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104 Leadership Quotes by Famous People (LEADERS)

12 Most Famous Leadership Quotes to Inspire You (LEAD FROM THE FRONT)

Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail. - Ralph Waldo Emerson
Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will all say: we did it ourselves. - Lao Tzu
A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will all say: we did it ourselves. – Lao Tzu
Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others. - Jack Welch
Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others. – Jack Welch
Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower. - Steve Jobs
Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower. – Steve Jobs
I must follow the people. Am I not their leader? - Benjamin Disraeli
I must follow the people. Am I not their leader? – Benjamin Disraeli
Outstanding leaders go out of the way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it’s amazing what they can accomplish. - Sam Walton
Outstanding leaders go out of the way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it’s amazing what they can accomplish. – Sam Walton
Of all the things I’ve done, the most vital is coordinating those who work with me and aiming their efforts at a certain goal. - Walt Disney
Of all the things I’ve done, the most vital is coordinating those who work with me and aiming their efforts at a certain goal. – Walt Disney
A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus. - Martin Luther King. Jr.
A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus. – Martin Luther King. Jr.
I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the water to create many ripples. - Mother Teresa
I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the water to create many ripples. – Mother Teresa
A leader is a dealer in hope. - Napoleon Bonaparte
A leader is a dealer in hope. – Napoleon Bonaparte
Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power. - Abraham Lincoln
Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power. – Abraham Lincoln
You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life. - Winston Churchill
You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life. – Winston Churchill
Leadership consists of picking good men and helping them do their best.
Leadership consists of picking good men and helping them do their best.

46 Inspirational Leadership Quotes to Empower You (MOTIVATE)

“The true mark of a leader is the willingness to stick with a bold course of action — an unconventional business strategy, a unique product-development roadmap, a controversial marketing campaign — even as the rest of the world wonders why you’re not marching in step with the status quo. In other words, real leaders are happy to zig while others zag. They understand that in an era of hyper-competition and non-stop disruption, the only way to stand out from the crowd is to stand for something special.”

Bill Taylor
Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence and making sure that impact lasts in your absence. - Sheryl Sanberg
Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence and making sure that impact lasts in your absence. – Sheryl Sanberg
I suppose leadership at one time meant muscles; but today it means getting along with people. - Mahatma Gandhi
I suppose leadership at one time meant muscles; but today it means getting along with people. – Mahatma Gandhi
A good objective of leadership is to help those who are doing poorly to do well and to help those who are doing well to do even better. - Jim Rohn
A good objective of leadership is to help those who are doing poorly to do well and to help those who are doing well to do even better. – Jim Rohn
To handle yourself, use your head; to handle others, use your heart. - Eleanor Roosevelt
To handle yourself, use your head; to handle others, use your heart. – Eleanor Roosevelt
Time is neutral and does not change things. With courage and initiative, leaders change things. - Jesse Jackson
Time is neutral and does not change things. With courage and initiative, leaders change things. – Jesse Jackson
If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader. - John Quincy Adams
If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader. – John Quincy Adams
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
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

“The single biggest way to impact an organization is to focus on leadership development. There is almost no limit to the potential of an organization that recruits good people, raises them up as leaders and continually develops them.”

John Maxwell
Leaders are made, they are not born. They are made by hard effort, which is the price which all of us must pay to achieve any goal that is worthwhile. - Vince Lombardi
Leaders are made, they are not born. They are made by hard effort, which is the price which all of us must pay to achieve any goal that is worthwhile. – Vince Lombardi
The very essence of leadership is that you have to have vision. You can't blow an uncertain trumpet. - Theodore M. Hesburgh
The very essence of leadership is that you have to have vision. You can’t blow an uncertain trumpet. – Theodore M. Hesburgh
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
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
Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality. - Warren Bennis
Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality. – Warren Bennis
Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things. - Peter Drucker
Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things. – Peter Drucker
A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way. - John Maxwell
A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way. – John Maxwell
I cannot give you the formula for success, but I can give you the formula for failure, which is: Try to please everybody. - Herbert Swope
I cannot give you the formula for success, but I can give you the formula for failure, which is: Try to please everybody. – Herbert Swope

“The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not a bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly.”

Jim Rohn
The quality of a leader is reflected in the standards they set for themselves. - Ray Kroc
The quality of a leader is reflected in the standards they set for themselves. – Ray Kroc
Leadership is not about a title or a designation. It’s about impact, influence, and inspiration. - Robin S. Sharma
Leadership is not about a title or a designation. It’s about impact, influence, and inspiration. – Robin S. Sharma
A good leader leads the people from above them. A great leader leads the people from within them. - M. D. Arnold
A good leader leads the people from above them. A great leader leads the people from within them. – M. D. Arnold
People who are truly strong lift others up. People who are truly powerful bring others together. - Michelle Obama
People who are truly strong lift others up. People who are truly powerful bring others together. – Michelle Obama
The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between, the leader is a servant. - Max DePree
The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between, the leader is a servant. – Max DePree
Lead from the back and let others believe they are in front. - Nelson Mandela
Lead from the back and let others believe they are in front. – Nelson Mandela
Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other. - John F. Kennedy
Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other. – John F. Kennedy

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
If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea. - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea. – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently. - Warren Buffett
It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently. – Warren Buffett
The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The leader adjusts the sails. - John Maxwell
The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The leader adjusts the sails. – John Maxwell
Leadership is the art of giving people a platform for spreading ideas that work. - Seth Godin
Leadership is the art of giving people a platform for spreading ideas that work. – Seth Godin
You don’t have to hold a position in order to be a leader. - Henry Ford
You don’t have to hold a position in order to be a leader. – Henry Ford
Become the kind of leader that people would follow voluntarily; even if you had no title or position. - Brian Tracy
Become the kind of leader that people would follow voluntarily; even if you had no title or position. – Brian Tracy
A boss has the title, a leader has the people. - Simon Sinek
A boss has the title, a leader has the people. – Simon Sinek

“The most dangerous leadership myth is that leaders are born-that there is a genetic factor to leadership. That’s nonsense; in fact, the opposite is true. Leaders are made rather than born.”

Warren Bennis
He who has never learned to obey cannot be a good commander. - Aristotle
He who has never learned to obey cannot be a good commander. – Aristotle
We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations. - Chuck Swindoll
We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations. – Chuck Swindoll
The nation will find it very hard to look up to the leaders who are keeping their ears to the ground. - Winston Churchill
The nation will find it very hard to look up to the leaders who are keeping their ears to the ground. – Winston Churchill
One of the tests of leadership is the ability to recognize a problem before it becomes an emergency. - Arnold Glasow
One of the tests of leadership is the ability to recognize a problem before it becomes an emergency. – Arnold Glasow
We cannot lead anyone farther than we have been ourselves. - John Maxwell
We cannot lead anyone farther than we have been ourselves. – John Maxwell
If your actions create a legacy that inspires others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, then, you are an excellent leader. - Dolly Parton
If your actions create a legacy that inspires others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, then, you are an excellent leader. – Dolly Parton

“Leaders need to provide strategy and direction and to give employees the tools that enable them to gather information and insight from around the world. Leaders shouldn’t try to make every decision.”

Bill Gates
Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four hour days. - Zig Ziglar
Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four hour days. – Zig Ziglar
Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen. - Michael Jordan
Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen. – Michael Jordan
I start with the premise that the function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers. - Ralph Nader
I start with the premise that the function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers. – Ralph Nader
One voice can change a room. - Barack Obama
One voice can change a room. – Barack Obama
Do what you feel in your heart to be right, for you'll be criticized anyway. - Eleanor Roosevelt
Do what you feel in your heart to be right, for you’ll be criticized anyway. – Eleanor Roosevelt

46 Inspiring Great Leadership Quotes (GUIDANCE)

“No leader sets out to be a leader. People set out to live their lives, expressing themselves fully. When that expression is of value, they become leaders. So the point is not to become a leader. The point is to become yourself, to use yourself completely – all your skills, gifts and energies – in order to make your vision manifest. You must withhold nothing. You must, in sum, become the person you started out to be, and to enjoy the process of becoming.”

Warren Bennis
True leadership lies in guiding others to success--in ensuring that everyone is performing at their best, doing the work they are pledged to do and doing it well. - Bill Owens
True leadership lies in guiding others to success–in ensuring that everyone is performing at their best, doing the work they are pledged to do and doing it well. – Bill Owens
Keep your fears to yourself, but share your courage with others. - Robert Louis Stevenson
Keep your fears to yourself, but share your courage with others. – Robert Louis Stevenson
Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies. - Mother Teresa
Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies. – Mother Teresa
Leadership is the ability to guide others without force into a direction or decision that leaves them still feeling empowered and accomplished. - Lisa Cash Hanson
Leadership is the ability to guide others without force into a direction or decision that leaves them still feeling empowered and accomplished. – Lisa Cash Hanson
Effective leadership is not about making speeches or being liked; leadership is defined by results not attributes. - Peter Drucker
Effective leadership is not about making speeches or being liked; leadership is defined by results not attributes. – Peter Drucker

“Ultimately, leadership is not about glorious crowning acts. It’s about keeping your team focused on a goal and motivated to do their best to achieve it, especially when the stakes are high and the consequences really matter. It is about laying the groundwork for others’ success, and then standing back and letting them shine.”

Chris Hadfield
Leadership is a matter of having people look at you and gain confidence, seeing how you react. If you’re in control, they’re in control. - Tom Landry
Leadership is a matter of having people look at you and gain confidence, seeing how you react. If you’re in control, they’re in control. – Tom Landry
Don’t tell people how to do things, tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results. - George Patton
Don’t tell people how to do things, tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results. – George Patton
The growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership. - Harvey S. Firestone
The growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership. – Harvey S. Firestone
Failing organizations are usually over-managed and under-led.
Failing organizations are usually over-managed and under-led. – Stephen Covey
A leader is a person you will follow to a place you would not go by yourself. - Joel Barker
A leader is a person you will follow to a place you would not go by yourself. – Joel Barker
Real integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody’s going to know whether you did it or not. - Oprah Winfrey
Real integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody’s going to know whether you did it or not. – Oprah Winfrey

“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.”

General Colin Powell
If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. - Maya Angelou
If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. – Maya Angelou
People ask the difference between a leader and a boss. The leader leads, and the boss drives. - Theodore Roosevelt
People ask the difference between a leader and a boss. The leader leads, and the boss drives. – Theodore Roosevelt
People buy into the leader before they buy into the vision. - John Maxwell
People buy into the leader before they buy into the vision. – John Maxwell
The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, is nothing, and becomes nothing. - Leo Buscaglia
The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, is nothing, and becomes nothing. – Leo Buscaglia
The art of leadership is saying no, not saying yes. It is very easy to say yes. - Tony Blair
The art of leadership is saying no, not saying yes. It is very easy to say yes. – Tony Blair
To do great things is difficult; but to command great things is more difficult. - Friedrich Nietzsche
To do great things is difficult; but to command great things is more difficult. – Friedrich Nietzsche
Often poor leadership is masked by those with the loudest voices and strongest opinions. - Nick Fewings
Often poor leadership is masked by those with the loudest voices and strongest opinions. – Nick Fewings
The difference between a boss and a leader: a boss says ‘Go!’ – a leader says, ‘Let’s go!’ - E.M Kelly
The difference between a boss and a leader: a boss says ‘Go!’ – a leader says, ‘Let’s go!’ – E.M Kelly
People who enjoy meetings should not be in charge of anything.
People who enjoy meetings should not be in charge of anything. – Thomas Sowell

“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
I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion. - Alexander the Great
I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion. – Alexander the Great
A good leader takes a little more than his share of the blame, a little less than his share of the credit. - Arnold Glasow
A good leader takes a little more than his share of the blame, a little less than his share of the credit. – Arnold Glasow
No man will make a great leader who wants to do it all himself or get all the credit for doing it. - Andrew Carnegie
No man will make a great leader who wants to do it all himself or get all the credit for doing it. – Andrew Carnegie
A man who wants to lead the orchestra must turn his back on the crowd. - Max Lucado
A man who wants to lead the orchestra must turn his back on the crowd. – Max Lucado
The role of leadership is to transform the complex situation into small pieces and prioritize them. - Carlos Ghosn
The role of leadership is to transform the complex situation into small pieces and prioritize them. – Carlos Ghosn
Leaders think and talk about the solutions. Followers think and talk about the problems. - Brian Tracy
Leaders think and talk about the solutions. Followers think and talk about the problems. – Brian Tracy
The task of leadership is not to put greatness into humanity, but to elicit it, for the greatness is already there. - John Buchan
The task of leadership is not to put greatness into humanity, but to elicit it, for the greatness is already there. – John Buchan
The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires. - William Arthur Ward
The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires. – William Arthur Ward

“Leadership is not magnetic personality, that can just as well be a glib tongue. It is not ‘making friends and influencing people,’ that is flattery. 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.”

Peter F. Drucker
You take people as far as they will go, not as far as you would like them to go. - Jeanette Rankin
You take people as far as they will go, not as far as you would like them to go. – Jeanette Rankin
The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority. - Kenneth Blanchard
The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority. – Kenneth Blanchard
As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others. - Bill Gates
As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others. – Bill Gates
Lead and inspire people. Don’t try to manage and manipulate people. Inventories can be managed but people must be led. - Ross Parot
Lead and inspire people. Don’t try to manage and manipulate people. Inventories can be managed but people must be led. – Ross Parot
A leader is someone who holds her- or himself accountable for finding the potential in people and processes. - Brené Brown
A leader is someone who holds her- or himself accountable for finding the potential in people and processes. – Brené Brown
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
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
Leadership is a potent combination of strategy and character. But if you must be without one, be without the strategy. - Norman Schwarzkopf
Leadership is a potent combination of strategy and character. But if you must be without one, be without the strategy. – Norman Schwarzkopf
Leaders must be close enough to relate to others, but far enough ahead to motivate them. - John Maxwell
Leaders must be close enough to relate to others, but far enough ahead to motivate them. – John Maxwell
A good general not only sees the way to victory; he also knows when victory is impossible. - Polybius
A good general not only sees the way to victory; he also knows when victory is impossible. – Polybius
Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers, who can cut through argument, debate, and doubt to offer a solution everybody can understand. - Collin Powell
Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers, who can cut through argument, debate, and doubt to offer a solution everybody can understand. – Collin Powell
Management is about arranging and telling. Leadership is about nurturing and enhancing. - Tom Peters
Management is about arranging and telling. Leadership is about nurturing and enhancing. – Tom Peters
Don't necessarily avoid sharp edges. Occasionally they are necessary to leadership. - Donald Rumsfeld
Don’t necessarily avoid sharp edges. Occasionally they are necessary to leadership. – Donald Rumsfeld
Throughout the centuries there were men who took the first steps, down new roads, armed with nothing but their own vision. - Ayn Rand
Throughout the centuries there were men who took the first steps, down new roads, armed with nothing but their own vision. – Ayn Rand
The mark of a great man is one who knows when to set aside the important things in order to accomplish the vital ones. - Brandon Sanderson
The mark of a great man is one who knows when to set aside the important things in order to accomplish the vital ones. – Brandon Sanderson
In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. - Thomas Jefferson
In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. – Thomas Jefferson
Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts. - Winston Churchill
Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts. – Winston Churchill

Conclusion: This is What Makes a Good Leader

In the past, being a leader may mean being the loudest or the strongest. Today, being a leader requires emotional intelligence and excellent interpersonal skills.

To put it simply, it is not enough to have physical attributes. Being a leader in today’s world requires inspiring vision and motivating a team to work hard toward a common goal.

But that’s good news… because everyone can lead today. Leadership is not about seniority or your position in a company. It is about inspiring others and yourself to do the right thing.

Further reading:

Here are the best leadership quotes so you can talk less; listen more and be inspired to make the right decisions instead of the ‘safe’ ones.

(MUST READ)

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