionate toward others by helping them till I felt it genuinely.

  19. For me, the most important thing is to understand the difference in dictating what has to be done and asking people to do what is necessary. It’s the difference between what makes a good outcome from a bad one.
    Nice article.

    • Thanks Marcelo. I agree. Because if a leaders doesn’t know what to do and how to use his team’s strength to get the goal accomplished then he shouldn’t be a leader.

  20. What an awesome article Seth! I really love the way you wrote and put it together, it’s great to learn the skills from the best leaders of history and thanks for sharing what you learned from every single leader.

    The best article I read today, thanks for sharing!

  21. Hey, Seth,

    This is a great list of very inspirational leaders. I especially loved the unknown quote: “A manager says, ‘Go!’ And a leader says, ‘Let’s go!’”.

    Kinda reminds me of what Admiral Grace Hopper who was a ranking female navy officer. When she was interviewed for 60 minutes, she said: “You manage things, you lead people…”.

    Real leaders like the ones you mentioned above know the art of leading people to greatness and they do not induce fear. They allow confidence to ooze through the pores of their followers. I will definitely keep following in the footsteps of these great influential people.

    Thank you so much for sharing such a powerful and important article.

    Kind regards,

    • Thanks Jason,

      I haven’t heard of Admiral Grace Hopper. She sounds incredible. Thanks for mentioning her.
      And you’re right. Being a leader means knowing the difference between leading and managing.

      All the best

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.