The 55 Most Popular Leadership Quotes of All Time

Leadership quotes

The 55 Most Popular Leadership Quotes of All Time

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

There are times when leadership becomes lonely. Though some believe it’s just lonely all of the time. And as a leader, it’s just you and that means you definitely need to look inside yourself for motivation and inspiration. So, I have decided to share these rare leadership quotes with you.

Let these leadership quotes inspire you, motivate you, encourage you and empower you to be the best you can be, to achieve all that you desiree and to build that great leadership skills you need for effective performance.

1. “The secret of leadership is simple: Do what you believe in. Paint a picture of the future. Go there. People will follow.”– Seth Godin

2. “A leader is like a shepherd. He stays behind the flock, letting the most nimble go out ahead, whereupon the others follow, not realizing that all along they are being directed from behind.”– Nelson Mandela

3. “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

4. “Only one man in a thousand is a leader of men–the other 999 follow women.”– Groucho Marx

5. “Don’t waste your energy trying to educate or change opinions; go over, under, through, and opinions will change organically when you’re the boss. Or they won’t. Who cares? Do your thing, and don’t care if they like it.”– Tina Fey

6. “Power isn’t control at all–power is strength, and giving that strength to others. A leader isn’t someone who forces others to make him stronger; a leader is someone willing to give his strength to others that they may have the strength to stand on their own.”– Beth Revis

7. “Don’t tell people how to do things, tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results.”– George Patton

8. “I have three precious things which I hold fast and prize. The first is gentleness; the second is frugality; the third is humility, which keeps me from putting myself before others. 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

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

Related:  Abraham Lincoln Quotes For Leadership Inspiration

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. “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

15. “Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.”— Warren Bennis

16. “Lead me, follow me, or get out of my way.”— General George Patton

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

18. “A leader is a dealer in hope.”— Napoleon Bonaparte

19. “You don’t need a title to be a leader.”– Multiple Attributions

20. “I start with the premise that the function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers.”– Ralph Nader

21. “Leadership is about creating, day by day, a domain in which we and those around us continually deepen our understanding of reality and are able to participate in shaping the future. This, then, is the deeper territory of leadership – collectively ‘listening to what is wanting to emerge in the world, and then having the courage to do what is required.”– Joseph Jaworski

22. “Leadership is not bullying and leadership is not aggression. Leadership is the expectation that you can use your voice for good, that you can make the world a better place.”– Sheryl Sandberg

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

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

29. “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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Related:  15 Character Quotes for Leadership Success

36. “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

37. “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

38. “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

39. “Anyone can hold the helm when the sea is calm.”— Publilius Syrus

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

41. “The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it.”— Theodore Roosevelt

42. “Leadership is influence.”— John C. Maxwell

43. “You don’t lead by pointing and telling people some place to go. You lead by going to that place and making a case.”— Ken Kesey

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

45. “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

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

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

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

49. “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

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

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

52. “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

Related:  50 Best Inspirational Quotes on Leadership for Entrepreneurs

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

54. “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

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

56. “Leadership means putting aside your selfish wants and think about serving a greater need.”– Charles C. Sholokwu


I am the Founder and President of Young Leaders Arena. Formerly I was the Chief Editor and program co-ordinator at Walktall. Author of the upcoming Book; Success Recipe: Start up Tool-kit for exceptional business growth. I have written numerous articles on both leadership, business start up, entrepreneurship. I have served as thought leader in many societies and organisations, including the Forum on Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative. I obtained my post graduate from the prestigious University of Port Harcourt. I also have a Bachelors from the Delta State University, Abraka. Twitter & Instagram: @Charlessholokwu

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