In a recent poll among 1300 global CEO’s conducted by PWC asking who are the leaders they most admire I was surprised to see only one female leader (Margaret Thatcher) in the top ten (Crisis in leadership, Boss July 2013).

Also noteworthy was that only two of the leaders were living (Bill Clinton & Jack Welch).

What does this say about our current crop of leaders?

Perhaps it is not surprising that the top 9 spots were men as I assume that a majority of the CEO’s polled would have been men.

But this is part of the problem with leadership generally — it is mainly framed as a masculine activity and our inspiration seems to only come from a narrow range of leadership realms (politics, military and business)

How about this as an alternative list of admired leaders:

– Martha Graham (artistic leader)

– Aung San Suu Kyi (political leader)

– Marie Curie (scientific leader)

– Madonna (artistic leader)

– Helen Keller (social leader)

– Angela Merkel (political leader)

– Mother Teresa (religious leader)

– Eleanor Roosevelt (human rights leader)

– Anita Roddick (business leader)

– Oprah Winfrey (showbiz leader).

Compare the CEO list with this one, which one inspires you more?

Leaders are everywhere, both male and female in all sorts of activities.

Leadership is a vital skill that we cannot assume belongs only to our politicians, the military or business.

It can be learned and with opportunity, experience and reflection everyone can become better at it.

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