50 Heavyweight Leadership Quotes

50 Heavyweight Leadership Quotes

Some say leadership is an art. Some say leadership is a science. There were a lot of books written on the topic and a lot of approaches discussed. But there are also simple, yet powerful quotes that pack a punch and make us think about the true meaning of leadership. Here are some that resonated with me. Am I missing any good ones? Please comment and add your favorite ones to the list.

  1. “The only safe ship in a storm is leadership.” ~ Faye Wattleton
  2. “The key to successful leadership is influence, not authority.” ~ Kenneth H. Blanchard
  3. “Leaders live by choice, not by accident.” ~ Mark Gorman
  4. “Leadership is an action, not a position.” ~ Donald McGannon
  5. “The art of leadership is saying no, not yes. It is very easy to say yes.” ~ Tony Blair
  6. “The challenge of leadership is to be strong but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not a bully; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly” ~ Jime Rohn
  7. “One’s philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes… and the choices we make are ultimately our responsibility.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt
  8. “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
  9. “Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.” ~ Jack Welch
  10. “Leadership is solving problems. The day soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help or concluded you do not care. Either case is a failure of leadership.” ~ Colin Powell
  11. “Leaders aren’t born they are made. And they are made just like anything else, through hard work. And that’s the price we’ll have to pay to achieve that goal, or any goal.” ~ Vince Lombardi
  12. “Management is about arranging and telling. Leadership is about nurturing and enhancing.” ~ Tom Peters
  13. “Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.” ~ Winston Churchill
  14. “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” ~ John Quincy Adams
  15. “Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.” ~ Dwight D. Eisenhower
  16. “To handle yourself, use your head; to handle others, use your heart.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt
  17. “Leadership is not about titles, positions or flowcharts. It is about one life influencing another.” ~ John C. Maxwell
  18. “Don’t follow the crowd, let the crowd follow you.” ~ Margaret Thatcher
  19. “A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.” ~ Lao Tzu
  20. “Become the kind of leader that people would follow voluntarily; even if you had no title or position.” ~ Brian Tracy
  21. “Leaders think and talk about the solutions. Followers think and talk about the problems.” ~ Brian Tracy
  22. “I never dreamed about success. I worked for it.” ~ Estée Lauder
  23. “We are not interested in the possibilities of defeat; they do not exist.” ~ Queen Victoria
  24. “Leadership should be more participative than directive, more enabling than performing.” ~ Mary D. Poole
  25. “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” ~ Margaret Mead
  26. “Don’t be trapped by dogma—which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” ~ Steve Jobs
  27. “My job is not to be easy on people. My job is to take these great people we have and to push them and make them even better.” ~ Steve Jobs
  28. “There are two kinds of stones, as everyone knows, one of which rolls.” ~ Amelia Earhart
  29. “Leadership is a series of behaviors rather than a role for heroes.” ~ Margaret Wheatley
  30. “The secret of a leader lies in the tests he has faced over the whole course of his life and the habit of action he develops in meeting those tests.” ~ Gail Sheehy
  31. “You have to look at leadership through the eyes of the followers and you have to live the message. What I have learned is that people become motivated when you guide them to the source of their own power and when you make heroes out of employees who personify what you want to see in the organization.” ~ Anita Roddick
  32. “’Restore connection’ is not just for devices, it is for people too. If we cannot disconnect, we cannot lead. Creating the culture of burnout is opposite to creating a culture of sustainable creativity. This is something that needs to be taught in business schools. This mentality needs to be introduced as a leadership and performance-enhancing tool.” ~ Arianna Huffington
  33. “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
  34. “Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion.” ~ Jack Welch
  35. “I was never the smartest guy in the room. From the first person I hired, I was never the smartest guy in the room. And that’s a big deal. And if you’re going to be a leader – if you’re a leader and you’re the smartest guy in the world – in the room, you’ve got real problems.” ~ Jack Welch
  36. “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.
  37. “Leaders are not, as we are often led to think, people who go along with huge crowds following them. Leaders are people who go their own way without caring, or even looking to see, whether anyone is following them. “Leadership qualities” are not the qualities that enable people to attract followers, but those that enable them to do without them. They include, at the very least, courage, endurance, patience, humor, flexibility, resourcefulness, stubbornness, a keen sense of reality, and the ability to keep a cool and clear head, even when things are going badly. True leaders, in short, do not make people into followers, but into other leaders.” ~ John Holt
  38. “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” ~ John F. Kennedy
  39. “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” ~ Peter Drucker
  40. “A leader is a dealer in hope.” ~ Napoleon Bonaparte
  41. “A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don’t necessarily want to go, but ought to be.” ~ Rosalynn Carter
  42. “There is a difference between being a leader and being a boss. Both are based on authority. A boss demands blind obedience; a leader earns his authority through understanding and trust.” ~ Klaus Balkenhol
  43. “Too many companies believe people are interchangeable. Truly gifted people never are. They have unique talents. Such people cannot be forced into roles they are not suited for, nor should they be. Effective leaders allow great people to do the work they were born to do.” ~ Warren  Bennis
  44. “If you can’t swallow your pride, you can’t lead. Even the highest mountain had animals that step on it.” ~ Jack Weatherford
  45. “Leadership is the art of giving people a platform for spreading ideas that work.” ~ Seth Godin
  46. “Real leaders are ordinary people with extraordinary determinations.” ~ John Seaman Garns
  47. “Successful leaders see the opportunities in every difficulty rather than the difficulty in every opportunity” ~ Reed Markham
  48. “The secret of leadership is simple: Do what you believe in. Paint a picture of the future. Go there. People will follow.” ~ Seth Godin
  49. “Contrary to popular opinion, leadership is not a reserved position for a particular group of people who were elected or appointed, ordained or enthroned. Leadership is self-made, self-retained, self-inculcated and then exposed through a faithful, sincere and exemplary life.” ~ Israelmore Avivor
  50. “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi

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