50 Inspirational Quotes On Leadership

Quotes are incredibly inspirational. Granted, we are taking a one liner out of the context of the greater conversation, but the motivation is there and the heart of message is clearly articulated. That’s why some of these quotes have been repeated a million times over and will continue to be tweeted, quoted, recited and shared for years to come. Here are 50 inspirational quotes on leadership.

“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

  1. “The leader has to be practical and a realist yet must talk the language of the visionary and the idealist.” Eric Hoffer
  2. “Wish to rise? Begin by descending. You plan a tower that will pierce the clouds? Lay first the foundation of humility.” Saint Augustine
  3. “What you do has far greater impact than what you say.” Stephen Covey
  4. Leadership cannot just go along to get along. Leadership must meet the moral challenge of the day.” Jesse Jackson
  5. “Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.” Jack Welch
  6. “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
  7. “There are three essentials to leadership: humility, clarity and courage.” Fuchan Yuan
  8. “Go as far as you can see; when you get there, you’ll be able to see farther.” J.P. Morgan
  9. “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” John Maxwell
  10. “If anything goes bad, I did it. If anything goes semi-good, we did it. If anything goes really good, then you did it.” Bear Bryant
  11. “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
  12. “To have long term success as a coach or in any position of leadership, you have to be obsessed in some way.” Pat Riley
  13. “Become the kind of leader that people would follow voluntarily; even if you had no title or position.” Brian Tracy
  14. “Education is the mother of leadership.” Wendell Willkie
  15. “A great person attracts great people and knows how to hold them together.” Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
  16. “I must follow the people. Am I not their leader?” Benjamin Disraeli
  17. “With great power comes great responsibility.” Francois-Marie Arouet aka Voltaire
  18. “Outstanding leaders go out of their way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it’s amazing what they can accomplish.” Sam Walton
  19. “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
  20. “A leader is a dealer in hope.” Napoleon Bonaparte
  21. “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” John Quincy Adams
  22. “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, concerned citizens can change world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead
  23. “If one is lucky, a solitary fantasy can totally transform one million realities.” Maya Angelou
  24. “A man who wants to lead the orchestra must turn his back on the crowd.” Max Lucado
  25. “To command is to serve, nothing more and nothing less.” Andre Malraux
  26. “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
  27. “The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority.” Kenneth Blanchard
  28. “The art of leadership is saying no, not saying yes. It is very easy to say yes.” Tony Blair
  29. “Lead and inspire people. Don’t try to manage and manipulate people. Inventories can be managed but people must be led.” Ross Perot
  30. “The final test of a leader is that he leaves behind him in other men, the conviction and the will to carry on.” Walter Lippman
  31. “A great leader’s courage to fulfill his vision comes from passion, not position.” John Maxwell
  32. “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
  33. “The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly.” Jim Rohn
  34. “Leadership is unlocking people’s potential to become better.” Bill Bradley
  35. “Great leaders are not defined by the absence of weakness, but rather by the presence of clear strengths.” John Zenger
  36. “Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.” General Dwight Eisenhower
  37. “Leaders think and talk about the solutions. Followers think and talk about the problems.” Brian Tracy
  38. “As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others.” Bill Gates
  39. “Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.” General George Patton
  40. “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue to that counts.” Winston Churchill
  41. “I suppose leadership at one time meant muscles; but today it means getting along with people.” Mahatma Gandhi
  42. “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
  43. “In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.” Thomas Jefferson
  44. “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.” Nelson Mandela
  45. “Hold yourself responsible for a higher standard than anybody expects of you. Never excuse yourself.” Henry Ward Beecher
  46. “The growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership.” Harvey Firestone
  47. “Leadership is a potent combination of strategy and character. But if you must be without one, be without the strategy.” Norman Schwarzkopf
  48. “One of the tests of leadership is the ability to recognize a problem before it becomes an emergency.” Arnold Glasow
  49. “The greatest leaders mobilize others by coalescing people around a shared vision.” Ken Blanchard
  50. “To do great things is difficult; but to command great things is more difficult.” Friedrich Nietzsche

If you have a favorite that isn’t on my list, feel free to add it in the comments.


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