The World’s Most Inspirational Leaders, in Quotes

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Throughout history and still to this day, people from all over the world inspire us. From their powerful actions, inventions, theories, speeches, values or quotes, they help us find that extra ounce of motivation to achieve greater things, or find happiness and self-worth.

“During these difficult times, quotes can be especially helpful for finding inspiration or motivation to tackle a challenge head on. They are generally short, sharp and straight to the point, which helps keep us maintain focus in times of crisis or times of need. They are also one of the most shared items online, which proves how much we love them!”

“Quotes help us understand, inspire, motivate, clarify and show our approach to things around, this is why people and I love quotes.” — Takyou Allah Cheikh Malaynine

But who’s quotes do we seek out the most for inspiration? We analysed Google keyword data from over 200 well-known leaders to find out…

The Most Searched for Inspirational Leaders in the World

#1. Universally recognised as the greatest physician of all time, Albert Einstein developed the theory of relatively. His ground-breaking discoveries and theories have widely influenced modern physics and cosmology.

Albert Einstein quotes are the most searched for above all others in the world. Regardless of your background, culture, knowledge or values, Einstein’s influence has no limits. His quote below is one in particular that fellow leaders can take great inspiration from when faced with a complex challenge:

“The leader is one who, out of the clutter, brings simplicity… Out of discord, harmony… And out of difficult, opportunity.”

#2. In second place is former South African president and world treasure Nelson Mandela.

He achieved many great things during his life, but his most well-known is successfully leading the resistance to South Africa’s policy of apartheid in the 20th century, during which he was infamously imprisoned at Robben Island. One quote that truly inspires us is:

“If you want the cooperation of humans around you, you must make them feel they are important – and you do that by being genuine and humble.”

#3. In third we find Guatama Buddha, revered as the founder of the religion Buddhism.

As a philosopher, meditator and spiritual teacher who lived in ancient India, he still inspires millions of people around the globe, regardless of creed, culture or religion.

Perhaps this quote is one in which we can find true value, mindfulness and peace:

“Every morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most.”

Most Searched for Inspirational Women Leaders in the World

We also compiled a list of women leaders to find out which ones we search for most to find inspiration.

Poet and author Maya Angleou is way ahead in 1st place with 71,000 searches per month for her famous quotes.

By sticking to her awe-inspiring words below, we’ll all find motivation to achieve what we wish or hope for in life, and in some style:

“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.”

Other most searched for female leaders include Mother Teresa and Former Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Most Searched for Inspirational Leaders in UK & US

In the UK, somewhat predictably, us Brits seek out Winston Churchill, the former Prime Minister who led us to victory in World War 2. Each month we search for his quotes over 15,000 times.

Although not thought by all, in terms of leadership qualities, Churchill is talked about as one of the most well-known and influential in history. Just some of his best leadership traits included bravery, courageousness and perseverance.

His quote on courage relates to us all here at TSW:

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal, it is the courage to continue that counts.”

Across the Atlantic Ocean in the US, way ahead again in 1st place with over 48,000 searches per month is Maya Angelou, a truly influential and inspiring woman who, over 50 years, is credited with a whole range of plays, films, TV shows and poems.

She has even published seven autobiographies, received dozens of awards and more than 50 honorary degrees – some achievement!

*for UK and US, we only used search volume data to rank leaders for each country. 

Most Searched for Inspirational Leaders by Country

All across the globe, we find leaders of different creed, culture, age, religion and background. For true great leadership, there is no prerequisite, which is something we can all take inspiration from.

Hover over the map above to find out which leader’s quotes are most searched for in your country. 



We started by sourcing a list of the most inspirational leaders from analysing the number of monthly Google searches for “leadership quotes” firstly, and “quotes” second in each country in the world, using data from ahrefs keyword planner.

We then ranked the top 200+ most searched “leaders + quotes” based on the number of searches and the number of times they appeared in 1st, 2nd and 3rd in each country, using a unique scoring index to give each a combined total score.

When looking at UK and US lists, we sourced the most inspirational leaders using relevant leadership articles and ahrefs keyword planner and combined search volumes of {name/surname} + {“leadership quotes”/”quotes”}

*Some keywords/leaders were removed or not considered as they were deemed inappropriate or inaccurate to the intent of the research. 

*Not all countries were included, due to null data.

All supporting data can be found here.

Image Credits

Picture of Matthew Channell
Matthew Channell
Matthew is TSW Training’s Commercial Director. He writes about performance focussed learning, leadership, and management approaches that have real-world, sustainable impact.
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