85 Must Read Leadership Quotes

Whether you’re in business or the head of your household, having good leadership skills is essential in getting more done. There are a lot of tips about being a good leader and some strategies will work better on different people. The following are must read leadership quotes that will give you a good foundation of what it takes to be a great leader.


“All Leadership is influence.”

John C. Maxwell


“Leaders who win the respect of others are the ones who deliver more than they promise, not the ones who promise more that they can deliver.”

Mark Clement


“Leadership is practiced not so much in words as in attitude and in actions.”

Harold Geneen


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

Ross Perot


“To lead people, walk beside them.
As for the best leaders, the people do not notice their existence.
The next best, the people honor and praise.
The next, the people fear;
and the next, the people hate.
When the best leader’s work is done the people say,
“We did it ourselves!”



“The very essence of leadership is that you have to have a vision.”

Theodore Hesburgh


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

Henry Kissinger


“A leader is a dealer in hope.”

Napoleon Bonaparte


“Leadership appears to be the art of getting others to want to do something you are convinced should be done.”

Vance Packard


”Motivation is the art of getting people to do what you want them to do because they want to do it.”

Dwight Eisenhower


“The task of leadership is not to put greatness into people, but to elicit it, for the greatness is there already.”

John Buchan


“Good leadership consists of showing average people how to do the work of superior people.”

John D Rockefeller


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

Theodore Roosevelt


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

John C. Maxwell


“Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.”

Peter F. 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


“The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The leader adjusts the sails.”

John C. Maxwell


“Clear your mind of can’t.”

Samuel Johnson


“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.”

Vincent Lombardi


“Whatever you are, be a good one.”

Abraham Lincoln


“Excellence is not an accomplishment. It is a spirit, a never-ending process.”

Lawrence M. Miller


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

George S. Patton


“The manager asks how and when; the leader asks what and why.”

Warren Bennis


“Good leaders must first become good servants.”

Robert Greenleaf


“A leader is best when people barely know he exists, not so good when people obey and acclaim him, worse when they despise him….But of a good leader who talks little when his work is done his aim fulfilled, they will say, “We did it ourselves”.”

Lao Tzu


“An army of a thousand is easy to find, but, ah, how difficult to find a general.”

Chinese proverb


“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


“The first task of a leader is to keep hope alive.”

Joe Batten


“The key to successful leadership is influence, not authority.”

Kenneth Blanchard


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

Mahatma Gandhi


“The only real training for leadership is leadership.”

Antony Jay


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

Theodore M. Hesburgh


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

John C. Maxwell


“The function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers.”

Ralph Nader


“The real leader has no need to lead – he is content to point the way.”

Henry Miller


“Keep your fears to yourself, but share your inspiration with others.”

Robert Louis Stevenson


“The life which is unexamined is not worth living.”



“It is in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped.”

Anthony Robbins


“A big man is one who makes us feel bigger when we are with him.”

John C. Maxwell


“A low morality will not sustain leadership long, its influence quickly vanishes, it cannot produce its own succession.”

Chester Irving Barnard


“Great leaders motivate large groups of individuals to improve the human condition.”

John Kotter


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

Jack Welch


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

John Quincy Adams


“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


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

Benjamin Disraeli


“Leadership is the special quality which enables people to stand up and pull the rest of us over the horizon.”

James L. Fisher


“He who cannot agree with his enemies is controlled by them.”

Chinese Proverb


“Hell, there are no rules here… we’re trying to accomplish something.”

Thomas A. Edison


“If it’s a good idea, go ahead and do it. It is much easier to apologize than it is to get permission. ”

Admiral Grace Hopper


“The price of greatness is responsibility.”

Winston Churchill


“Your position never gives you the right to command. It only imposes on you the duty of so living your life that others may receive your orders without being humiliated.”

Dag Hammarskjold


“Do the hard jobs first. The easy jobs will take care of themselves.”

Dale Carnegie


“One never notices what has been done; one can only see what remains to be done.”

Marie Curie


“A real leader faces the music, even when he doesn’t like the tune.”



“Leaders must invoke an alchemy of great vision. ”

Henry Kissinger


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



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

Tony Blair


“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 Truman


“There are many elements to a campaign.Leadership is number one. Everything else is number two.”

Bernd Brecher


“The very essence of leadership is its purpose. And the purpose of leadership is to accomplish a task. That is what leadership does–and what it does is more important than what it is or how it works.”

Colonel Dandridge M. Malone


“Leadership has a harder job to do than just choose sides. It must bring sides together.”

Jesse Jackson


“Surround yourself with the best people you can find, delegate authority, and don’t interfere as long as the policy you’ve decided upon is being carried out.”

Ronald Reagan


“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


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



“As a leader, you’re probably not doing a good job unless your employees can do a good impression of you when you’re not around.”

Patrick Lencioni


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

Ray Kroc


“I am looking for a lot of men who have an infinite capacity to not know what can’t be done.”

Henry Ford


“Leadership is the challenge to be something more than average”

Jim Rohn


“It is the responsibility of intellectuals to speak the truth and expose lies.”

Noam Chomsky


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

Ralph Waldo Emerson


“The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them. ”

Albert Einstein


“If you think you can do a thing or that you cannot do a thing, in either case you are right. ”

Henry Ford


“You do not lead by hitting people over the head – that’s assault, not leadership. ”

Dwight Eisenhower


“Leadership cannot really be taught. It can only be learned.”

Harold Geneen


“Leadership that’s reliant on mergers and acquisitions is dangerous leadership.”

John Varley


“You can’t lead anyone else further than you have gone yourself.”

Gene Mauch


“It is not fair to ask of others what you are unwilling to do yourself. ”

Anna Eleanor Roosevelt


“Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson


“The older I get the less I listen to what people say and the more I look at what they do.”

Andrew Carnegie


“Leadership is action, not position.”

Donald H. McGannon


“A good leader inspires others with confidence in him; a great leader inspires them with confidence in themselves.”



“When nothing is sure, everything is possible.”

Margaret Drabble


“Don’t be afraid of the space between your dreams and reality. If you can dream it you can make it so. ”

Belva Davis


“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


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

Marian Anderson


“The most dangerous leadership myth is that leaders are born — that there is a genetic factor to leadership. This myth asserts that people simply either have certain charismatic qualities or not.
That’s nonsense; in fact, the opposite is true. Leaders are made rather than born.”

Warren G. Bennis

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