50 Leadership Quotes to inspire and give perspective

Everybody brings their own perspective to just what makes a good leader, or what constitutes good leadership.

Each of us has their our own values and beliefs and experiences around the subject,

but that doesn't mean we cannot improve our own leadership

or our own leaders

or our own followership by learning from others.

Enjoy these 50 quotes about leadership that I love.  May they bring you new inspiration or that new perspective...



If one is lucky, a solitary fantasy can totally transform one million realities. —Maya Angelou

When eagles are silent, parrots begin to chatter. — Winston Churchill

What you do has far greater impact than what you say. —Stephen Covey

Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things — Peter F. Drucker

Leaders must be close enough to relate to others, but far enough ahead to motivate them. —John C. Maxwell

We're here for a reason. I believe a bit of the reason is to throw little torches out to lead people through the dark. — Whoopi Goldberg

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

As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others. —Bill Gates

A leader is a dealer in hope. —Napoleon

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


Lead and inspire people. Don’t try to manage and manipulate people. Inventories can be managed but people must be lead. —Ross Perot

Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Management is about arranging and telling. Leadership is about nurturing and enhancing. —Tom Peters

Leadership is not about titles, positions, or flow charts. It is about one life influencing another. — John C. Maxwell

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 Drucker

>  A leadership checklist: 10 things to do right now to make it a great year

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 very essence of leadership is that you have to have a vision. It's got to be a vision you articulate clearly and forcefully on every occasion. You can't blow an uncertain trumpet. —Reverend Theodore Hesburgh

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-Exupary

Where there is no vision, the people perish. —Proverbs 29:18

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


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 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.  – President Ronald Reagan

You manage things; you lead people. —Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper

Management is efficiency in climbing the ladder of success; leadership determines whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall. —Stephen Covey

To handle yourself, use your head; to handle others, use your heart. —Eleanor Roosevelt

People buy into the leader before they buy into the vision. — John Maxwell

Effective leadership is putting first things first. Effective management is discipline, carrying it out. —Stephen Covey

People ask the difference between a leader and a boss. The leader leads, and the boss drives. – President Theodore Roosevelt

Leadership cannot just go along to get along. Leadership must meet the moral challenge of the day. — Jesse Jackson

Not the cry, but the flight of a wild duck, leads the flock to fly and follow.        —Chinese Proverb

It's hard to lead a cavalry charge if you think you look funny on a horse. —Adlai E. Stevenson II


Earn your leadership every day. – Michael Jordan

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

Leaders think and talk about the solutions. Followers think and talk about the problems. —Brian Tracy

To command is to serve, nothing more and nothing less. —Andre Malraux

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

>  Rock-Solid Leadership

Men make history and not the other way around. In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better. —Harry S. Truman

It is absurd that a man should rule others, who cannot rule himself. —Latin Proverb

The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority. —Kenneth Blanchard

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

Leadership is an action, not a position. — Donald McGannon


Leadership is the capacity to transform vision into reality. – Warren G. Bennis

My responsibility is getting all my players playing for the name on the front of the jersey, not the one on the back. –Unknown

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

A good leader leads the people from above them. A great leader leads the people from within them. — M.D. Arnold

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

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

He who has never learned to obey cannot be a good commander. —Aristotle

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

A man who wants to lead the orchestra must turn his back on the crowd. —Max Lucado



... and my favourites ...

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader. —John Quincy Adams

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