Throughout history powerful leaders have given speeches and written eloquent speeches, to ensure that their followers would be obedient and obediently follow them. Many of these leaders would also give quotes about leadership, which demonstrates what they actually think about themselves as a leader.
Whether you’re looking for motivation or inspiration, leadership quotes are a great place to start because they cover all sorts of topics and can be applied to many different situations.
The Power of Positive Leadership Quotes
As the old saying goes, “actions speak louder than words.” Positive leadership quotes are an incredible way to remind yourself of powerful lessons. This is especially true for anyone who is new to their position of authority. The following inspirational quotes will help you develop knowledge of what it means to be an insightful leader.
The Difference Between Leadership and Management Quotes
Leadership and management are two different concepts, but they do have a few similarities. Both leadership and management help an organization grow, but each fulfills a different role. Leadership is about keeping the people in the organization happy and motivated to work hard. Management is more about organizing tasks so projects can be completed on time.
Management vs Leadership Quotes
- “Managers help people see themselves as they are; leaders help people to see themselves better than they are.” – Winston Churchill
- “Control is not leadership; management is not leadership; leadership is leadership. If you seek to lead, invest at least 50% of your time in leading yourself—your own purpose, ethics, principles, motivation, and conduct. Invest at least 20% leading those with authority over you and 15% leading your peers.” – Dee Hock
- “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” – Peter Drucker
- “The manager administers; the leader innovates. The manager has a short-range view; the leader has a long-range perspective. The manager asks how and when; the leader asks what and why. The manager has his eye on the bottom line; the leader has his eye on the horizon. The manager accepts the status quo; the leader challenges it.” – Warren Bennis
- “Effective leadership is putting first things first. Effective management is discipline, and carrying it out.
Stephen Covey.” – Stephen Covey
- “Lead and inspire people. Don’t try to manage and manipulate people. Inventories can be managed but people must be led.” – Ross Perot
The Dichotomy of Leadership Quotes
There are many different views on leadership, but one thing that everyone agrees with is that good leadership has an impact on the people around them.
What makes a good leader? How are leaders made? Opinions about leadership are often polarizing, for example, that one quote will express one opinion while another could be completely opposite. But no matter what side of the spectrum they fall on, each quote holds something valuable to the reader.
Quotes by Jocko Willink
John Gretton “Jocko” Willink is a retired United States Navy SEAL officer, author, and podcaster. He served as commander of SEAL Team Three from December 2002 to June 2004 and as commanding officer of Naval Special Warfare Group One from July 2006 to March 2008.
In 2007 he deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom where his team was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for combat operations in Fallujah.
In 2010 he co-founded Echelon Front, a leadership consulting company based on lessons learned during his 25 years as a US Navy SEAL officer, which has been profiled by Fortune Magazine and The New York Times.
- “Leadership capital is the recognition that there is a finite amount of power that any leader possesses.”
- “As a leader, you have to balance the dichotomy, to be resolute where it matters but never inflexible and uncompromising on matters of little importance to the overall good of the team and the strategic mission.”
- “So as a leader, it is critical to balance the strict discipline of standard procedures with the freedom to adapt, adjust, and maneuver to do what is best to support the overarching commander’s intent and achieve victory. For leaders, in combat, business, and life, be disciplined, but not rigid.”
- “With Extreme Ownership, you are responsible for everything in your world. But you can’t make every decision. You have to empower your team to lead, to take ownership. So you have to give them ownership.”
- “An important part of being a leader is to be humble enough to see beyond his or her own needs.”
Leadership Quotes by Famous People and Great Leaders
Many great leaders have come and gone, yet their words are timeless. Whether you are a business owner or a student, these leadership quotes by famous people and great leaders can be used to inspire you to push through your toughest times.
Quotes by Mahatma Gandhi
Mahatma Gandhi is considered to be one of the most important and influential leaders in history. As a leader of India’s independence movement, he was always striving for peace and harmony.
He would not retaliate against those who abused him or his followers; instead, he held firm to his belief that nonviolent protest was the best way forward. His life’s work has been an inspiration to activists such as Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, and others around the world.
Gandhi is recognized as one of the most influential spiritual figures of this century. He helped to shape modern India with his philosophy, social reforms, and nonviolent methods for achieving change.
- “I suppose leadership at one time meant Muscles. But today it means getting along with People.”
- “The history of the world is full of men who rose to leadership, by sheer force of self-confidence, bravery, and tenacity.”
- “There go my people. I must follow them, for I am their leader.”
Quotes by Nelson Mandela
Nelson Mandela is a former president of South Africa. He has received more than 250 awards, including the Nobel Peace Prize.
He was imprisoned for 27 years under apartheid, but after his release in 1990, he became an important international figure who helped lead the fight against global poverty and AIDS.
Mandela has been praised as one of the most influential people in history, with many sources labeling him “the father of modern democracy.”
- “A leader is like a shepherd. He stays behind the flock, letting the most nimble go out ahead, whereupon the others follow, not realizing that all along they are being directed from behind.”
- “It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership.”
Quotes by Martin Luther King
African-American Baptist minister Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a leader of the Civil Rights Movement in America, has been remembered for his nonviolent tactics inspired by Mahatma Gandhi’s religion of Hinduism.
He integrated those tactics into Christian beliefs when it came to fighting against segregation laws through peaceful resistance or civil disobedience where people were willing to destroy their property out of principle if necessary without harming anyone else.
They felt like violence would not solve anything except make things worse than before making people suspect each other even more so than ever which only fuels hate all around leading nowhere fast either way.
- “A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.”
- “Leadership never ascends from the pew to the pulpit, but invariably descends from the pulpit to the pew.”
Quotes by Colin Powell
Colin Powell is a retired four-star general in the United States Army. He was the first African American to serve as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and served under three presidents: George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush.
Colin Powell became an international figure during Operation Desert Storm when he was appointed by President George H.W. Bush to be Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs (commonly known as “National Security Advisor”).
- “Leadership is solving problems. The day soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them.”
- “Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers, who can cut through argument, debate, and doubt to offer a solution everybody can understand.”
- “Never neglect small details, even to the point of being a pest. Moments of stress, confusion, and fatigue are exactly when mistakes happen. And when everyone else’s mind is dulled or distracted, the leaders must be doubly vigilant. Always check ‘small things.”
Leadership Quotes from Women
Women have been some of the most influential and effective leaders of all time. They have made significant contributions to the world as innovators, advocates, scientists, and motivators.
Quotes by Queen Elizabeth II
Queen Elizabeth II, also known as the Queen of England, is a member of the British royal family and the longest-reigning monarch in British history.
She is a woman of many firsts as she was the first British monarch to be crowned on television, the first to visit China, and also became Canada’s longest-reigning monarch in 2017.
In addition to being a mother and grandmother, she holds various titles such as Head of Commonwealth Countries (the countries that were once part of the British Empire), Supreme Governor of the Church Of England, and Defender Of The Faith among others.
- “It has perhaps always been the case that the waging of peace is the hardest form of leadership of all.”
- “I know of no single formula for success. But over the years I have observed that some attributes of leadership are universal and are often about finding ways of encouraging people to combine their efforts, their talents, their insights, their enthusiasm, and their inspiration to work together.”
- “I cannot lead you into battle. I do not give you laws or administer justice but I can do something else – I can give my heart and my devotion to these old islands and to all the peoples of our brotherhood of nations.”
Quotes by Margaret Thatcher
Margaret Thatcher was the first female Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. She has been described as one of the most influential people in modern history, and her tenure as Prime Minister is often cited as among the greatest periods in modern British political history.
She led a revolution that changed Britain’s economy, society, and standing in world affairs, helping turn what had been seen by many at its low point just four years earlier into “the largest peacetime majority ever achieved by a democratic government.”
- “Any leader has to have a certain amount of steel in them, so I am not that put out being called the Iron Lady.”
- “If you are guided by opinion polls, you are not practicing leadership — you are practicing followership.”
- “Leadership is about having principles. A leader must have a vision and principles that will endure for all time and must always be true to these principles, applying them to changing circumstances.”
Quotes by Eleanor Roosevelt
Eleanor Roosevelt is best known as the “First Lady of the World.” She served her country as First Lady during Franklin D. Roosevelt’s four terms in office, from 1933 to 1945. During this time, she was a powerful advocate for civil rights, equality for women, and world peace.
She left an enduring legacy through her work with various organizations including The National Youth Administration (NYA), the Women’s Division of the Democratic Party, the American Association of University Women (AAUW), and the United Nations Association (UNA).
Eleanor fought tirelessly on behalf of those who had no voice by often speaking out about issues that were controversial at that time such as racial discrimination or discrimination based on gender.
- “To handle yourself, use your head; to handle others, use your heart.”
- “A good leader inspires people to have confidence in the leader, a great leader inspires people to have confidence in themselves.”
- “Perhaps in His wisdom, the Almighty is trying to show us that a leader may chart the way, may point out the road to lasting peace, but that many leaders and many peoples must do the building.”
Leadership Quotes from Famous CEOs
Many famous CEOs have led their companies to great success, and their words of wisdom are valuable to anyone who wants to be successful in the business world. Here are some quotes from CEOs that can help you lead your company in the right direction.
Quotes by Indra Nooyi
Indra Nooyi was the Chairman and CEO of PepsiCo, Inc., a position she has held since 2006. She was named one of TIME Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World” ten years in a row, from 2008 through 2017.
Nooyi joined PepsiCo as Senior Vice President for Corporate Strategy and Planning in 1994. After working her way up to lead various company divisions, including responsibility for all global operations outside North America, she became president and CFO in 2001 before being named CEO six years later.
Under Nooyi’s leadership, PepsiCo grew its net revenue by more than 60%, while also increasing shareholder return from 18% to 32%.
- “Leadership is hard to define and good leadership even harder. But if you can get people to follow you to the ends of the earth, you are a great leader.”
- “As a leader, I am tough on myself and I raise the standard for everybody; however, I am very caring because I want people to excel at what they are doing so that they can aspire to be me in the future.”
- “The one thing I have learned as a CEO is that leadership at various levels is vastly different. When I was leading a function or a business, there were certain demands and requirements to be a leader. As you move up the organization, the requirements for leading that organization don’t grow vertically; they grow exponentially.”
Quotes by Simon Sinek
Simon Sinek is an author, speaker, and CEO of the non-profit organization The Leader’s Formula. He has written three best-selling books about leadership, Millennials in the workplace, and how companies can inspire action. His TED talk on How Great Leaders Inspire Action has over 30 million views.
Sinek presents his ideas through stories that capture people’s attention because they are relevant to everyone, everywhere. He speaks at Fortune 500 companies around the world including Google, Apple, Amazon, and General Electric.
- “A leader’s job is not to do the work for others, it’s to help others figure out how to do it themselves, to get things done, and to succeed beyond what they thought possible.”
- “When we tell people to do their jobs, we get workers. When we trust people to get the job done, we get leaders.”
- “The great leaders are not the strongest, they are the ones who are honest about their weaknesses. Great leaders are not the smartest; they are the ones who admit how much they don’t know. Great leaders can’t do everything; they are the ones who look to others to help them. Great leaders don’t see themselves as great; they see themselves as human.”
Quotes by Jack Welch
Jack Welch is an American businessman. He was the chairman and CEO of General Electric from 1981 to 2001. During his tenure, he transformed GE into one of the most successful corporations in the world.
His leadership style was based on a set of values that became known as “the GE Way” – a way that emphasized quality, speed, self-confidence, and taking responsibility for mistakes.
- “Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.”
- “Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion.”
- “When you are a leader, your job is to have all the questions. You have to be incredibly comfortable looking like the dumbest person in the room. Every conversation you have about a decision, a proposal, or a piece of market information has to be filled with you saying, What if? and Why not? and How come?”
Quotes by Norman Schwarzkopf
General Norman Schwarzkopf commanded coalition forces during Operation Desert Storm in 1991 as a fourth-star general in the United States Army. He had an illustrious career in both military service and government.
His long list of accomplishments includes commanding operation Desert Storm, defeating Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi army in Kuwait, being named Time Magazine’s “Man of the Year” for 1992, and receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President George H.W.
Bush for his contributions to world peace and security after serving nearly 40 years with honor in the U.S Army before retiring on July 4th, 1993 at Fort Bragg North Carolina where he received a rousing send-off.
- “Leadership is a potent combination of strategy and character. But if you must be without one, be without the strategy.”
- “You learn far more from negative leadership than from positive leadership. Because you learn how not to do it. And, therefore, you learn how to do it.”
- “To be an effective leader, you have to have a manipulative streak – you have to figure out the people working for you and give each task that will take advantage of his strength.”
Leadership Quotes from US Presidents
When it comes to leadership, the United States of America has had some excellent presidents. These quotes will show you that their thoughts on leadership are not only inspiring but also educate readers on some basic tenets of this very important topic.
Quotes by Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan was the 40th President of the United States, serving from 1981 to 1989. Before running for president, he was governor of California (1967-1975) and an actor in Hollywood. He also had the distinction of being the oldest person ever elected president for a first term at the time at 69 years old.
Reagan is remembered for leading America out of recession in 1983-1984 with economic policies that are now known as supply-side economics or “trickle-down” economics.
The theory that tax cuts can stimulate business investment and increase employment without raising taxes on lower-income people—and for initiating an unprecedented peacetime military buildup which contributed to ending the Cold War.
- “The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things.”
- “To grasp and hold a vision, that is the very essence of successful leadership – not only on the movie set where I learned it but everywhere.”
- “Our people look to us for leadership and nobody can provide it if we don’t. But we won’t be very effective leaders unless we can rise above the specific but secondary concerns that preoccupy our respective bureaucracies and give our governments a strong push in the right direction.”
Quotes by Barack Obama
Barack Obama was the 44th president of the United States and served from 2008-2017. He was elected to his first term as President in 2008 after serving four years as Senator of Illinois following eight years in the Illinois State Senate.
In 2004 he became the first African American presidential candidate nominated by a major party when he received over 95% of the votes at the Democratic National Convention.
- “In a world of complex threats, our security and leadership depend on all elements of our power – including strong and principled diplomacy.”
- “I always believe that ultimately, if people are paying attention, then we get good government and good leadership. And when we get lazy, as a democracy and civically start taking shortcuts, then it results in bad government and politics.”
- “When we don’t pay close attention to the decisions made by our leaders when we fail to educate ourselves about the major issues of the day when we choose not to make our voices and opinions heard, that’s when democracy breaks down. That’s when power is abused. That’s when the most extreme voices in our society fill the void that we leave. That’s when powerful interests and their lobbyists are most able to buy access and influence in the corridors of power – because none of us are there to speak up and stop them.”
Quotes by Harry Truman
Born in 1884, Harry Truman was the 33rd president of the United States. He served as vice president for two years during World War II and became President when Franklin D. Roosevelt died on April 12, 1945.
He is best known for two events: leading America to victory in World War II and then using that power to create international organizations such as NATO and SEATO, and his decision to use atomic weapons against Japan at Hiroshima and Nagasaki in order to hasten a Japanese surrender without an invasion of their main islands.
His presidency also saw a post-war economic boom which ended abruptly after he left office due to inflationary pressures from spending too much money.
- “Leadership is the ability to get men to do what they don’t want to do and like it.”
- “A leader has to lead otherwise he has no business in politics.”
- “Men make history and not the other way around. In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better.”
Quotes by Dwight Eisenhower
Dwight Eisenhower is a retired US Army General and 34th President of the United States. He was Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe during World War II, and he oversaw Operation Overlord – which is more commonly known as D-Day.
He served as president from 1953 to 1961 when his Republican Party lost control of Congress after losing three consecutive presidential elections. During his time in office, Eisenhower established NASA and increased federal funding for education by 10%.
- “The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible.”
- “Never let yourself be persuaded that any one Great Man, any one leader, is necessary to the salvation of America.”
- “A sense of humor is part of the art of leadership, of getting along with people, of getting things done.”
Quotes by George Bush
George Bush served as the 43rd President of the United States from 2001 to 2009. He led a global coalition to stop and subsequently reverse the Taliban-led, Al Qaeda-supported terrorism in Afghanistan.
After 9/11, he launched an international military campaign against the Taliban regime in Afghanistan and successfully captured Kabul with his allies.
Bush was awarded various medals for his service during World War II including Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Presidential Unit Citation with two oak leaf clusters, and Bronze Star, among others.
- “Leadership to me means duty, honor, and country. It means character, and it means listening from time to time.”
- “I have a different vision of leadership. A leader is someone who brings people together.”
- “The only way to protect our people, the only way to secure the peace, the only way to control our destiny is by our leadership — so the United States of America will continue to lead.”
Quotes by George Washington
George Washington was the first president of the United States of America. He served as President from 1789 until 1797, and he presided over a period of significant growth in the new country.
He led a successful revolution against Great Britain and established a government based on democracy, republicanism, and federalism. The Constitution is his most important legacy to date.
- “Leaders choose the company they keep.’
- “Be humble even when you are given high leadership positions.”
- “A great leader knows the value of culture.”
Quotes by John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States, was a charismatic and influential leader in American politics. The youngest person ever elected president, John F. Kennedy was an inspiring speaker who captivated audiences with his eloquence.
- “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.”
- “It is time for a new generation of leadership, to cope with new problems and new opportunities. For there is a new world to be won.”
Quotes by Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln is one of the most revered American presidents in history. Abraham Lincoln is remembered for his skillful use of the English language to convey powerful messages. He delivered some of the best-known speeches in US history like “Gettysburg Address” and “House Divided”.
- “Be with a leader when he is right, stay with him when he is still right, but, leave him when he is wrong.
- “No man is good enough to govern another man without that other’s consent.”
Leadership Quotes by Famous Authors and Writers
Since the dawn of humanity, there have been many famous writers and authors to whom we could look for inspiration. The following quotes include words of wisdom from some of the most esteemed writers and thinkers in history.
Quotes by Lao Tzu
Lao Tzu is a Chinese philosopher who founded Taoism. He is traditionally known as Lao-Tze, but his name has also been romanized as Laozi or Lau-Tzu.
He is known for being an ascetic mystic who wrote aphoristic verses that have been collected into the classic text called the “Tao Te Ching.”
- “The wicked leader is he who the people despise. A good leader is he who the people revere. A great leader is he who the people say, We did it ourselves.”
- “When the best leader’s work is done the people say, We did it ourselves.”
- “I have three precious things, which I hold fast and prize. The first is gentleness; the second is frugality; the third is humility, which keeps me from putting myself before others. Be gentle and you can be bold; be frugal and you can be liberal; avoid putting yourself before others and you can become a leader among men.”
Quotes by John Maxwell
John Maxwell is a wildly successful author and speaker. He has written more than 80 books on leadership, some of which have been translated into 50 languages. His writings have sold over 45 million copies worldwide.
- “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.’
- “Leaders must be close enough to relate to others, but far enough ahead to motivate them.”
- “Great leaders always seem to embody two seemingly disparate qualities. They are both highly visionary and highly practical.”
Quotes by Seth Godin
Seth Godin is a marketing and business guru who has been changing the way people do business for decades. He’s written 18 books that have been translated into more than 30 languages.
For over three decades, his writing has challenged conventional thinking and inspired readers to take on their own creative projects. His blog features daily insights from an entrepreneur-turned-activist.
He’s also developed many successful online courses for entrepreneurs, including Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? and Marketing in Your Own Words.
- “Leadership is the art of giving people a platform for spreading ideas that work.”
- “Faith is the unstated component in the work of a leader and I think faith is underrated.”
- “Leadership is very much an art, one that’s accomplished only by people with authentic generosity”
Quotes by Peter Drucker
Peter Drucker was a leading thinker on management, marketing, and innovation. He has written many books about his ideas, the most famous being “The Practice of Management.” His thoughts have been applied to business by thousands of CEOs all over the world.
- “The leader sees leadership as a responsibility rather than as rank and privilege.”
- “Leadership is lifting a person’s vision to higher sights, the raising of a person’s performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations.”
- “Effective leadership is not about making speeches or being liked; leadership is defined by results, not attributes.”
Quotes by Warren Bennis
Warren Bennis was an American scholar in the field of organizational behavior, a professor emeritus at the University of Southern California (USC), and author or co-author of more than 20 books.
He was one of America’s first prominent management consultants and has had considerable influence on both academic theory and business practice, notably with his work on leadership.
- “The manager accepts the status quo; the leader challenges it.”
- “Becoming a leader is synonymous with becoming yourself. It is precisely that simple and it is also that difficult.”
- “Silence – not dissent – is the one answer that leaders should refuse to accept.”
Quotes by Amy Edmondson
Amy Edmondson is a professor and organizational psychologist at Harvard Business School. She studies how organizations can create environments that promote psychological safety, which she defines as “a sense of being able to take risks without the fear of negative repercussions.”
She has authored seven books and more than 70 articles on leadership and team dynamics in high-performance settings such as hospitals, universities, professional sports teams, nuclear power plants, and Fortune 500 companies.
She was named one of TIME magazine’s “100 Most Influential People” for her pioneering work on resilience in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
- “People sit in a circle, with the intention of de-emphasizing hierarchies and instead encouraging what’s called “a leader in every chair.” – Amy Edmondson
- “As leaders, it is your job to create a safe environment for people to bring themselves to work.”
- “Frame Work. Leaders reframe the work and learn as you go.”
Leadership Quotes from Christian Leaders
Read on to find quotes from some inspirational Christian leaders, all of which offer incredible insight into leadership.
Quotes by John F. MacArthur
Calvinistic evangelical writer and pastor John F. MacArthur are known for his ministry Grace to You and for editing the MacArthur Study Bible, winner of the Gold Medallion Book Award.
- “The more a leader invests his life in people, the more effective that person will be in the Lord’s service.”
“Real leadership seeks to motivate people from the inside, by an appeal to the heart, not by external pressure and coercion.”
- “Every Christian is called to be a leader of sorts, at some level, because all of us are given the mandate to teach and to influence others.”
- “Leadership for the Christian always has a spiritual dimension. The duty of leading people carries with it certain spiritual obligations. That is as true for the Christian president of a secular company as it is for the stay-at-home mom whose sphere of leadership might extend no further than her own children. All Christians in every kind of leadership are called to be spiritual leaders.”
Quotes by John Stott
John Stott is a British Baptist minister and theologian who served as the missionary-in-residence at Trinity College, the University of Toronto from 1972 until 1992. He has authored many books and articles and is considered one of the most influential Christian leaders of his generation.
- “The authority by which the Christian leader leads is not power but love, not force but example, not coercion but reasoned persuasion. Leaders have power, but power is safe only in the hands of those who humble themselves to serve.”
- “Indignation and compassion form a powerful combination. They are indispensable to vision, and therefore to leadership.”
Quotes by John Wimber
John Wimber was an American pastor, Christian author, and musician. He founded the Vineyard Movement of churches in California during the 1970s and 1980s.
He is best known for his teaching on spiritual gifts, healing ministry, divine healing, prayer ministry, and prophetic ministry.
- “I believe God has established a gender-based elder-ship of the church… I endorse the traditional and what I consider the scriptural view of a unique leadership role for men in marriage, family, and in the church…this ultimately reflects the hierarchy of the Trinity.”
- “Many Christians and Christian leaders have been neutralized by the love of money and materialism. The homage paid to affluence becomes a burden that saps our energy as well as our love for God and other people. Through repentance and the cleansing of forgiveness, we can rid ourselves of this burden and begin to let God transform our value system. Like Jesus and Paul, we can learn to be content with what we have, living modestly in order that we may give liberally to the work of the kingdom and to meet the needs of others.”
Quotes by Jack Hyles
Jack Hyles is a man who has come to be known for his leadership in the Independent Baptist movement. His ministry, First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana, started with only 17 members and grew to include more than 20,000 people at its peak. He was also the author of many books on Christianity.
- “Leadership is made for service.”
- “The follower is as important as the leader.”
Leadership Quotes from Silicon Valley and Wall Street
Where can you find some of the most important people in the world? Silicon Valley and Wall Street. These two areas are responsible for leading innovation and financial growth in our country, so it’s not surprising to see that they have a lot to say about leadership, too.
Quotes by Bill Gates
Bill Gates is the founder of Microsoft, co-founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and a philanthropist. He has received many awards during his lifetime, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom and appointment as Honorary Knight Commander in the Order of St. Michael and St George.
- “To win big, you sometimes have to take big risks.”
- “As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others.”
- “Leaders need to provide strategy and direction and to give employees tools that enable them to gather information and insight from around the world. Leaders shouldn’t try to make every decision.”
Quotes by Sheryl Sandberg
Sheryl Sandberg is the Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, and she is also a former Vice President of Google. She has been ranked as one of the 100 most powerful women in the world by Forbes magazine and Time Magazine and was also included in Fortune’s list of 50 World’s Greatest Leaders.
In 2013, Sheryl founded Leanin.org, which encourages women around the world to “lean in” – to take risks and persevere through challenges.
- “True leadership stems from individuality that is honestly and sometimes imperfectly expressed…Leaders should strive for authenticity over perfection.”
- “Taking initiative pays off. It is hard to visualize someone as a leader if she is always waiting to be told what to do.”
- “There is no perfect fit when you’re looking for the next big thing to do. You have to take opportunities and make an opportunity fit for you, rather than the other way around. The ability to learn is the most important quality a leader can have.”
Quotes by Jamie Dimon
Jamie Dimon is the CEO of JPMorgan Chase, one of the largest banking institutions in America. Under his leadership, JPMorgan Chase has grown from being America’s second-biggest bank to being one of the world’s largest banks by assets, with more than 2 million employees globally and $2 trillion in customer deposits.
- “..And if you’re going to be a leader, you know what I ask myself? Would I want to work for you in this job? Would I let my children work for you? Would I give you this job if I wasn’t there to provide oversight? If you went running another company, would I, as an investor, invest in that company?..”
- “We have built a very good company, and we’re proud of it. We also recognize that much of it has been built on the shoulders of the thousands of employees and leaders who have worked here before us.”
Leadership Quotes from Sportsmen
Some of the most inspirational leaders in recent memory have come from the sports world. Leadership is not just for politicians or CEOs, it can be found all around us in many different forms. With this being said, take a look at these leadership quotes from prominent athletes to get an idea of what it takes to be a leader. Quotes by Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant is one of the most respected and admired athletes in the world. His work ethic, competitive spirit, and love for basketball were second to none. He’s known as “The Black Mamba” on the court because of his ability to strike fear into opponents with his deadly moves on offense and defense.
Bryant enjoyed a stellar 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers before retiring at age 40 following the 2015–2016 season. The 18-time NBA All-Star was named league MVP in 2008 and won two Olympic gold medals as a member of Team USA’s “Redeem Team.”
- “The topic of leadership is a touchy one. A lot of leaders fail because they don’t have the bravery to touch that nerve or strike that chord. Throughout my years, I haven’t had that fear.”
- “Use your success, wealth, and influence to put them in the best position to realize their own dreams and find their true purpose. Put them through school, set them up with job interviews, and help them become leaders in their own right. Hold them to the same level of hard work and dedication that it took for you to get to where you are now, and where you will eventually go.”
- “Leadership is lonely … I’m not going to be afraid of confrontation to get us to where we need to go. There’s a big misconception that people think winning or success comes from everybody putting their arms around each other and singing kumbaya and patting them on the back when they mess up, and that’s just not reality. If you are going to be a leader, you are not going to please everybody. You have to hold people accountable. Even if you have that moment of being uncomfortable.”
Quotes by Larry Bird
Larry Bird is a retired American professional basketball player who played for the Boston Celtics from 1979 to 1992. He was known as one of the best shooters in NBA history, and his legacy still lives on today with many people naming him as their favorite player.
Bird led his team to three championships and won the league’s Most Valuable Player award three times. In 2008, he was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and had his jersey number retired by the Celtics.
- “Leadership is diving for a loose ball, getting the crowd involved, getting other players involved. It’s being able to take it as well as dish it out. That’s the only way you’re going to get respect from the players.”
- “Leadership is getting players to believe in you. If you tell a teammate you’re ready to play as tough as you’re able to, you’d better go out there and do it. Players will see right through a phony. And they can tell when you’re not giving it all you’ve got.”
Quotes by Don Shula
Don Shula is a football coach who has won a record 347 games as head coach of the Miami Dolphins. He’s been inducted into both the Canadian and American Football Halls of Fame and was named “Coach of the Century” by Sports Illustrated.
In 1972, he led his team to an undefeated season and Super Bowl victory, which would become known as “the perfect season.” In addition to coaching football, Don also coached lacrosse at Johns Hopkins University for three years in the 1950s.
- “My responsibility is leadership, and the minute I get negative, that is going to have an influence on my team.”
- “The problem with most leaders today is they don’t stand for anything. Leadership implies movement toward something, and convictions provide that direction. If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.”
- “Lots of leaders want to be popular. I never cared about that. I want to be respected.”
Quotes by Vince Lombardi
Vince Lombardi was a man who knew what he wanted and how to go about getting it. He was an American football coach and an executive in the National Football League. He is best known as the head coach of the Green Bay Packers during their glory years in the 1960s, where his team won five World Championships, including Super Bowl I and II, and three NFL championships.
- “Leaders are made, they are not born. They are made by hard effort, which is the price that all of us must pay to achieve any goal that is worthwhile.”
- “The leader can never close the gap between himself and the group. If he does, he is no longer what he must be. He must walk a tightrope between the consent he must win and the control he must exert.”
Inspiring Leadership Development Quotes
Developing leadership skills can be a difficult process, but a few inspirational quotes can help keep you going.
Leadership Quotes for College Students
Helping college students learn to be leaders is an important step in their transition from adolescence. There are many leadership lessons that these young adults should learn before they leave their years of higher education. Here are a few quotes to inspire and guide them on their journey.
- “The only real training for leadership is leadership.”– Anthony Jay
- “A great leader’s courage to fulfill his vision comes from passion, not position.” – John Maxwell
- “Today a reader, tomorrow a leader.” – Margarett Fuller
Leadership Quotes for Millennials
Let’s face it: being a boss is hard. There’s a lot to juggle day-to-day, and as a millennial, sometimes it can be difficult to find the balance between your personal and professional life. But don’t let the difficulties of leadership stop you from striving for a position of power.
Here are four inspirational quotes from leaders throughout history that will give you the push to go after what may seem impossible.
- “Leaders understand the ultimate power of relationships.” – Tom Peters
- “Good leaders need a positive agenda, not just an agenda of dealing with the crisis.” – Michael Porter
- “Be more concerned with your character than with your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.” – John Wooden
- “Leaders need to be optimists. Their vision is beyond the present.” – Rudy Giuliani
Leadership Quotes for People Who Struggle
Many people feel stuck in their lives. They’re not sure what they want to do, they may not know how to make it happen, and they may not even have the energy to figure it out. These are some leadership quotes that might help people who are struggling with finding their way.
- “All of the great leaders have had one characteristic in common: it was the willingness to confront unequivocally the major anxiety of their people in their time. This, and not much else, is the essence of leadership.” – John Kenneth Galbraith
- “Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.” – Dale Carnegie
- “The things we fear most in organizations – fluctuations, disturbances, imbalances — are the primary sources of creativity.”
15 Funniest Leadership Quotes
Leadership is not a science, but rather an art, with no set course of study. What makes a successful leader depends on the situation they are placed in. There are many styles of being a leader, but most people find that humor is the attribute that helps them to do their best work.
After all, it’s difficult to motivate employees or keep morale up if they’re very serious all the time.
- “The question, ‘Who ought to be boss?’ is like asking, ‘Who ought to be the tenor in the quartet?’ Obviously, the man who can sing tenor.” – Henry Ford
- “Don’t tell people how to do things, tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results.” – George Patton
- “Leadership involves finding a parade and getting in front of it.” – John Naisbitt
- “I must follow the people. Am I not their leader?” – Benjamin Disraeli
- “Remember the difference between a boss and a leader. A boss says, Go! A leader says, Let’s go!”– George Kelly
- “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill
- “People who think they know everything are a great annoyance to those of us who do.”– Isaac Asimov
- “Only one man in a thousand is a leader of men — the other 999 follow women.” – Groucho Marx
- “People who enjoy meetings should not be in charge of anything.” – Thomas Sowell
- “Leadership is your ability to hide your panic from others.” – Laozi
- “The problem with being a leader is that you’re never sure if you’re being followed or chased.” – Claire Murray
- “Leader. Ship. The word ‘ship’ is hidden inside the word ‘leadership,’ as its… derivation.” – Michael Scott
- “First rule of leadership: everything is your fault.” – A Bug’s Life
- “Leadership is being the first egg in the omelet.”– Jarod Kintz
- “I’m a leader, not a follower. Unless it’s a dark place, then you are going first.” – Unknown
Top 5 Powerful Leadership Quotes of All Times
Leadership is not about titles. It is about empowerment. If you want to be a good leader, find ways to empower your team and people in general. Here are the top 5 quotes of all time that will help you be a better leader by using them as reminders:
- “A leader is a dealer in hope.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
- “The art of leadership is saying no, not yes. It is very easy to say yes.” – Tony Blair
- “Mountaintops inspire leaders but valleys mature them.” – Winston Churchill
- “The leader is one who, out of the clutter, brings simplicity… out of discord, harmony… and out of difficulty, opportunity.” – Albert Einstein
- “Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person. Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.” – Mother Teresa
Leadership Quotes During Pandemic
The world is going through a pandemic right now, and it has been a difficult time for many people. The coming years will be very important for figuring out how to deal with the pandemic and who should lead the way. In this crisis moment, we must remember that we all have a leadership role in our lives.
In this day and age when leaders are seen as being scarce, it is necessary to look at quotes from various leaders from around the world.
- “Bringing an empathetic mindset to culture, leadership, and communications has never been more important than it has over the past year.” – Roula Amire
- “With the current health crisis changing norms, work-life balance is no longer a binary concept, but one that has evolved into a challenging confluence of needs between work, home, and family, all under one roof. As a leader in this new paradigm, it’s important to provide employees with flexibility in how and when their work gets done, and trust and empower them to find the right life balance in these trying times.” – James Parker, CEO, Masergy
- “The best thing we can do as leaders right now is to put humanity above the almighty dollar. For Gold’s Gym, that meant making the difficult decision last month to temporarily shut down operations of all company-owned gyms due to COVID-19. While this puts a strain on our business, I knew it was essential that we put the health and safety of our customers and employees at the front. We can’t control how these events will turn out, or when this will all come to an end, but we are confident that “this too shall pass.” And in the meantime, I’m working around the clock with my team to come up with alternative ways to serve our members from the safety of their homes and to simultaneously keep the spirits of my team up. Consistent communication with all parties – our members, our franchisees, our corporate team – has been a key piece in reassuring everyone that all initiatives put in place during this time of uncertainty are designed with the greater good in mind.” – Adam Zeitsiff, President&CEO, Gold’s Gym
- “In a crisis, it’s easy to panic and throw out your game plan. My advice is to avoid that temptation. As the COVID-19 outbreak became real, our leadership team turned to the guiding principles we established years ago. While we’ve shifted priorities, adhering to these principles helps us remain disciplined and gives us a framework for decision-making. As a result, our franchise partners and team members understand and embrace the actions we are taking. A&W is weathering the crisis well because of that. I believe we will emerge an even stronger organization.” – Kevin Bazner, President & CEO, A&W Restaurants
- “To lead a company, especially in a time of unprecedented global crisis, I find we are laser-focused on our purpose. We know the how, what, and why we exist. The team and I have never communicated better. Through great communication, we’re learning, we’re adapting, we’ve become more nimble, efficient and effective.” – Mark Del Rosso, President & CEO, Genesis Motor North America
Top 20 Short Leadership Quotes for Inspiration
The following quotes will inspire you to take action and show leadership. You can learn about different methods of leadership and how to empower your team with these short, powerful quotes.
- “There is no growth in the comfort zone.” – Jocko Willink
- “Earn your leadership every day.” – Michael Jordan
- “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.”– Steve Jobs
- “Leadership comes with great responsibilities.” – George Washington
- “The only safe ship in a storm is leadership.” – Faye Wattleton
- “Leaders grasp nettles.”– David Ogilvy
- “Leadership distilled down to 3 words: Make a difference.” – Robin Sharma
- “Leadership does not depend on being right.” – Ivan Illich
- “The function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers” – Ralph Nader
- ”Leadership is unlocking people’s potential to become better” – Bill Bradley
- ”Leadership consists of picking good men and helping them do their best” – Chester W. Nimitz
- “Leadership is influence” – John C. Maxwell
- “Leadership is about taking responsibility, not making excuses” – Mitt Romney
- “Leadership is solving problems.” – Colin Powell
- “You don’t have to hold a position in order to be a leader.” – Henry Ford
- “Leadership is defined by results, not attributes.” – Peter F. Drucker
- “Actions not words, are the ultimate results of leadership” – Bill Owen
- “Leadership comes in small, act as well as bold strokes” – Carly Fiorina
- “The art of communication is the language of leadership” – James Humes
- “Leadership is about vision and responsibility, not power” – Seth Berkley
Essential Leadership Characteristics, Attributes, and Qualities Quotes
In today’s knowledge-driven world, leadership skills are critical to being successful. The following quotes illustrate some of the essential qualities and characteristics of a good leader.
“Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.” – Warren Bennis
“Great leaders harness personal courage, capture the hearts and minds of others, and empower new leaders to make the world a better place.” – Maxine Driscoll
“The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, a football field, in an army, or in an office.” – Dwight Eisenhower
“I have three precious things which I hold fast and prize. The first is gentleness; the second is frugality; the third is humility, which keeps me from putting myself before others. Be gentle and you can be bold; be frugal and you can be liberal; avoid putting yourself before others and you can become a leader among men.” – Laozi
“Leadership is about empathy. It is about having the ability to relate to and connect with people for the purpose of inspiring and empowering their lives.” – Oprah Winfrey
“Concentrate on the few things that will produce the greatest results. Force yourself to set priorities. Do first things first – and second things not at all. ” – Peter Drucker
“Leadership is based on inspiration, not domination; on cooperation, not intimidation.” – William ArthurWood
“Being positive in a negative situation is not naive. It’s leadership.” – Ralph Marston
Key Leadership Skills and Values Quotes
Leadership skills consist of all sorts of non-tangibles. Things like empathy, strong communication skills, charisma, and self-confidence. These skills are not always easy to maintain but they are essential if you want to be an effective leader.
“Leadership is defined by results, not attributes.” – Peter Drucker
Effective Communication Skills
“The art of communication is the language of leadership.” – James Humes
“Team leadership is the secret that makes common people achieve uncommon results.” – Ifeanyi Onuoha
“Not all readers are leaders but all leaders are readers.” – Harry Truman
Effective Conflict Management
“Leadership cannot just go along to get along. Leadership must meet the moral challenge of the day.” – Jesse Jackson
Ethical practice and civic-mindedness
“The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly.” – Jim Rohn
“Learning is not a one-time event or a periodic luxury. Great leaders in great companies recognize that the ability to constantly learn, innovate, and improve is vital to their success.” – Amy Edmondson
Leadership Style Quotes
Successful leaders understand that leadership is more than just a skill set. It has to do with the ability to inspire and motivate people, as well as having the confidence and knowledge necessary to make decisions. As such, the most successful leaders are those who have a certain style of leadership.
The coaching leadership style is a way of managing people that is effective and efficient. In a coaching leadership style, employees are provided with ample opportunities for feedback and they have significant input into decision-making.
This type of management style helps to motivate employees by giving them the opportunity to work together as a team.
“The boss drives people; the leader coaches them. The boss depends on authority; the leader on goodwill. The boss inspires fear; the leader inspires enthusiasm. The boss says I; The leader says WE. The boss fixes the blame for the breakdown; the leader fixes the breakdown. The boss says, GO; the leader says Let’s GO!” – Harry Gordon Selfridge
In order to be a successful leader, one must have a vision for the future and know how to communicate that vision. Visionary leadership is a style of leadership that involves finding a shared vision for the future while having strong communication skills.
“For the success of any mission, it is necessary to have creative leadership. Creative leadership is vital for government, non-governmental organizations as well as industries.” – Abdul Kalam
Servant-type leadership is grounded in the belief that leaders should lead from their strengths, which are then used to empower others. Servant-type leaders are people who are always looking for ways to uplift others and support them in their career paths.
“You manage things, you lead people.” – Rear Adm. Grace Murray Hopper
Autocratic leadership is a type of leadership in which an individual leader has absolute power, and subordinates are expected to follow orders without question. With this type of leadership, leaders can enforce their authoritarian beliefs and policies on the group. This style of leadership is often seen in totalitarian countries, such as North Korea and Saudi Arabia.
“Leaders aren’t born, they are made. And they are made just like anything else, through hard work.” – Vince Lombardi
Laissez-faire type leadership is a style of management that does not involve heavy supervision and relies on the individual to take responsibility for their daily tasks. One of the ways it can be implemented is by forming an autonomous team, each member owning their own work and making decisions autonomously.
“The President is not only the leader of a party, he is the President of the whole people. He must interpret the conscience of America. He must guide his conduct by the idealism of our people.” – Herbert Hoover
Democratic or Participative Style
Participative type leadership is a form of leadership that is based on the idea of consensus. It is a management system where those who are being managed make decisions with those who manage them. It is based on the ideas of democracy and participative decision-making and typically employs a bottom-up approach to solving problems.
“Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want to do because he wants to do it.” – Dwight Eisenhower
Pacesetter-type leadership is a management style that fuses aggressiveness and managerial skills. It’s used to motivate employees by using a fast-paced approach to work, while also delegating tasks and offering long-term vision. It is a focus on the present and future, while also looking back on past events.
This type of leadership can be difficult for some people with strong introverted personalities because it’s more extroverted than other leadership styles.
“The leader who listens is the one society needs most. They don’t force their commands on people. They pay attention to their demands and set the pace for the change that society truly needs.” – Israelmore Ayivor
Transformational leadership is a style of leadership that focuses on creating extraordinary results. This leadership style has been shown to be beneficial in the workplace, as it helps managers and employees work together to achieve goals; also known as the “big picture.”
Transformational leaders typically care about their team and often inspire them with passion and excitement. Leaders use this approach because they want to make a difference in the world by changing the way people think for the better.
“Good leadership consists of showing average people how to do the work of superior people.” – John D. Rockefeller
Transactional type leadership gives employees what they need to succeed and nothing more. The leader is interested in the needs of the company and not the needs of the individuals. Therefore, this type of leadership is strictly focused on measurable success.
“The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand.” – Vince Lombardi
A bureaucratic leadership style is one in which the leader’s main concern is establishing rules, laws, and regulations for employees to follow. The goal of this form of leadership is to maintain a level of consistency within the organization.
The leaders that use this style often feel that they are doing what’s best for everyone involved by imposing their ideas and suggestions on others.
“There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.” – Colin Powell
True Leadership Characteristics Quotes
Leadership is one of the most difficult professions to master, but also one of the most rewarding. A true leader must possess admirable character traits, like honesty and integrity. These qualities are not only desired on the job but must be used on a personal level as well.
If you want to become an effective leader it will require more than just hard work and dedication; there are certain character traits that are vital for success.
- “A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. He does not set out to be a leader, but becomes one by the equality of his actions and the integrity of his intent.” – Douglas MacArthur
- “Leadership is not a matter of authority, it is a matter of influence. A true leader teaches others to understand more, motivates them to be more, and inspires them to become more.” – Michael Josephson
- “Speaking up is only the first step. The true test is how leaders respond when people actually do speak up. The stage setting and inviting participation indeed build psychological safety. But if a boss responds with anger or disdain as soon as someone steps forward to speak up about a problem, the safety will quickly evaporate. A productive response must be appreciative, respectful, and offer a path forward.” – Amy Edmondson
- “True leaders understand that leadership is not about them but about those they serve. It is not about exalting themselves but about lifting others up.” – Sheri Dew
Best Websites for Searching for a Famous Leadership Quote
The internet is an invaluable resource for finding quotes that can be used from all walks of life. The following websites are some of the best for finding quotes by well-respected leaders:
- Brainy Quote
- Greatest Inspirational Quotes
- Think Exist
- Quote Land
- Addicted 2 Success
- Goal Cast
- Good Reads
Leadership quotes can be motivating, inspiring, and humorous – they are all over the spectrum.
One thing they have in common is that they all reflect different aspects of what it means to be a leader. Leadership is an ever-changing role that encompasses knowledge and experience with the ability to understand and relate to others on a personal level.
What does success look like for your company?