We’ve compiled our list of the top thought leaders and experts that are teaching leadership all over the world today.
Several factors were taken into account when building this list, including the experts popularity, the uniqueness & newness of their message, and how much time they spend out of their home country.
Have fun looking over the list and send us any new recommendations.
1. Marshall Goldsmith
As the founder of executive coaching firm Marshall Goldsmith Partners LLC. Goldsmith has worked closely with more than 120 major CEOs and their management teams during his career and is named by Forbes as one of the five most respected executive coaches.
Marshall Goldsmith is the million-selling author or editor of 31 management related books, including the New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestsellers MOJO, What Got You Here Won't Get You There, and Triggers.
He was recognised as the #1 Leadership Thinker in the World and one of the top five Management Thinkers in 2015, as well as one of the top ten Most-Influential Business Thinkers and the top-ranked executive coach at the 2013 biennial Thinkers50.
Marshall’s mission is simple; to help successful people achieve positive, lasting change in behavior; for themselves, their people, and their teams.
The Wall Street Journal ranks him among the top 10 executive educators.
2. John C. Maxwell
John C. Maxwell is internationally recognised as the best leadership speaker, trainer and author who has written over 70 books and sold more than 24 million books in 50 languages. Maxwell was named the No. 1 leadership and management expert in the world by Inc. Magazine.
Maxwell is a best-selling author in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Business Week and is also a Hall of Famer of Amazon.com.
Although not all of the ideas of John Maxwell are really unique, he has a brilliant way of storytelling and a supernatural ability to make complicated ideas easy to understand. He is a global top leadership guru because he thoroughly researches proven concepts and creates structures and narratives that support Leadership Development.
In addition, he has founded a non-profit organisation, EQUIP, that has trained more than 6 million leaders in 196 countries worldwide and has he been voted the consistent number one Leadership Guru on the Global Gurus sites six years in a row.
Identified by many as the most recognisable face in leadership today and over the past generation, John Maxwell is described as an uplifting speaker and trainer that’s good at the “nuts and bolts” of leadership.
3. Ken Blanchard
Few people have influenced the day-to-day management of people and companies more than Ken Blanchard. A prominent sought-after author, speaker, and business consultant, Blanchard is universally characterised as one of the most insightful, powerful, and compassionate individuals in business today.
Ken is one of the most influential leadership experts in the world and is respected for his years of groundbreaking work in the fields of leadership and management.
For more than 35 years, Blanchard has been creating the best managers in the world, training over 150,000 people each year. From the award-winning First-time Manager program—based on the best-selling business book, The New One Minute Manager®—to Situational Leadership® II, the most widely taught leadership model in the world, Blanchard is the provider of choice for Fortune 500 companies as well as small to medium businesses, governments, and educational and nonprofit organisations.
Ken Blanchard may just be the godfather of Leadership and Management. Earlier in his career, he would have had the top spot. But because he’s scaled back his international speaking, we are putting him at #3.
4. Simon Sinek
Described as “a visionary thinker with a rare intellect,” Sinek teaches leaders and organisations how to inspire people. With a bold goal to help build a world in which the vast majority of people go home everyday feeling fulfilled by their work, Sinek is leading a movement to inspire people to do the things that inspire them.
In his career Sinek has discovered some remarkable patterns in how we think, act, and communicate. He wrote Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action to explore his idea of The Golden Circle, what he calls "a naturally occurring pattern, grounded in the biology of human decision making that explains why we are inspired by some people, leaders, messages and organisations over others."
His talk “How Great Leaders Inspire Action” is listed as the third most popular TED presentation of all time.
5. Robin Sharma
Ranked as one of the Top 5 leadership gurus in the world in an independent global survey of over 22,000 businesspeople, Sharma will help your people perform brilliantly and leave everything they touch better than they find it.
His mantra is that everyone, regardless of title, must be a leader in the new economy. They should take up challenges of personal excellence and do what is required.
Sharma has published 12 leadership related books and founded the leadership training firm Sharma Leadership International.
As a speaker, he is dynamic and structured providing presentations based on his book, The Leader Who Had No Title, in which he delivers the message that anyone in any role can be a leader.
Robin Sharma is consistently voted in the top 10 of the best leadership speakers and trainers.
6. Jack Welch
Jack Welch is one of the world’s most respected and celebrated CEOs, best known for serving as Chairman and CEO of General Electric (GE) from 1981 to 2001.
Named “Manager of the Century” by Fortune Magazine, in his 21 years as CEO, Jack transformed GE into the world’s most admired and successful company with his innovative management techniques. His achievements are considered epic and, as a result, thousands of companies around the world have adopted his methodologies.
In addition to holding the distinction of being the youngest CEO at GE, Jack has also written two New York Times best-selling business books, wrote a regular column for Businessweek magazine, and is frequently called upon as a commentator for various business programs on TV.
Jack goes beyond the principles of leadership and management everyone talks about. His ideas and processes are surely his own style and we give him full marks for his unique methodology of leadership training and development.
Welch is now the Executive Chairman of the Jack Welch Management Institute at Strayer University dedicated to giving students globally and at every career level the tools to transform their lives and organisations
7. R. Michael Anderson
As a relative newcomer onto the scene, R. Michael Anderson makes this list based on the strength of two factors; the amount of international speaking and training he does and the uniqueness of his material.
He works outside of his native USA more than he works there. His life choice of selling all his belongings and living as a “world citizen” with no true home certainly helps this fact.
He has also done something very unique. He’s merged the concepts of spirituality and business leadership into one discipline, which he calls Soul-Centered Leadership. It’s not a bunch of hairy-fairy stuff either. He’s a three-time software entrepreneur from California, his companies were on the Inc. 500 | 5000 list, they were voted the #1 best place to work in San Diego, and he won Social Entrepreneur of the Year in 2013 there too.
Now he contributes to entrepreneur.com.. Soul-Centered Leadership was his second best-seller and he’s in demand all over the world to spread his positive, uplifting, empowering take on a subject that can lack newness and innovation. He’s engaging and fun in person as well.
8. Jim Collins
Jim Collins is a business consultant, author, and speaker on leadership and company sustainability and growth.
His talent and guru factor comes from his ability to research and put that research data into an easy to understand format. Jim’s contributions to leaders around the world have helped them sustain superior success. His uniqueness is not from the content he creates but in his approach to gathering valuable information.
In 1995, he founded a management laboratory in Boulder, Colorado, where he conducts research and engages in Socratic dialogue with CEOs and senior-leadership teams.
Having invested a quarter century researching the topic, he has authored or coauthored six books that have sold in total more than 10 million copies worldwide, including leadership classics such as, Built to Last and Good to Great.
His newest release, Great by Choice, answers the penetrating question, Why do some companies thrive in uncertainty, even chaos, and others do not?
9. Tom Peters
Tom Peters is described as one of the most influential business thinkers of all time and one of the best leadership speakers in the world. He became world famous when he wrote his best-known book In Search of Excellence with Robert Waterman.
In Search of Excellence is famous as the book that changed the way the world does business and often tagged as the best business book ever. Sixteen books and nearly thirty years later, he’s still at the forefront of the “management guru industry” that he single-handedly invented.
He is regularly included among top business authorities including his second place rank in Accenture's top 50 business intellectuals.
10. Patrick Lencioni
Named in Fortune magazine as one of the "ten new gurus you should know," Patrick Lencioni is the founder of The Table Group and the author of 10 books which have sold over 4 million copies and been translated into more than 25 languages.
Lencioni is a writer of books on business management, particularly in relation to team management. He is best known as the author of The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, a popular business tale that explores work team dynamics and offers solutions to help teams perform better
In his career, Lencioni has also written for or been featured in numerous publications including Harvard Business Review, Inc., Fortune, Fast Company, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal and Businessweek.
Patrick is president of The Table Group, a management consulting firm specialising in executive team development and organisational health. As a consultant, he has worked with senior executives and executive teams in organisations ranging from Fortune 500s and high tech start-ups to universities and non-profits. He also gives talks on leadership, organisational change, teamwork, and corporate culture.
Consistently the top rated keynote speaker at major conferences, he shares his models and inspires his audiences through his accessibility, humor, and storytelling.
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