10 Inspiring Leadership Stories To Become A Great Leader

Last updated on June 4th, 2024


Most Inspiring Leadership Short Stories That Help You Recognize Great Leaders


Inspiring Leadership Short Stories For You: True leadership is not a matter of prestige, status, or power. True leadership is a matter of responsibility. Leadership within the organization means taking care of a problem, analyzing it, personally assuming responsibility, and making the right decision.

Inspiring Leadership Stories

Beyond the position that a person possesses within an organization, leadership is demonstrated by actions. As a leader, you can inspire and motivate your team to tremendous effect by communicating a vision in a clear, straightforward way. But don’t think small – raise the bar really really high.

Rather than giving an example, we will tell you about the unique qualities of those leaders who were the best examples. Other than their competency and decision-making skills, these leaders stand out in my mind because they exhibited moral courage during the most difficult ethical situations.

These inspiring short leadership stories highlight that great leaders make the tough calls for what they feel is ethically right and stand their ground.

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1. Inspiring Story About Great Russian Leader Vladimir Lenin

Vladimir Lenin was a Russian revolutionary leader and theorist, who presided over the first government of Soviet Russia and then that of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. He was a remarkable leader who shirked the condemnation of even his peers and forged his own destiny. One of his personality traits that made him such a good leader was his determination.

He was determined to win every battle. He said once, “Victory at all costs.” Lenin was also good at making decisions and trying to “fix” anything that was under his control. A small incident from his life shows us how much of a public leader he was:

In the year 1919, enemies made a heavy attack on Lenin, a great leader of Russia. Being heavily wounded, he was confined to bed for some time. Lenin had not yet recovered when an important railway track broke down. The railway line was to be repaired immediately.

The patriotic people did not think it proper to depend upon daily wage laborers, and hence they themselves started to restore the railway line without taking any remuneration. The work was heavy. However, it was completed early.

When the work was over, Lenin was found sitting in a line of ordinary laborers. He was weak due to his sickness, yet he carried on the hard work of transporting logs of wood continuously and inspired his fellow workers.

The people were astonished. They said to Lenin, “You being a public leader should have taken care of your health; and should not have done such a difficult job.”

Lenin smiled and said, “If I could not do even this, who would call me a public leader.”

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2. Inspiring Story About Great Leader Giuseppe Mazzini

Giuseppe Mazzini was an Italian revolutionary who was acclaimed as a great patriot and an extraordinary leader. He was elected a triumvir of the republic, and became the effective head of the government, showing great administrative skills. His revolutionary vision extended beyond the limited objective of Italian national unity.

Mazzini founded an institute named ‘Young Italy’ in France to liberate his country from the curse of subservience. He propagated that his organization was working for the fulfillment of the national urge. This institute had no office but fulfilled its objectives under the leadership of Mazzini.

Its members wandered all day, taking the information about the development occurring in Italy from the people coming from there and informing the people of France about the atrocities committed on Italians, through pamphlets, which were then secretly sent to Italy.

When in exile, Mazzini spent much of his time in England and France. Although, due to poverty he faced many difficulties, none of his companions left him. Italy finally gained independence through his Herculean efforts.

Even other European countries drew inspiration from him. He had also been the source of inspiration for many freedom fighters engaged in India’s struggle for independence.

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Inspiring Leadership Stories of Most Prominent Political Leaders

3. Abraham Lincoln: Who Saved Union Through His Leadership

Abraham Lincoln, The Great Emancipator was the 16th President of the United States who led the country through the Civil War and played a pivotal role in abolishing slavery. Lincoln came to power when the nation was in peril, and he had the intelligence, and the self-confidence, to know that he needed the best people by his side.

He chose people who were leaders in their own right and who were very aware of their own strengths. Abraham Lincoln is widely regarded as one of the greatest leaders in American history. One of Lincoln’s great leadership traits was his sense of integrity and strong principles.

He was willing to compromise but his core principles did not change. Lincoln was a leader of enormous compassion and love for his fellow man. Again and again, he took responsibility for what he did, and he shared responsibility for the mistakes of others, so people became very loyal to him.

Lincoln had an extraordinary amount of emotional intelligence. He was able to acknowledge his errors and learn from his mistakes to a remarkable degree. He was careful to put past hurts behind him and never allowed wounds to fester.

His communication skills and social skills were extraordinary and inspired loyalty and dedication. His ability to convey important messages in a personal way is a hallmark of successful leaders.

Lincoln understood the importance of long-term planning and was able to make decisions that would have a positive impact on the future. His leadership style emphasized integrity, empathy, and the importance of preserving the Union.

Lincoln was able to show the country that an ordinary person, with strong character and integrity, was capable of inspiring others to greatness. His unwavering commitment to justice and equality continues to inspire leaders today.

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4. Mahatma Gandhi: An Indian Leader Who Still Inspires Millions

Mahatma Gandhi, the preeminent leader of India’s independence movement, showcased leadership through nonviolent resistance. He championed love, non-violence, forgiveness, and peaceful civil disobedience as a response to the unjust laws by the British, and successfully led the Indian masses to a largely bloodless revolution and finally independence.

Mahatma Gandhi is widely recognized as one of the twentieth century’s greatest political and spiritual leaders. He was a great leader because he created not only followers but also leaders. He was friendly and relatable to his followers due to his simplicity. Throughout his life, he promoted, justice, peace, and equality.

Assuming leadership of the Indian National Congress in 1921, Gandhi led nationwide campaigns for easing poverty, expanding women’s rights, building religious and ethnic amity, ending untouchability, and, above all, achieving swaraj or self-rule.

Gandhi’s commitment to peaceful protests and his unwavering principles inspired a nation and influenced civil rights movements worldwide. Mahatma Gandhi was not only the leader, he was the creator of Freedom thinking in the entire India.

Gandhi’s most well-known, and most-studied, leadership trait was his willingness to live like the majority of Indians that he sought to help, and his exhortation that all Indians “be the change they wish to see in this world”.

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Leadership Stories of Successful Businessmen And Innovators

5. Steve Jobs: Leadership Story of The Greatest Innovator

Apple CEO and co-founder, Steve Jobs was one of the most inspiring leaders, in the modern era. He built the world’s most valuable company, and along the way, he helped to transform a number of industries: personal computing, animated movies, music, and phones. Jobs was a great visionary. He was a master at seeing what others could not.

Steve Jobs was described as an autocratic leader during his time at Apple. His leadership style, fast-decision making, and eye for detail were crucial for achieving Apple’s success. He was described as one of our times’ strong and successful leaders, alongside Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and others.

Steve Jobs was not just a visionary leader but also an icon of creativity, perseverance, and groundbreaking technological advancements. His aversion to social norms and willingness to step outside the box was perhaps one of the key factors that made him such a world-renowned leader and innovator.

His life story serves as an endless source of inspiration for individuals striving to make a mark in the world of technology and beyond. Steve Jobs has shown the world how to dream and how to achieve your dreams even if there are many obstacles.

Students should look up to him because he has proven how dreams and perseverance make you a great role model. Steve was and still is a role model for many struggling entrepreneurs, ousted business leaders, college drop-outs, adoptees, and disease-fighting people who could relate to his journey.

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6. Elon Musk: A Leader Who Transformed Vehicle Industry

Elon Musk is a world-renowned businessman and investor. The South African-born entrepreneur widely known as the founder of SpaceX and Tesla, is renowned for his advances in the electric vehicle industry. Musk, who is one of the richest people in the world, has impressed almost everyone with his leadership style.

Elon Musk is a highly-inspiring leader. He is an extraordinary leader due to having a powerful vision and desire for the pursuit of that vision and the fact that he can spread that enthusiasm and determination to those who work for him. Musk leads with a genius ability to detect talent, energy, smarts, and total commitment.

He is unique in his vision, attitude, and approach, and this is what makes him different from others. All his ventures initially looked impossible to everyone. Many even predicted that his ventures would never succeed but he silenced all his critics.

Elon Musk’s leadership style is primarily transformational. He sets ambitious goals for himself and his companies that require a lot of effort and resources. But he also listens to the ideas of his team members and allows them to have a say in decisions.

From his early ventures to his current groundbreaking projects, Musk continues to redefine industries and inspire individuals around the world. His story reminds us that with passion, determination, and a willingness to challenge the status quo, we too can make a profound impact on the world.

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Motivational Leadership Stories of Highly Successful Generals

7. Napoleon Bonaparte: Leadership Story of A Brilliant General

Napoleon Bonaparte also known as Napoleon I, was a French military leader and emperor who conquered much of Europe in the early 19th century. Napoleon rapidly rose through the ranks of the military during the French Revolution. After seizing political power in France, he crowned himself emperor in 1804.

He was born the son of a minor noble on the island off the coast of Italy, yet in just a few decades he gained control of France and conquered most of Europe. He could do this because he had the skills and abilities required to seize favorable situations that he encountered and turn them to his own benefit.

Napoleon fought 60 battles in his career and lost only seven, mostly towards the end. The first characteristic of Napoleon is that he was diligent in always improving himself and acquiring knowledge that would help him in future tasks. He was talented both strategically and tactically.

In campaign after campaign, he defeated larger armies with a smaller force, through his unique strategies. Napoleon was able to build an unstoppable army, mainly because of the devotion and loyalty that he was able to instill in his soldiers as a result of this.

He also went to great lengths to get to know his people and understand how they felt. Napoleon was undoubtedly a brilliant general, and many have counted him as the best general in world history.

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8. General Sam Manekshaw: A Leader Who Made History

Sam Manekshaw popularly known as ‘Sam Bahadur’ was the former General of the Indian Army. He was the first Indian army officer to be promoted to the rank of Field Marshal. His leadership during the 1971 Indo-Pak War was pivotal. His strategic acumen and meticulous planning led to a decisive victory for India, resulting in the liberation of Bangladesh.

Undoubtedly, his stories of military greatness and bravery continue to inspire soldiers even today. Apart from being a great decision-maker, his other unique quality was his emphasis on acquiring professional knowledge and competence for true leadership.

Known for his exceptional leadership this military leader once said in an interview: “Unless you know what you are talking about, unless you understand your profession thoroughly, you can never be a leader. People who are indecisive are so because they lack professional knowledge.”

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Good Leadership Stories To Help You Be A Better Manager

9. Ginni Rometty: A Leader Who Is 1st Female CEO of IBM

You may not have heard her name, but this woman has taken this world-renowned company to a different level with her leadership style. Ginni Rometty joined IBM as a systems engineer in 1981 and steadily rose through the ranks, eventually attaining directorial positions in global sales, marketing, and strategy.

Since being named President and CEO of the company in 2012, she has been widely recognized for her leadership skills, earning a spot on TIME’s list of the 20 Most Important People in Tech and Fortune’s 50 Most Powerful Women in Business.

For many women in STEM and business, Ginni Rometty has been an inspiration and a trailblazer. As CEO, Rometty developed a leadership philosophy of good power, based on wielding authority for the benefit of others.

She also defined IBM’s purpose as Being essential to clients and society. As IBM’s first female CEO, she has said, “Women need role models — there’s still a small minority who are running major businesses.”

10. Chesley Sullenberger: A Story About A Pilot’s Leadership

Do you still remember a news report that made headlines in 2009 about how a US Airways flight made a water landing right on the Hudson River in New York? Chesley Sullenberger, or Sully as he is popularly known, was the pilot of the flight. The plane’s engines were disabled when a flock of geese hit them.

Despite the huge risk involved, Sully managed to save the lives of all 155 passengers on board! Isn’t that incredible? During his interview with the CBS News anchor, he mentioned “My focus at that point was so intensely on the landing…it just took some concentration. I was sure I could do it.”

Chesley Sullenberger’s story reminds us how leaders act in terrible situations. Imagine what would have happened if Sully himself had panicked. But he was prepared for the moment. This story teaches us to remain calm and composed at all times.

Staying in command of the situation is imperative for a leader. Only then can you behave responsibly, and ensure the well-being of the team, and in turn, yourself.

It is also crucial for a leader not to let stress affect his or her thought process. An extremely important trait for leaders in modern turbulent times.

Final Words:
Leadership is improving every day, mediocrity is for others. In many organizations, you see as leaders people who try to stand out, who try to be noticed, and who sell themselves as leaders, but if you know how to scratch the surface, we can see that the true leaders remain in the shade.

They take responsibility for the mistakes of the team and attribute the successes to all the members of the team. We hope you liked all these inspiring leadership stories. These stories tell us that great leaders always put their goals before them.

Criticism, fear, or temptation cannot deter them from their goal. Their life story demonstrates that there will be people who will criticize you, but you should not listen to criticism.

If you keep them in mind, you will lose your leadership status. Free yourself from internal fears and mental barriers, and always do the right thing, not what is most comfortable for you.

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