The 50 Best Quotes About Leadership

Over the years, I've come across some great thoughts on how to be an effective leader, and when I find these thoughts, I jot them down in a notebook. I have quotes on all kinds of things, from faith and marriage to sports and, yes, leadership. I've narrowed down my list of the best leadership quotes to just 50. Not every one is something I agree with 100%, but rather, these are the leadership quotes that have made me think and reevaluate my own leadership strategies. Leadership, at least for me, wasn't something that came naturally. It took learning from my own experiences as well as learning from the experiences of others, so take a minute here and see if you can do the same.

  1.  "To handle yourself, use your head; to handle others, use your heart." -- Eleanor Roosevelt
  2.  "Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson
  3.  "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." -- Ronald Reagan
  4.  "Leadership is not about titles, positions, or flowcharts. It is about one life influencing another." -- John C. Maxwell
  5.  "Don't tell people how to do things; tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results." -- George S. Patton Jr.
  6.  "Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other." -- John F. Kennedy
  7.  "He who cannot be a good follower cannot be a good leader." -- Aristotle
  8.  "Leaders must be close enough to relate to others but far enough ahead to motivate them." -- John C. Maxwell
  9.  "I cannot trust a man to control others who cannot control himself." -- Robert E. Lee
  10.  "Your first and foremost job as a leader is to take charge of your own energy and then help to orchestrate the energy of those around you." -- Peter F. Drucker
  11.  "Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things." -- Peter F. Drucker
  12.  "No great manager or leader ever fell from heaven; it's learned, not inherited." -- Tom Northup
  13.  "Average leaders raise the bar on themselves; good leaders raise the bar for others; great leaders inspire others to raise their own bar." -- Orrin Woodward
  14.  "The growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership." -- Harvey S. Firestone
  15.  "Too many kings can ruin an army." -- Homer
  16.  "A good leader leads the people from above them. A great leader leads the people from within them." -- M.D. Arnold
  17.  "Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it." -- Dwight Eisenhower
  18.  "Delegating work works, provided the one delegating works, too." -- Robert Half
  19.  "The very essence of leadership is that you have to have vision. You can't blow an uncertain trumpet." -- Theodore M. Hesburgh
  20.  "It is absolutely necessary... for me to have persons that can think for me as well as execute orders." -- George Washington
  21.  "A leader takes people where they would never go on their own." -- Hans Finzel
  22.  "If you can't swallow your pride, you can't lead. Even the highest mountain had animals that step on it." -- Jack Weatherford
  23.  "The leadership team is the most important asset of the company and can be its worst." -- Med Jones
  24.  "A CEO's performance is as good as the performance of his middle managers." -- Med Jones
  25.  "Victory breeds victory. Leadership summons participation." -- Ellen Shaffer
  26.  "A leader has to command confidence and consent." -- John Christopher
  27.  "Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion." -- Jack Welch
  28.  "Leadership is a two-way street, loyalty up and loyalty down." -- Grace Murray Hopper
  29.  "Stories are the single most powerful weapon in a leader's arsenal." -- Howard Gardner
  30.  "The task of leadership is not to put greatness into humanity but to elicit it, for the greatness is already there." -- John Buchan
  31.  "Leadership is the art of giving people a platform for spreading ideas that work." -- Seth Godin
  32.  "It's not about you. It's about them." -- Clint Eastwood
  33.  "Real leaders are ordinary people with extraordinary determinations." -- John Seaman Garns
  34.  "Leadership is being the first egg in the omelet." -- Jarod Kintz
  35.  "Leadership is a potent combination of strategy and character. But if you must be without one, be without the strategy." -- Norman Schwarzkopf
  36.  "Successful leaders see the opportunities in every difficulty rather than the difficulty in every opportunity." -- Reed Markham
  37.  "'Tis skill, not strength, that governs a ship." -- Thomas Fuller
  38.  "Ninety percent of leadership is the ability to communicate something people want." -- Diane Feinstein
  39.  "A noble leader answers not to the trumpet calls of self-promotion but to the hushed whispers of necessity." -- Mollie Marti
  40.  "If you want people to to think, give them intent, not instruction." -- David Marquet
  41.  "You accomplish exactly as much as the people who serve you decide you'll accomplish and nothing more." -- Orson Scott Card
  42.  "To function efficiently, any group of people or employees must have faith in their leader." -- Capt. Bligh
  43.  "A leader should demonstrate his thoughts and opinions through his actions, not through his words." -- Jack Weatherford
  44.  "Servant leadership is an oxymoron. All true leadership is servanthood." -- Todd Stocker
  45.  "Delegation is not a binary thing. There are shades of gray between a dictatorship and an anarchy." -- Jurgen Appelo
  46.  "If you want to listen, don't talk. If you want to talk, listen first." -- Norbert Harms
  47.  "Leadership is giving out far more than one expects in direct return. The rewards are intangible, yet priceless." -- T. Jay Taylor
  48.  "A true leader doesn't lead its pack but gets followed by those who respect." -- Noa C. Kings
  49.  "There is a leader in every manager; there is not a manager in every leader." -- Gert Van Mol
  50.  "Humble leaders trust more easily because they realize that the world does not rest solely on their shoulders." -- Shandel Slaten

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