The 100 Best Leadership Quotes of All Time

Life is about discovering who we are; leading is about striving to become better than we are, and helping everything and everyone around us to become better too.

Let these words inspire you, motivate you, encourage you and empower you to be the best you can be.

1. “Every time you have to speak, you are auditioning for leadership.–James Humes

2. “You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.” —Woodrow Wilson

3.”A good leader leads the people from above them. A great leader leads the people from within them.”–M. D. Arnold

4. “Don’t follow the crowd, let the crowd follow you.” —Margaret Thatcher

5. “We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.” —Kurt Vonnegut

6. “Leadership is the art of giving people a platform for spreading ideas that work.” –Seth Godin

7. “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

8. “To add value to others, one must first value others.” –John Maxwell

9. “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

10. “The task of the leader is to get their people from where they are to where they have not been.” –Henry Kissinger

11. “Treat people as if they were what they ought to be, and you help them become what they are capable of being.” –Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

12. “I suppose leadership at one time meant muscles; but today it means getting along with people.” –Mahatma Gandhi

13. “There are no office hours for leaders.” –Cardinal J. Gibbons

14. “When people talk, listen completely.” –Ernest Hemingway

15. “I can give you a six-word formula for success: Think things through–then follow through.” –Edward Rickenbacker

16. “One of the tests of leadership is the ability to recognize a problem before it becomes an emergency.” –Arnold Glasow

17. “The important thing is this: to be able to give up in any given moment all that we are for what we can become.” –DeSeaux

18. “The quality of a leader is reflected in the standards they set for themselves.” –Ray Kroc

19. “Do what you feel in your heart to be right, for you’ll be criticized anyway.” –Eleanor Roosevelt

20. “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

21. “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

22. “Becoming a leader is synonymous with becoming yourself. It is precisely that simple and it is also that difficult.” –Warren Bennis

23. “Wisdom is knowing what to do next, skill is knowing how to do it, and virtue is doing it.” –David Star Jordan

24. “Control is not leadership; management is not leadership; leadership is leadership. If you seek to lead, invest at least 50 percent of your time in leading yourself–your own purpose, ethics, principles, motivation, conduct. Invest at least 20 percent leading those with authority over you and 15 percent leading your peers.” –Dee Hock

25. “Leaders don’t inflict pain, they share pain.” –Max Depree

26. “Wise leaders generally have wise counselors because it takes a wise person themselves to distinguish them.” –Diogenes of Sinope

27. “The growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership.” –Harvey S. Firestone

28. “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right thing.” –Peter F. Drucker

29. “The function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers.” –Ralph Nader

30. “Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.” –Warren G. Bennis

31. “There exist limitless opportunities in every industry. Where there is an open mind, there will always be a frontier.” —Charles F. Kettering

32. “A leader is a person you will follow to a place you would not go by yourself.” –Joel Barker

33. “A good leader takes a little more than his share of the blame, a little less than his share of the credit.” –Arnold Glasow

34. “Effective leadership is not about making speeches or being liked; leadership is defined by results, not attributes.” –Peter F. Drucker

35. “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” –John Maxwell

36. “Leaders think and talk about the solutions. Followers think and talk about the problems.” –Brian Tracy

37. “Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.” –Dwight D. Eisenhower

38. “The things we fear most in organizations–fluctuations, distubances, imbalances–are the primary sources of creativity.” Margaret Wheatley

39. “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

40. “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

41. “The art of leadership is saying no, not saying yes. It is very easy to say yes.” –Tony Blair

42. “The price of greatness is responsibility.” –Winston Churchill

43. “A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.” –Martin Luther King Jr.

44. “Today a reader, tomorrow a leader.” –Margaret Fuller

45. “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, concerned citizens can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has.” –Margaret Mead

46. “The highest of distinctions is service to others.” –King George VI

47. “If you’re not sure where you are going, you’re liable to end up someplace else.” –Robert F. Mager

48. “Anyone can hold the helm when the sea is calm.” –Publilius Syrus

49. “Become the kind of leader that people would follow voluntarily, even if you had no title or position.” –Brian Tracy

50. “You manage things; you lead people.” –Grace Murray Hopper

51. “A great person attracts great people and knows how to hold them together.” — Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

52. “Leadership is not about titles, positions, or flowcharts. It is about one life influencing another.” –John C. Maxwell

53. “People buy into the leader before they buy into the vision.” –John C. Maxwell

54. “Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.” –Jack Welch

55. “Leadership is lifting a person’s vision to high sights, the raising of a person’s performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations.” –Peter F. Drucker

56. “Doing what is right isn’t the problem. It is knowing what is right.” –Lyndon B Johnson

57. “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” –Winston Churchill

58. “Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” –Harold R. McAlindon

59. “Keep your fears to yourself, but share your courage with others.” –Robert Louis Stevenson

60. “There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.” –Edith Wharton

61. “The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” —William Arthur Ward

62. “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

63. “No man will make a great leader who wants to do it all himself, or to get all the credit for doing it.” —Andrew Carnegie

64. “You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” –Eleanor Roosevelt

65. “You take people as far as they will go, not as far as you would like them to go.” –Jeanette Rankin

66. “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” –John F. Kennedy

67. “The role of leadership is to transform the complex situation into small pieces and prioritize them.” –Carlos Ghosn

68. “Real leadership is leaders recognizing that they serve the people that they lead.” –Pete Hoekstra

69. “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

70. “To do great things is difficult; but to command great things is more difficult.” -Friedrich Nietzsche

71. “Ninety percent of leadership is the ability to communicate something people want.”–Dianne Feinstein

72. “Effective leadership is putting first things first. Effective management is discipline, carrying it out.” –Stephen Covey

73. “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

74. “The task of leadership is not to put greatness into humanity, but to elicit it, for the greatness is already there.” –John Buchan

75. “Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.” –Dwight D. Eisenhower

76. “Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers, who can cut through argument, debate, and doubt to offer a solution everybody can understand.” –Colin Powell

77. “A leader is not an administrator who loves to run others, but someone who carries water for his people so that they can get on with their jobs.” –Robert Townsend

78. “Leadership cannot really be taught. It can only be learned.” –Harold Geneen

79. “Look over your shoulder now and then to be sure someone’s following you.” –Henry Gilmer

80. “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

81. “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” –Steve Jobs

82. “Great leaders are not defined by the absence of weakness, but rather by the presence of clear strengths.” –John Zenger

83. “Don’t be afraid to give up the good to go for the great.” –John D. Rockefeller

84. “Leadership is unlocking people’s potential to become better.” –Bill Bradley

85. “The greatest leaders mobilize others by coalescing people around a shared vision.” –Ken Blanchard

86. “The supreme quality of leadership is integrity.” –Dwight D. Eisenhower

87. “The function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers.” -Ralph Nader

88. “Earn your leadership every day.” –Michael Jordan

89. “As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others.” –Bill Gates

90. “You cannot be a leader, and ask other people to follow you, unless you know how to follow, too.” —Sam Rayburn

91. “Those who let things happen usually lose to those who make things happen.” –Dave Weinbaum

92. “To handle yourself, use your head; to handle others, use your heart.” –Eleanor Roosevelt

93. “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”–Abraham Lincoln

94. “Leadership is an ever-evolving position.” –Mike Krzyzewski

95. “You get in life what you have the courage to ask for.” –Nancy D. Solomon

96. “Leadership is an action, not a position.” –Donald McGannon

97. “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.

98. “Whatever you are, be a good one.” –Abraham Lincoln

99. “A leader is one who sees more than others see, who sees farther than others see, and who sees before others see.” –Leroy Eimes

100. “The most effective way to lead is to lead from within.” –(could not help myself) Lolly Daskal

N A T I O N A L   B E S T S E L L E R


What Gets Between You and Your Greatness

After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.

buy now


Additional Reading you might enjoy:


Photo Credit: Getty Images

Lolly Daskal is one of the most sought-after executive leadership coaches in the world. Her extensive cross-cultural expertise spans 14 countries, six languages and hundreds of companies. As founder and CEO of Lead From Within, her proprietary leadership program is engineered to be a catalyst for leaders who want to enhance performance and make a meaningful difference in their companies, their lives, and the world.

Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR,, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.

No comments.

Leave a Reply