If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.
~ John Quincy Adams
The leadership instinct you are born with is the backbone. You develop the funny bone and the wishbone that go with it.
~ Elaine Agather
Cautious, careful people, always casting about to preserve their reputation and social standing, never can bring about a reform. Those who are really in earnest must be willing to be anything or nothing in the world’s estimation, and publicly and privately, in season and out, avow their sympathy with despised and persecuted ideas and their advocates, and bear the consequences.
~ Susan B. Anthony
We still think of a powerful man as a born leader and a powerful woman as an anomaly.
~ Margaret Atwood
I would rather regret the things I have done than the things I have not.
~ Lucille Ball
When trouble arises and things look bad, there is always one individual who perceives a solution and is willing to take command. Very often, that person is crazy.
~ Dave Barry
At the heart of America is a vacuum into which self-appointed saviors have rushed. They pretend to be leaders, and we–half out of envy, half out of longing–pretend to think of them as leaders.
~ Warren Bennis
Good leaders make people feel that they’re at the very heart of things, not at the periphery. Everyone feels that he or she makes a difference to the success of the organization. When that happens people feel centered and that gives their work meaning.
~ Warren G. Bennis
Managers are people who do things right, while leaders are people who do the right thing.
~ Warren Bennis, in On Becoming A Leader
The art of leadership is saying no, not yes. It is very easy to say yes.
~ Tony Blair
The task of leadership is not to put greatness into people, but to elicit it, for the greatness is there already.
~ John Buchan
A leader has to appear consistent. That doesn’t mean he has to be consistent.
~ James Callahan, English Prime Minister, in Harvard Business Review, November/December 1986
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.
~ Rosalyn Carter
Effective leadership is putting first things first. Effective management is discipline, carrying it out.
~ Stephen Covey
Management is efficiency in climbing the ladder of success; leadership determines whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall.
~ Stephen R. Covey
A true leader always keeps an element of surprise up his sleeve, which others cannot grasp but which keeps his public excited and breathless.
~ Charles de Gaulle
Nothing great will ever be achieved without great men, and men are great only if they are determined to be so.
~ Charles de Gaulle
The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between the two, the leader must become a servant and a debtor. That sums up the progress of an artful leader.
~ Max DePree, in Leadership Is An Art
Never try to teach a pig to sing: it wastes your time and it annoys the pig.
~ Paul Dickson
I must follow the people. Am I not their leader?
~ Benjamin Disraeli
The leaders who work most effectively, it seems to me, never say “I.” And that’s not because they have trained themselves not to say “I.” They don’t think “I.” They think “we”; they think “team.” They understand their job to be to make the team function. They accept responsibility and don’t sidestep it, but “we” gets the credit. This is what creates trust, what enables you to get the task done.
~ Peter Drucker
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
Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.
~ Peter F. Drucker
A fish always rots from the head down.
~ Michael Dukakis
Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.
~ Dwight Eisenhower
You do not lead by hitting people over the head – that’s assault, not leadership.
~ Dwight D. Eisenhower
A sense of humor is part of the art of leadership, of getting along with people, of getting things done.
~ Dwight D. Eisenhower
Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Quem metuunt oderunt, quem quisque odit periise expetit. [Whom men fear, they hate; whom a man hates he wishes dead.
~ Quintus Ennius, in Ex fabulis incertis
The growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership.
~ Harvey S. Firestone
Who has not served cannot command.
~ John Florio
Today a reader, tomorrow a leader.
~ Margaret Fuller
Today a reader–tomorrow a leader.
~ W. Fusselman
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, in The Age of Uncertainty
Leaders come in many forms, with many styles and diverse qualities. There are quiet leaders and leaders one can hear in the next county. Some find strength in eloquence, some in judgment, some in courage.
~ John W. Gardner
As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others.
~ Bill Gates
A leader’s role is to raise people’s aspirations for what they can become and to release their energies so they will try to get there.
~ David Gergen
There are many qualities that make a great leader. But having strong beliefs, being able to stick with them through popular and unpopular times, is the most important characteristic of a great leader.
~ Rudy Giuliani
Look over your shoulder now and then to be sure someone’s following you.
~ Henry Gilmer
Treat a man as he is and he will remain as he is. Treat a man as he can be and should be, and he will become as he can and should be.
~ Johanne Wolfgang von Goethe
The only test of leadership is that somebody follows.
~ Robert K. Greenleaf
There is something that is much more scarce, something rarer than ability. It is the ability to recognize ability.
~ Robert Half
The very essence of leadership is that you have to have vision. You can’t blow an uncertain trumpet.
~ Theodore M. Hesburgh
Just as every conviction begins as a whim so does every emancipator serve his apprenticeship as a crank. A fanatic is a great leader who is just entering the room.
~ Matthew Heywood
Strong lives are motivated by dynamic purposes.
~ Kenneth Hildebrand
Control is not leadership; management is not leadership; leadership is leadership. If you seek to lead, invest at least 50% of your time in leading yourself—your own purpose, ethics, principles, motivation, conduct. Invest at least 20% leading those with authority over you and 15% leading your peers.
~ Dee Hock
The leader has to be practical and a realist, yet must talk the language of the visionary and the idealist.
~ Eric Hoffer
If it’s a good idea, go ahead and do it. It is much easier to apologize than it is to get permission.
~ Admiral Grace Hopper
He who influences the thought of his times influences the times that follow.
~ Elbert Hubbard
Motivation is everything. You can do the work of two people, but you can’t be two people. Instead, you have to inspire the next guy down the line and get him to inspire his people.
~ Lee Iacocca
If the blind lead the blind, both shall fall in the ditch.
~ Jesus Christ
The task of the leader is to get his people from where they are to where they have not been.
~ Henry Kissinger
Leadership is getting someone to do what they don’t want to do, to achieve what they want to achieve.
~ Tom Landry
The ability to summon positive emotions during periods of intense stress lies at the heart of effective leadership.
~ Jim Loehr
To lead people, walk beside them … As for the best leaders, the people do not notice their existence. The next best, the people honor and praise. The next, the people fear; and the next, the people hate … When the best leader’s work is done the people say, “We did it ourselves!”
~ Lao Tzu
Be gentle and you can be bold; be frugal and you can be liberal; avoid putting yourself before others and you can become a leader among men.
~ Lao Tzu
To lead the people, walk behind them.
~ Lao Tzu
Leaders don’t force people to follow—they invite them on a journey.
~ Charles S. Lauer
A desk is a dangerous place from which to view the world.
~ John Le Care’
There go my people. I must find out where they are going so that I can lead them.
~ Alexandre Ledru-Rollin
There is no such thing as a perfect leader either in the past or present, in China or elsewhere. If there is one, he is only pretending, like a pig inserting scallions into its nose in an effort to look like an elephant.
~ Liu Shao-chi
No man is good enough to govern another man without that other’s consent.
~ Abraham Lincoln
The final test of a leader is that he leaves behind him in other men the conviction and the will to carry on.
~ Walter Lippmann
Leadership rests not only upon ability, not only upon capacity; having the capacity to lead is not enough. The leader must be willing to use it. His leadership is then based on truth and character. There must be truth in the purpose and willpower in the character.
~ Vince Lombardi
The leader can never close the gap between himself and the group. If he does, he is no longer what he must be. He must walk a tightrope between the consent he must win and the control he must exert.
~ Vince Lombardi
In this world a man must either be an anvil or hammer.
~ Henry W. Longfellow
You don’t have to be brilliant to be a good leader. But you do have to understand other people – how they feel, what makes them tick, and the best way to influence them. There are a lot of brilliant people in this world who are, and will remain, ineffective leaders. Why? Because they are so interested in themselves and their own accomplishments that they never get around to appreciating and understanding the feelings of the other people who are sharing this world with them. Sometimes, usually later in life, these talented, egocentric individuals suffer painful hardships. They understand, often for the first time, the kind of problems less talented or less fortunate people have suffered all their lives. They suddenly discover a new and important dimension: sensitivity to the feelings, emotions, and experiences of other people. Effective leaders don’t wait for life to bring them to their knees before they appreciate the kind of problems others are facing. Instead they constantly try to put themselves in others’ shoes – try to imagine how they would feel in the same circumstances. They are constantly aware of what makes others tick, and try to be helpful at the same time they ask others to help them.
~ John Luther
There comes a moment when you have to stop revving up the car and shove it into gear.
~ David Mahoney
The ultimate leader is one who is willing to develop people to the point that they surpass him or her in knowledge and ability.
~ Fred A. Manske, Jr.
Only one man in a thousand is a leader of men — the other 999 follow women.
~ Groucho Marx
Command doth make actors of us all.
~ John Masters, in The Road Past Mandalay
The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The leader adjusts the sails.
~ John Maxwell
People buy into the leader before they buy into the vision.
~ John Maxwell
A good leader is a person who takes a little more than his share of the blame and a little less than his share of the credit.
~ John Maxwell
All Leadership is influence.
~ John C. Maxwell
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 C Maxwell, in The 17 Irrefutable Laws of Teamwork
Do not follow where the path may lead.
Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.
~ Harold R. McAlindon
Great leaders instill a surging sense of purpose, articulate a clear vision, engage talent, purposefully plan, diligently execute and abundantly communicate. At its essence, leadersip is about optimizing people and their potential to advance a cause.
~ Kelly McDermott
The typical American of today has lost all the love of liberty, that his forefathers had, and all their disgust of emotion, and pride in self- reliance. He is led no longer by Davy Crocketts; he is led by cheer leaders, press agents, word mongers, uplifters.
~ H.L. Mencken
Leadership, like swimming, cannot be learned by reading about it.
~ Henry Mintzberg, in The Nature of Managerial Work
No prophet has been raised up who has not performed the work of a shepherd.
My own definition of leadership is this: The capacity and the will to rally men and women to a common purpose and the character which inspires confidence.
~ General Montgomery
A leader is a man who makes decisions. Sometimes they turn out right and sometimes then turn out wrong; but either way, he makes them.
~ Mutual Benefit Life Insurance Co., in Leaders are Made . . . Not Born, Leadership in the Office
I start with the premise that the function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers
~ Ralph Nader
A leader is a dealer in hope.
~ Napoleon Bonaparte
Show me a family of readers, and I will show you the people who move the world.
The good teacher … discovers the natural gifts of his pupils and liberates them by the stimulating influence of the inspiration that he can impart. The true leader makes his followers twice the men they were before.
~ Stephen Neill
To do great things is difficult; but to command great things is more difficult.
~ Friedrich Nietzsche
High sentiments always win in the end, The leaders who offer blood, toil, tears and sweat always get more out of their followers than those who offer safety and a good time. When it comes to the pinch, human beings are heroic.
~ George Orwell
Don’t tell people how to do things, tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results.
~ General George S. Patton
Be willing to make decisions. That’s the most important quality in a good leader.
~ General George S. Patton Jr.
Leadership skills can be developed, but the right to lead is earned.
~ Earl Peck
People cannot be managed. Inventories can be managed, but people must be led.
~ H. Ross Perot
Eagles don’t flock.
~ Ross Perot
A good general not only sees the way to victory; he also knows when victory is impossible.
Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers, who can cut through argument, debate, and doubt to offer a solution everybody can understand.
~ General Colin Powell
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 them or concluded that you do not care. Either case is a failure of leadership.
~ Colin Powell
The view only changes for the lead dog.
~ Sergeant Preston of the Yukon
Where there is no vision, the people perish.
~ Proverbs 29:18
An army of a thousand is easy to find, but, ah, how difficult to find a general.
~ Chinese proverb
Rough waters are truer tests of leadership. In calm water every ship has a good captain.
~ Swedish proverb
The leader must know, must know that he knows, and must be able to make it abundantly clear to those around him that he knows.
~ Clarence Randall
Surround yourself with the best people you can find, delegate authority, and don’t interfere as long as the policy you’ve decided upon is being carried out.
~ Ronald Reagan
Good ideas are not adopted automatically. They must be driven into practice with courageous patience.
~ Admiral Hyman Rickover
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
A good objective of leadership is to help those who are doing poorly to do well and to help those who are doing well do even better.
~ Jim Rohn
It is a terrible thing to look over your shoulder when you are trying to lead — and find on one there.
~ Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Speak Softly and carry a big stick; you will go far.
~ Theodore Roosevelt
The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint to keep from meddling with them while they do it.
~ Theodore Roosevelt
If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people together to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.
~ Antoine de Saint-Exupery
I have yet to find a man, however exalted his station, who did not do better work and put forth greater effort under a spirit of approval than under a spirit of criticism.
~ Charles Schwab
Leadership is a combination of strategy and character. If you must be without one, be without the strategy.
~ Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf
Example is not the main thing in influencing others; it is the only thing.
~ Albert Schweitzer
Leadership is not so much about technique and methods as it is about opening the heart. Leadership is about inspiration—of oneself and of others. Great leadership is about human experiences, not processes. Leadership is not a formula or a program, it is a human activity that comes from the heart and considers the hearts of others. It is an attitude, not a routine.
~ Lance Secretan, in Industry Week, 10/12/98
It is impossible to imagine anything which better becomes a ruler than mercy.
What you cannot enforce
Do not command.
Ill can he rule the great that cannot reach the small.
~ Edmund Spenser
An ill life will effectually drown the voice of the most eloquent ministry.
~ Charles Spurgeon
The key to being a good manager is keeping the people who hate me away from those who are still undecided.
~ Casey Stengel
Keep your fears to yourself, but share your inspiration with others.
~ Robert Louis Stevenson
The greater a man is in power above others, the more he ought to excel them in virtue. None ought to govern who is not better than the governed.
~ Publius Syrus
I am more afraid of an army of 100 sheep led by a lion than an army of 100 lions led by a sheep.
~ Charles Maurice de Talleyrand
Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren’t.
~ Margaret Thatcher
The man who goes alone can start today, but he who travels with another must wait till that other is ready.
~ Henry David Thoreau
The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding, go out and meet it.
Become the kind of person that people would follow voluntarily, even if you had no title or position.
~ Brian Tracy
How far would Moses have gone if he had taken a poll in Egypt?
~ Harry S. Truman
Lead, follow, or get out of the way.
~ Plaque on Ted Turner’s desk
There is nothing so annoying as a good example!!
~ Mark Twain
Communicate everything to your associates. The more they know, the more they care. Once they care, there is no stopping them.
~ Sam Walton
Be easy and condescending in your deportment to your officers, but not too familiar, lest you subject yourself to a want of respect, which is necessary to support a proper command.
~ George Washington, in a letter to Colonel William Woodford, November 10, 1775
Nothing so conclusively proves a man’s ability to lead others as what he does from day to day to lead himself.
~ Thomas J. Watson Sr.
One word of command from me is obeyed by millions but I cannot get my three daughters, Pamela, Felicity, and Joan, to come down to breakfast on time.
~ Field Marshal Archibald Wavell, Viceroy of India
Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.
~ Jack Welch
A pat on the back is only a few vertebrae removed from a kick in the pants, but is miles ahead in results.
~ W. Wilcox
Those who try to lead the people can only do so by following the mob.
~ Oscar Wilde
The ear of the leader must ring with the voices of the people.
~ Woodrow Wilson
by Sarah Josepha Hale
Mary had a little lamb,
Its fleece was white as snow,
And every where that Mary went
The lamb was sure to go;
He followed her to school one day —
That was against the rule,
It made the children laugh and play
To see a lamb at school.
And so the Teacher turned him out,
But still he lingered near,
And waited patiently about,
Till Mary did appear.
And then he ran to her and laid
His head upon her arm,
As if he said — “I’m not afraid —
You’ll shield me from all harm.”
“What makes the lamb love Mary so,”
The little children cry;
“O, Mary loves the lamb you know,
The Teacher did reply,
“And you each gentle animal
In confidence may bind,
And make them follow at your call,
If you are always kind.”