What Symbols Represent Leadership in a Good Way?

by Sara Gates; Updated September 26, 2017

Leadership is the ability to take charge and guide the actions of others toward a goal. There are different types of leadership, such as strict, authoritarian styles, inspirational styles and the religiously grounded idea of servant leadership. In today's business world, a much greater emphasis is placed on motivational and inspirational styles of leadership. Visual representations of leadership have varied over time, but there are a few symbols widely used today that people generally associate with this kind of positive leadership.


One of the most common symbols of leadership has been the lion and it is still widely used today. As far back as ancient Egypt, images of lions have been used as symbols of the qualities of a strong leader, which are strength, courage and bravery. These qualities are still included among most concepts of leadership. The depiction of the lion is still used on military standards and statues, and is often in a pair flanking the doorways of a building, such as the New York City Public Library.


Another symbol commonly associated with leadership is an eagle. An eagle is known for soaring high and having excellent vision, two qualities that are easily translated to human traits of leadership. The bald eagle is a famous American symbol, appearing on the official seal of the United States. In addition, the Eagle Scouts are the highest level of the Boy Scouts of America program. Eagles have been a respected animal in many cultures, including Native American.

The White House

The presidential residence of the United States, the White House, is often seen as a symbol of leadership. Its resident, the President, is one of the world's most powerful leaders. While one person might feel more favorable toward that leader than another might, there is no denying that the President is the official leader of America. Ideally, the White House should symbolize democracy, freedom and effective decision-making skills.


Although it is abstract, size symbolizes leadership. If one stands out as bigger than the rest in a group of people or even stick figures, he is presumed to be the leader. In ancient Egyptian art, the king or heroic warriors was always drawn to be proportionally larger than the rest. While this does not necessarily signify motivation or inspiration, if the leader figure is depicted as the head of a group, it can be interpreted as courage. A leader is not afraid to take the first step.

About the Author

Sara Gates has been a freelance writer since 2009. Her work has been featured at numerous online outposts, primarily in the areas of travel and finer living. After years of working in the hospitality industry, she loves to share her expertise and enthusiasm regarding travel, food and hotels through her writing.

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