104 Leadership Quotes From Inspired Leaders

By Sean Stevenson – Latest Revision January 3rd, 2021

We can all learn from inspired leaders.  Often, these men and women choose to share their knowledge through generous phrases.  These words give us a glimpse into both their world and work ethic.

Leadership is a profound art.  While it is not taught in school, leadership is the greatest asset to any organization on this earth.  A leadership quote can teach us with only a few words.

The capacity to lead others itself, however, is a skill that is often fraught with challenges.  It is important to remember that all leaders are made; they are not born.

Pursuing the varied skills of leadership and mastering them, yields reward unlike any other.  

This is to say that leadership is perhaps the most fulfilling pursuit on this earth.  Mastering it won’t happen overnight, but you can certainly start practicing its tenets today.  

True leadership grows in an individual first.  Then, when they are able, they help others to grow in turn. 

Think of it as a personal investment.  One that yields continuous rewards!

Here is a powerful list of 104 highly actionable and inspirational leadership quotes:


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


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


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


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


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


“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.  If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” -Warren Buffett


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


“Develop success from failures.  Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success.” -Dale Carnegie


“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

Leadership Quotes

Leadership Quotes (10.) : “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


“When I give a minister an order, I leave it to him to find the means to carry it out.” -Napoleon Bonaparte


“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


“A good general not only sees the way to victory; he also knows when victory is impossible.” -Polybius


“The art of leadership is saying no, not saying yes. It is very easy to say yes.” -Tony Blair


“So much of what we call management consists in making it difficult for people to work.” -Peter Drucker


“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


“People buy into the leader before they buy into the vision.” -John Maxwell


“The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority.” -Kenneth Blanchard


“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

Leadership Quotes

Leadership Quotes (20.) : “A great leader's courage to fulfill his vision comes from passion, not position.”

-John Maxwell


“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


“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


“I must follow the people. Am I not their leader?” -Benjamin Disraeli


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


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


“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


“You manage things; you lead people.” -Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper


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


“Where there is no vision, the people perish.” -Proverbs 29:18

Leadership Quotes

Leadership Quotes (30.) : “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


“A ruler should be slow to punish and swift to reward.” Ovid


“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


“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


“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


“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, concerned citizens can change world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has.” -Margaret Mead


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


“You don’t need a title to be a leader.” -Anonymous


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


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


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


“The leader has to be practical and a realist yet must talk the language of the visionary and the idealist.” -Eric Hoffer


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


“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 most dangerous leadership myth is that leaders are born-that there is a genetic factor to leadership. That’s nonsense; in fact, the opposite is true. Leaders are made rather than born.” -Warren Bennis


“To command is to serve, nothing more and nothing less.” -Andre Malraux


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


“He who has never learned to obey cannot be a good commander.” -Aristotle


“The nation will find it very hard to look up to the leaders who are keeping their ears to the ground.” -Winston Churchill


“Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.” -General George Patton

Leadership Quotes

Leadership Quotes (50.) : “As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others.”

-Bill Gates


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


“He who has learned how to obey will know how to command.” -Solon


“He who has great power should use it lightly.” -Seneca


“I am reminded how hollow the label of leadership sometimes is and how heroic followership can be.” -Warren Bennis


“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


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


“Education is the mother of leadership.” -Wendell Willkie


“Don’t necessarily avoid sharp edges. Occasionally they are necessary to leadership.” -Donald Rumsfeld


“Do what you feel in your heart to be right–for you’ll be criticized anyway.” -Eleanor Roosevelt


“Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” John F. Kennedy


“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


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


“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


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


“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


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


“It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership.” -Nelson Mandela


“Lead and inspire people. Don’t try to manage and manipulate people. Inventories can be managed but people must be led.” -Ross Perot


“In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.” -Thomas Jefferson

Leadership Quotes

Leadership Quotes (70.) : “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”

-John Quincy Adams


“If you would not be forgotten, as soon as you are dead and rotten, either write things worth reading, or do things worth the writing.” Benjamin Franklin


“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


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


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


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


“Leadership does not always wear the harness of compromise.” -Woodrow Wilson


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


“To do great things is difficult; but to command great things is more difficult.” -Friedrich Nietzsche


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


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


“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


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


“No man is good enough to govern another man without that other’s consent.” -Abraham Lincoln


“What you do has far greater impact than what you say.” -Stephen Covey


“Not the cry, but the flight of a wild duck, leads the flock to fly and follow.” -Ancient Chinese Proverb


“Never give an order that can’t be obeyed.” -General Douglas MacArthur


“The supreme quality of leadership is integrity.” -Dwight Eisenhower


“Management is about arranging and telling. Leadership is about nurturing and enhancing.” -Tom Peters


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

Leadership Quotes

Leadership Quotes (90.) : “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


“We live in a society obsessed with public opinion. But leadership has never been about popularity.” -Marco Rubio


“You don’t lead by hitting people over the head—that’s assault, not leadership.” -Dwight Eisenhower


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


“A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week.” -George Patton


“My responsibility is getting all my players playing for the name on the front of the jersey, not the one on the back.” -Anonymous


“A cowardly leader is the most dangerous of men.” -Stephen King


“I am endlessly fascinated that playing football is considered a training ground for leadership, but raising children isn’t.” -Dee Dee Myers


“There are three essentials to leadership: humility, clarity and courage.” -Fuchan Yuan


“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


“A competent leader can get efficient service from poor troops, while on the contrary, an incapable leader can demoralize the best of troops.” John J Pershing


“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


“Whatever you are, be a good one.” -Abraham Lincoln


“Of all the things I’ve done, the most vital is coordinating those who work with me and aiming their efforts at a certain goal.” -Walt Disney


“Earn your leadership every day.” -Michael Jordan

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