Top 150 Greatest Leadership Quotes And Sayings

Looking for the best leadership quotes? We’ve compiled a list of top 150 greatest quotes and sayings on leadership: how to be a leader, what it takes and more.

Top 150 Greatest Leadership Quotes

1. “The leader is one who, out of the clutter, brings simplicity… out of discord, harmony… and out of difficulty, opportunity.” – Albert Einstein

2. “My jobs is not to be easy on people. My job is to make them better.” – Steve Jobs

3. “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

4. “A leader is a dealer in hope.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

5. “Communication is the most important skill any leader can possess.” – Richard Branson

6. “Earn your leadership every day.” – Michael Jordan

7. “All leaders are readers.” – Jim Rohn

8. “Be willing to be uncomfortable. Be comfortable being uncomfortable. It may get tough, but it’s a small price to pay for living a dream.” – Peter McWilliams

9. “Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

10. “Leadership is liberating people to do what is required of them in the most effective and humane way possible.” – Max De Pree

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

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12. “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

13. “Ninety percent of leadership is the ability to communicate something people want.” – Dianne Feinstein

14. “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” – Abraham Lincoln

15. “It is well to respect the leader. Learn from him. Observe him. Study him. But don’t worship him. Believe you can surpass. Believe you can go beyond. Those who harbor the second-best attitude are invariably second-best doers.” – David J. Schwartz

16. “The only safe ship in a storm is leadership.” – Faye Wattleton

17. “The quality of a leader is reflected in the standards they set for themselves.” – Ray Kroc

18. “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

19. “Leadership is an ever-evolving position.” – Mike Krzyzewski

20. “Become the kind of leader that people would follow voluntarily, even if you had no title or position.” – Brian Tracy

21. “A leader is one who sees more than others see, who sees farther than others see, and who sees before others see.” – Leroy Eimes

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

23. “The role of leadership is to transform the complex situation into small pieces and prioritize them.” – Carlos Ghosn

24. “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

25. “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

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

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

28. “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

29. “Real leadership is leaders recognizing that they serve the people that they lead.” – Pete Hoekstra

30. “Change will not come if we wait for some other person, or if we wait for some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” – Barack Obama

31. “Leaders think and talk about the solutions. Followers think and talk about the problems.” – Brian Tracy

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32. “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

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

34. “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

35. “Great leaders are not defined by the absence of weakness, but rather by the presence of clear strengths.” – John Zenger

36. “The greatest leaders mobilize others by coalescing people around a shared vision.” – Ken Blanchard

37. “Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small. A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” – Lao Tzu

38. “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

39. “It’s not about money or connections — it’s the willingness to outwork and outlearn everyone.” – Mark Cuban

40. “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

41. “Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.” – Warren G. Bennis

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42. “Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocrities. The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence.” – Albert Einstein

43. “A leader is a person you will follow to a place you would not go by yourself.” – Joel Barker

44. “There are no office hours for leaders.” – Cardinal J. Gibbons

45. “Leaders come in two flavors, expanders and containers. The best leadership teams have a mix of both.” – Barbara Corcoran

46. “Becoming a leader is synonymous with becoming yourself. It is precisely that simple and it is also that difficult.” – Warren Bennis

47. “My job as a leader is to make sure everybody in the company has great opportunities, and that they feel they’re having a meaningful impact.” – Larry Page

48. “The ability to learm is the most important quality a leader can have.” – Sheryl Sandberg

49. “Don’t follow the crowd, let the crowd follow you.” – Margaret Thatcher

50. “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

51. “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

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52. “If you want to build something great, you should focus on what the change is that you want to make in the world.” – Mark Zuckerberg

53. “Leadership is not about a title or a designation. It’s about impact, influence and inspiration. Impact involves getting results, influence is about spreading the passion you have for your work, and you have to inspire team-mates and customers.” – Robin S. Sharma

54. “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” – John C. Maxwell

55. “The growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership.” – Harvey S. Firestone

56. “A strong leader avoids becoming over-confident to the point of impaired judgment.” – Daniel Lubetzky

57. “Leadership is the key to 99 percent of all successful efforts.” – Erskine Bowles

58. “Leadership is about having the courage to go against the advice of the so-called experts and doing what your instinct tells you is right.” – Robert Kraft

59. “Actions, not words, are the ultimate results of leadership.” – Bill Owens

60. “The world needs new leadership, but the new leadership is about working together.” – Jack Ma

61. “At the heart of great leadership is a curious mind, heart, and spirit.” – Chip Conley

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62. “My number one philosophy for leadership is leadership by example. If you are not willing to do it yourself, how can you show others how to do it?” – Linda McMahon

63. “You have to lead people gently toward what they already know is right.” – Phil Crosby

64. “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

65. “To have long term success as a coach or in any position of leadership, you have to be obsessed in some way.” – Pat Riley

66. “Leaders have to act more quickly today. The pressure comes much faster.” – Andy Grove

67. “Character matters; leadership descends from character.” – Rush Limbaugh

68. “Leadership to me means duty, honor, country. It means character, and it means listening from time to time.” – George W. Bush

69. “Leadership is about making the right decision and the best decision before, sometimes, it becomes entirely popular.” – Martin O’Malley

70. “The leader is one who mobilizes others toward a goal shared by leaders and followers… Leaders, followers and goals make up the three equally necessary supports for leadership.” – Garry Wills

71. “When you’re in a leadership role, you can never please all of the people all of the time. There’s also a lot of responsibility that goes along with it that others may not realize.” – Joyce Meyer

leadership quotes

72. “True leadership isn’t about having an idea. It’s about having an idea and recruiting other people to execute on this vision.” – Leila Janah

73. “What I’ve really learned over time is that optimism is a very, very important part of leadership.” – Bob Iger

74. “Leadership is standing with your people. People say you have to live to fight another day, but sometimes you have to show you are a true leader.” – Leymah Gbowee

75. “Leadership is an active role; ‘lead’ is a verb. But the leader who tries to do it all is headed for burnout, and in a powerful hurry.” – Bill Owens

76. “One of the sad truths about leadership is that, the higher up the ladder you travel, the less you know.” – Margaret Heffernan

77. “Leadership means forming a team and working toward common objectives that are tied to time, metrics, and resources.” – Russel Honore

78. “Character in leadership is the most important balance for leadership. Without character, leaders have no safety. Leadership has no protection without character.” – Myles Munroe

79. “It’s very important in a leadership role not to place your ego at the foreground and not to judge everything in relationship to how your ego is fed.” – Ruth J. Simmons

80. “I think leadership is something you earn, more through actions than words.” – Ander Crenshaw

81. “The thing I’m most focused on today is, how am I maximizing the effectiveness of the leadership team, and what am I doing to nurture it?” – Satya Nadella

leadership quote

82. “Leadership is inspiring extraordinary people to step up and serve their country.” – Justin Trudeau

83. “Leadership consists not in degrees of technique but in traits of character; it requires moral rather than athletic or intellectual effort, and it imposes on both leader and follower alike the burdens of self-restraint.” – Lewis H. Lapham

84. “I think one of the keys to leadership is recognizing that everybody has gifts and talents. A good leader will learn how to harness those gifts toward the same goal.” – Ben Carson

85. “The very essence of leadership is that you have to have vision. You can’t blow an uncertain trumpet.” – Theodore Hesburgh

86. “One secret of leadership is that the mind of a leader never turns off. Leaders even when they are sightseers or spectators, are active; not passive observers.” – James Humes

87. “How the hell can I ask people who work for me to travel cheaply if I travel in luxury? It’s a question of good leadership.” – Ingvar Kamprad

88. “Optimism is the ultimate definition of a leader. A leader has to look optimistically at what is ahead while not ignoring the challenges that must be overcome. Those challenges are in government, politics, world leadership, and even in community life.” – Linda McMahon

89. “Leadership should be born out of the understanding of the needs of those who would be affected by it.” – Marian Anderson

90. “Leadership is a mindset in action. So don’t wait for the title. Leadership isn’t something that anyone can give you – you have to earn it and claim it for yourself.” – Travis Bradberry

91. “I think leadership is more than just being able to cross the t’s and dot the i’s. It’s about character and integrity and work ethic.” – Steve Largent

92. “Leadership is a mindset that shifts from being a victim to creating results. Any one of us can demonstrate leadership in our work and within our lives.” – Robin S. Sharma

93. “Good leadership consists of showing average people how to do the work of superior people.” – John D. Rockefeller

94. “Leadership is possible in all different ways, and in all different areas of life. Whether it is with friends or family, I expect them to set a great example for me, and hopefully I will do the same for them. And that is all part of being a leader.” – Steve Nash

95. “Leadership is hard to define and good leadership even harder. But if you can get people to follow you to the ends of the earth, you are a great leader.” – Indra Nooyi

96. “Well, I think that – I think leadership’s always been about two main things: imagination and courage.” – Paul Keating

97. “Leadership is absolutely about inspiring action, but it is also about guarding against mis-action.” – Simon Sinek

98. “A good objective of leadership is to help those who are doing poorly to do well and to help those who are doing well to do even better.” – Jim Rohn

99. “Leadership consists of picking good men and helping them do their best.” – Chester W. Nimitz

100. “Leadership is an opportunity to serve. It is not a trumpet call to self-importance.” – J. Donald Walters

101. “Leadership is a potent combination of strategy and character. But if you must be without one, be without the strategy.” – Norman Schwarzkopf

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102. “Leadership offers an opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life, no matter what the project.” – Bill Owens

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

104. “No man will make a great leader who wants to do it all himself or get all the credit for doing it.” – Andrew Carnegie

105. “Leadership is all about taking people on a journey. The challenge is that most of the time, we are asking people to follow us to places we ourselves have never been.” – Andy Stanley

106. “Just as discipline and freedom are opposing forces that must be balanced, leadership requires finding the equilibrium in the dichotomy of many seemingly contradictory qualities between one extreme and another.” – Jocko Willink

107. “Leadership is something you earn, something you’re chosen for. You can’t come in yelling, ‘I’m your leader!’ If it happens, it’s because the other guys respect you.” – Ben Roethlisberger

108. “Leadership is about doing the right thing, even if it going against a vast number of naysayers and mediocre people.” – N. R. Narayana Murthy

109. “Leadership is about vision and responsibility, not power.” – Seth Berkley

110. “Effective leadership is not about making speeches or being liked; leadership is defined by results not attributes.” – Peter Drucker

111. “One thing that somebody told me is that leadership is a lonely role – some people can do it, and some people can’t.” – Kyrie Irving

112. “One of the tests of leadership is the ability to recognize a problem before it becomes an emergency.” – Arnold H. Glasow

113. “As a business owner, leadership is more than just telling others what to do. Leadership is about the investment we make into others and the responsibilities we accept for being the voice and direction that others count on.” – Lewis Howes

114. “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” – Steve Jobs

115. “A good leader takes a little more than his share of the blame, a little less than his share of the credit.” – Arnold H. Glasow

116. “Whether we’re talking about leadership, teamwork, or client service, there is no more powerful attribute than the ability to be genuinely honest about one’s weaknesses, mistakes, and needs for help.” – Patrick Lencioni

117. “Today a reader, tomorrow a leader.” – Margaret Fuller

118. “The secret to success is good leadership, and good leadership is all about making the lives of your team members or workers better.” – Tony Dungy

119. “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

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

121. “Leadership is working with goals and vision; management is working with objectives.” – Russel Honore

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122. “I learned that leadership is about falling in love with the people and the people falling in love with you. It is about serving the people with selflessness, with sacrifice, and with the need to put the common good ahead of personal interests.” – Joyce Banda

123. “Go as far as you can see; when you get there, you’ll be able to see farther.” – J. P. Morgan

124. “I think leadership is service and there is power in that giving: to help people, to inspire and motivate them to reach their fullest potential.” – Denise Morrison

125. “A man who wants to lead the orchestra must turn his back on the crowd.” – Max Lucado

126. “The task of the leader is to get his people from where they are to where they have not been.” – Henry Kissinger

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

128. “I know of no single formula for success. But over the years I have observed that some attributes of leadership are universal and are often about finding ways of encouraging people to combine their efforts, their talents, their insights, their enthusiasm and their inspiration to work together.” – Queen Elizabeth II

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

130. “The function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers.” – Ralph Nader

131. “A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

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132. “Leadership can change its mind; leadership can open its eye. Leadership can even be replaced.” – Ehud Barak

133. “One of my beliefs about leadership is it’s not how many followers you have, but how many people you have with different opinions that you can bring together and try to be a good listener.” – Robert Kraft

134. “Leadership is a choice, not a position.” – Stephen Covey

135. “Leadership is solving problems. 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 or concluded you do not care. Either case is a failure of leadership.” – Colin Powell

136. “Leaders must be close enough to relate to others, but far enough ahead to motivate them.” – John C. Maxwell

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

138. “Leadership is a way of thinking, a way of acting and, most importantly, a way of communicating.” – Simon Sinek

139. “The speed of the leader is the speed of the gang.” – Mary Kay Ash

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

141. “I suppose leadership at one time meant muscles; but today it means getting along with people.” – Mahatma Gandhi

142. “Leadership is simply the ability of an individual to coalesce the efforts of other individuals toward achieving common goals. It boils down to looking after your people and ensuring that, from top to bottom, everyone feels part of the team.” – Frederick W. Smith

143. “It is better to have a lion at the head of an army of sheep, than a sheep at the head of an army of lions.” – Daniel Defoe

144. “Leadership is an individual sport, one that has to be fine-tuned to each of the people that reports to you. Leaders also need to provide the direction, energy, encouragement and inspiration for each person who reports directly to the leader as well as for the overall organization.” – David Petraeus

145. “Leadership is service to others.” – Denise Morrison

146. “The art of leadership is not to spend your time measuring, evaluating. It’s all about selecting the person. And if you believe you selected the right person, then you give that person the freedom, the authority, the delegation to innovate and to lead with some very simple measure.” – Pierre Nanterme

147. “To me, leadership is about encouraging people. It’s about stimulating them. It’s about enabling them to achieve what they can achieve – and to do that with a purpose.” – Christine Lagarde

148. “Sometimes leadership is planting trees under whose shade you’ll never sit. It may not happen fully till after I’m gone. But I know that the steps we’re taking are the right steps.” – Jennifer Granholm

149. “I think leadership is not something you learn; it’s something you discover.” – Myles Munroe

150. “Uncertainty is a permanent part of the leadership landscape. It never goes away.” – Andy Stanley