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Famous Leadership Styles - Contrasting Leaders and Their Methods

Oct 11, 2007
Pictures of the well known and well to do are flashed across TV screens and adorn glossy magazine covers daily. We love celebrity. We watch their every movement, daydream about what it is like to live the life. Wonder how they got there. For those that worked their way to the top and did not happen on some moment of circumstance leadership was part of the climb to the top.

When thinking of leaders it is not only the good that come to mind. History has provided us with plenty of both from which to choose. Some make us smile while others we wish to erase from the books. What style of leadership did they exemplify?

Martin Luther King:
An inspirational speaker. Speeches like "I have a dream" galvanized people as it brought his vision to light. He spoke with authority and was able to mobilize a country toward his vision.

Mary Kay Ash (Mary Kay Cosmetics):
If you are thinking of pink Cadillac's you are correct. The pink Cadillac is an icon of a successful high performing company. Mary Kay's inspirational leadership turned a $5000 investment into billion-dollar corporation.

Jack Welch:
Hear his name and GE springs to mind immediately. Over 20 years under his direction GE increased in worth from several million dollars to several hundred billion dollars. His no nonsense leadership style gave him a reputation of being both ruthless and fair in making business decisions. Managers were given free rein as long as they were able to accept and perpetuate constant change with the purpose of doing it better.

Leona Helmsley:
She is legendary for her autocratic, tyrannical style leadership. The president of the Helmsley hotel chain fell from glory when her employees turned records over to the New York Post and she traded in her suite life for a jail cell. Her story portrayed in a TV movie "The Queen of Mean"

John F. Kennedy:
A highly charismatic leader who with his wife at his side turned the White House into "Camelot". President Kennedy was able to energize the nation. He set forth his vision of the space program for all Americans to embrace. This vision set a goal that was realized with a walk on the moon years after his life here had ended.

Martha Stewart:
Does the image of a meticulous and demanding to perfection persona come to mind? She has found herself in a fair share of controversy and still she and her organization continue to flourish. Her style of autocratic leadership has served her well.

Eleanor Roosevelt:
She told Americans across the Nation, "We are on trial to show what democracy means." She was a champion of civil and women's rights and showed compassion to depression era poor. One leadership lesson in her own words: "It is not fair to ask of others what you are not willing to do yourself."
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