50 leadership quotes from Lessonly

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50 Leadership Quotes for Better Work

Leadership is complex. There are countless books, blogs, and videos on the subject. Even a search for the definition of leadership generates over a billion results. 

One common thread? Leadership takes time and development. Sure, we’ve probably all heard some people are “natural born leaders,” but in reality, effective leadership requires learning, practice, and intentional skill development. 

In the spirit of leadership development, we gathered 50 inspiring leadership quotes from noteworthy leaders, authors, and fictional characters to encourage you to become a great leader. These quotes resonate with our team.We hope they do the same for you.

Inspirational Quotes

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

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

“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

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

“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 

“The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority.” — Ken Blanchard

“What you do has far greater impact than what you say.” — Steven Covey

“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

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

“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

“Successful leaders see the opportunities in every difficulty rather than the difficulty in every opportunity.”— Reed Markham

“Sometimes the bravest and most important thing you can do is just show up.” — Brené Brown

“It is true that integrity alone won’t make you a leader, but without integrity you will never be one.” — Zig Ziglar

“The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary.” — Vince Lombardi

“The challenge of leadership is to be strong but not rude; be kind, not weak; be bold, but not be a bully; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly.” — Jim Rohn

John Maxwell Leadership Quotes

“Leaders must be close enough to relate to others, but far enough ahead to motivate them.”

“Leadership is not about titles, positions or flowcharts. It is about one life influencing another.”

“Learn to say ‘no’ to the good so you can say ‘yes’ to the best.”

“A leader who produces other leaders multiplies their influence.”

“Relational skills are the most important abilities in leadership.”

Funny Leadership Quotes

“Leadership has been defined as the ability to hide your panic from others.” — Lao Tzu

“The key to being a good manager is keeping the people who hate me away from those who are still undecided.” — Casey Stengel 

“Never follow someone else’s path unless you’re in the woods and you’re lost and you see a path—then, by all means, you should follow that.” — Ellen Degeneres

“People who enjoy meetings should not be in charge of anything.” — Thomas Sowell 

“Leadership involves finding a parade and getting in front of it.” — John Naisbitt 

“There are no office hours for leaders.” — James Gibbons

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Short Leadership Quotes

“Believe you can and you’re halfway there.” — Theodore Roosevelt

“Earn your leadership every day.” — Michael Jordan 

“He that cannot obey, cannot command.” — Ben Franklin

“When we think we lead, we are most led.” — Henry James Byron

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

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

“Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.” — Albert Einstein

“Don’t find fault, find a remedy.” — Henry Ford

Quotes about Leadership and Teamwork

“Alone we can do little; together we can do so much.” — Helen Keller

“If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else.” — Booker T. Washington 

“None of us, including me, ever do great things. But we can all do small things, with great love, and together we can do something wonderful.” — Mother Teresa

“Teamwork begins by building trust. And the only way to do that is to overcome our need for invulnerability.” — Patrick Lencioni

“Great things in business are never done by one person; they’re done by a team of people.” — Steve Jobs 

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

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” — Maya Angelou

Praising a Leader Quotes

“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

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

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

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

“A leader isn’t someone who forces others to make him stronger; a leader is someone willing to give his strength to others so that they may have the strength to stand on their own.” — Beth Revis

Funny Leadership Quotes from Movies

“The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem.”— Jack Sparrow 

“First rule of leadership: everything is your fault.” — A Bug’s Life

Bad Leadership Quotes

Great leadership quotes like the ones listed above inspire and guide us, but there are some famous leadership quotes that miss the mark. While these quotes are from highly respected leaders, they misrepresent what leadership means and what it means to be a good leader. 

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

Leadership is not about manipulating people into doing what you want. Instead, it’s about leading a team to find out what everyone wants and needs, and then coming to a mutual agreement about the next best steps.

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

This quote might belong on a list of motivational quotes for military training, but it doesn’t belong on a list of motivational quotes for the workplace. Leadership is not about bulldozing or leaving others. It requires working with others to build trust and respect.

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

Contrary to this quote, the best leaders are authentic and vulnerable. Research also shows that when leaders share their feelings, it actually increases trust. Leaders who know how to manage their true feelings are more effective and better able to energize those around them to do better work.

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