21 Great Leaders: Learn Their Lessons, Improve Your Influence

BOOK: 21 Great Leaders: Learn Their Lessons, Improve Your Influence
12.94Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
Praise for
21 Great Leaders

“What a unique combination this book provides! You will discover an intriguing view of twenty-one world-class leaders followed by leadership lessons that will help you grow as an influencer. My friend Pat Williams has written a leadership classic.”

John C. Maxwell
New York Times
bestselling author

“More and more I am convinced that one of the best ways to teach leadership is through the use of stories. When it comes to storytelling, no one does it better than Pat Williams. His newest book,
21 Great Leaders
, is a tour de force that integrates leadership stories and lessons that will help anyone with the practical insights they can put into practice.”

John Baldoni Internationally recognized leadership educator and executive coach Author of
MOXIE: The Secret to Bold and Gutsy Leadership
Lead with Purpose

“Pat Williams’ new book
21 Great Leaders
is magnificent. The stories are fascinating and the leadership lessons at the end of each chapter will prove invaluable to leaders at every level.”

Frances Hesselbein President and CEO of the Frances Hesselbein Leadership Institute Recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom

“Leadership may be an elusive commodity these days, but this highly useful collection will serve to remind leaders and would-be leaders alike that they need only look again to proven leaders of the past for the lessons and inspiration they need to face modern challenges. This primer should be read by everyone who aspires to manage and influence others.”

Harold Holzer Chairman of the Lincoln Bicentennial Foundation

“All Americans who love their country can benefit from this important book. Although most political dogs in government are probably too old to learn new tricks, the nation might return to its former glory if they emulated the great leaders Pat Williams describes so brilliantly.”

Harlow Giles Unger Author of
John Marshall, The Chief Justice Who Saved the Nation

“Wow! What a compelling collection of leaders who personify leadership excellence at the highest level.”

John Swofford Atlantic Coast Conference Commissioner

“In these difficult times, we all need to step up and lead. Pat Williams uses
21 Great Leaders
to show us how.”

Dr. Larry J. Sabato Director, UVA Center for Politics Author of
The Kennedy Half Century

“Plutarch, who wrote the biographies of every great man in the ancient world, said their virtues were like a ‘looking-glass, in which I may see how to adjust…my own life.’ Pat Williams holds up twenty-one great men and women from George Washington to Bill Gates as mirrors for our time. Look at them, and learn.”

Richard Brookhiser Author of
Founders’ Son: A Life of Abraham Lincoln

“Pat Williams asks us to join him in observing excellent leadership in twenty-one men and women from across the political spectrum. He has an eye for the revealing anecdote, an ear for different voices, and a knack for storytelling.”

Joseph J. Ellis Author of
Founding Brothers

“Whether you are involved as a leader in sports, business, or your family, you will find immense value in Pat Williams’ book,
21 Great Leaders
. It’s a great read full of fantastic stories and practical advice that will increase your influence. You will not be disappointed in this investment into your leadership library.”

Mike Slive Southeastern Conference Commissioner

21 Great Leaders
is a thoughtful and insightful reflection on the lives and lessons of leaders—recent and distant—who’ve made a meaningful difference. Pat’s near encyclopedic knowledge of history and leadership, and his extraordinary personal experience as a leader and coach, give this book an authenticity that is incomparable.
21 Great Leaders
is at once a deep meditation and a practical guidebook that you will find useful in becoming the best leader you can be.”

Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner Coauthors of the bestselling
The Leadership Challenge

© 2015 by Pat Williams

Print ISBN 978-1-63058-690-4

eBook Editions:

Adobe Digital Edition (.epub) 978-1-63058-694-2

Kindle and MobiPocket Edition (.prc) 978-1-63058-693-5

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted for commercial purposes, except for brief quotations in printed reviews, without written permission of the publisher.

Churches and other noncommercial interests may reproduce portions of this book without the express written permission of Barbour Publishing, provided that the text does not exceed 500 words or 5 percent of the entire book, whichever is less, and that the text is not material quoted from another publisher. When reproducing text from this book, include the following credit line: “From
21 Great Leaders—Learn Their Lessons, Improve Your Influence
, published by Barbour Publishing, Inc. Used by permission.”

Scripture quotations marked
are taken from the King James Version of the Bible.

Scripture quotations marked
are taken from the H
, N
. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Scripture quotations marked
are from
. Copyright © by Eugene H. Peterson 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.

Published by Shiloh Run Press, an imprint of Barbour Publishing, Inc., P.O. Box 719, Uhrichsville, Ohio 44683,

Our mission is to publish and distribute inspirational products offering exceptional value and biblical encouragement to the masses

Printed in the United States of America.


This book is dedicated
to my friend John Maxwell,
a great teacher, mentor, and
role model of leadership


The Seven Sides of Leadership

The First Side of Leadership: VISION

1. Walt Disney:
Dream, Believe, Dare, Do!

2. Nelson Mandela:
A Rainbow Vision

3. Steve Jobs:
A Dent in the Universe

The Second Side of Leadership: COMMUNICATION

4. Winston Churchill:
Sending Language into Battle

5. Martin Luther King Jr.:
“I Have a Dream”

6. Ronald Reagan:
The Great Communicator

The Third Side of Leadership: PEOPLE SKILLS

7. Sam Walton:
The Ten-Foot Rule

8. Franklin D. Roosevelt:
Stricken and Strengthened

9. Pope John Paul II:
The Force of Forgiveness

The Fourth Side of Leadership: CHARACTER

10. George Washington:
When the Summons Comes

11. Billy Graham:
Moral Firewalls

12. Theodore Roosevelt:
The Man in the Arena

The Fifth Side of Leadership: COMPETENCE

13. Thomas Jefferson:
The Competent Polymath

14. Bill Gates:
Compute—and Compete

15. Dwight D. Eisenhower:
Competent to Decide

The Sixth Side of Leadership: BOLDNESS

16. Rosa Parks:
Tired of Giving In

17. Harry S. Truman:
The Buck Stops Here

18. Margaret Thatcher:
The Lady’s Not for Turning

The Seventh Side of Leadership: A SERVING HEART

19. Gandhi:
The Great Soul

20. Mother Teresa:
In Service to God’s Holy Poor

21. Abraham Lincoln:
The Great Emancipator



Contact Information



A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way

C. M

y most memorable year as a father was the year we had sixteen teenagers living under the same roof. Every morning at seven, those sixteen teens would gather around our long dining room table for breakfast. I would sit at the head and look down the row of glazed eyes and uncomprehending expressions. I would step into my leadership role and try to get their minds engaged.

We had a daily routine called “The Question of the Morning.” Every morning I came up with a new question—something to ignite a spark of cognition in the sleepy recesses of their brains. One morning my question was “Twenty years from now, what are you going to remember about your dad?”

They whispered among themselves—then, David (a future marine) stood up as their spokesman. “Dad,” he said, “the thing we’ll all remember most is that you were always motivating us.”

I had to laugh. My kids had found me out. They knew exactly what I’d been doing: motivating and inspiring them to function together as a team, to work hard in school, to play hard in sports, to keep their rooms neat, to stay out of trouble, to get real with God, and to set high goals for their lives.

In short, I had been practicing leadership in the home.

The point is this: we all are leaders in some arena of our lives—on a national stage, in the workplace, on the campus, or in the home. So we had better give some thought to our leadership roles. We had better find out what leadership demands of us and how to become more effective and influential as leaders.

That’s why I wrote this book—and I believe that’s why you’re reading it.


If you’re like most people, you have leadership responsibilities in dozens of arenas in your life—in your home, your profession, your community, your religious life, and your neighborhood. You have a leadership role to play in your blogging and social media, your advocacy for political and social causes, and your service on committees, boards, and juries.

I define leadership as “the ability to achieve difficult, challenging goals through other people.” Leadership is an attractive quality that people recognize in an individual who has developed a certain set of traits and skills. Leadership is not bossing people around or manipulating people. Rather, leadership is inspiring people to achieve what they
to achieve but could never achieve without the influence of an inspiring, guiding individual.

There are very few “born leaders,” people who are genetically gifted with leadership ability. Most leaders are made, not born—and that’s good news for you and me. This means leadership can be learned. Leadership ability, including that elusive quality known as “charisma,” can be studied and practiced.

BOOK: 21 Great Leaders: Learn Their Lessons, Improve Your Influence
12.94Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Other books

The Rules Of Silence by Lindsey, David
Nemonymous Night by Lewis, D. F.
Gianni's Pride by Kim Lawrence
Idempotency by Joshua Wright