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Quotes on LEADERSHIP





"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!'"
— Lao-tsu


"If the blind lead the blind, both shall fall in the ditch."
— Jesus Christ


"Dictators ride to and fro upon tigers which they dare not dismount. And the tigers are getting hungry."
— Winston Churchill


"Control is not leadership; management is not leadership; leadership is leadership. If you seek to lead, invest at least 50% of your time in leading yourself—your own purpose, ethics, principles, motivation, conduct. Invest at least 20% leading those with authority over you and 15% leading your peers."
— Dee Hock
Founder and CEO Emeritus, Visa


"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


"If a rhinoceros were to enter this restaurant now, there is no denying he would have great power here. But I should be the first to rise and assure him that he had no authority whatever."
— G.K. Chesterton to Alexander Woollcott


"The task of the leader is to get his people from where they are to where they have not been."
— Henry Kissinger


"No institution can possibly survive if it needs geniuses or supermen to manage it. It must be organized in such a way as to be able to get along under a leadership composed of average human beings."
— Peter Drucker


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


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


"You do not lead by hitting people over the head — that's assault, not leadership."
— Dwight D. Eisenhower


"The best is he who calls men to the best. And those who heed the call are also blessed. But worthless who call not, heed not, but rest."
— Hesiod
8th Century BC Greek poet


"Never give an order that can't be obeyed."
— General Douglas MacArthur


"Leadership must be based on goodwill. Goodwill does not mean posturing and, least of all, pandering to the mob. It means obvious and wholehearted commitment to helping followers. We are tired of leaders we fear, tired of leaders we love, and of tired of leaders who let us take liberties with them. What we need for leaders are men of the heart who are so helpful that they, in effect, do away with the need of their jobs. But leaders like that are never out of a job, never out of followers. Strange as it sounds, great leaders gain authority by giving it away."
— Admiral James B. Stockdale


"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 am reminded how hollow the label of leadership sometimes is and how heroic followership can be."
— Warren Bennis


"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


"Leadership is intentional influence."
— Michael McKinney


"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."
— Gary Wills
Certain Trumpets: The Call of Leaders


“"Education makes a people easy to lead, but difficult to drive; easy to govern, but impossible to enslave."
— Henry Peter Brougham, The Present State of Law, 1828


"A leader is one who influences a specific group of people to move in a God-given direction."
— J. Robert Clinton


"All Leadership is influence."
— John C. Maxwell
Injoy, Inc.


"Now there are five matters to which a general must pay strict heed. The first of these is administration; the second, preparedness; the third, determination; the fourth, prudence; and the fifth, economy."
— Wu Ch'i (430-381 BC)


"You cannot be a leader, and ask other people to follow you, unless you know how to follow, too."
— Sam Rayburn


"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 Hammarskjφld


"The final test of a leader is that he leaves behind him in other men, the conviction and the will to carry on."
— Walter Lippmann


"The function of a leader within any institution: to provide that regulation through his or her non-anxious, self-defined presence."
— Edwin H. Friedman, A Failure of Nerve


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


"Humans will probably always need the help of especially gifted moral leaders in order to extend the bonds of caring and trust beyond the easy range of the family and the face-to-face community. Such bonds have become essential to the future of humanity."
—Paul R. Lawrence, Driven To Lead


"Leadership cannot really be taught. It can only be learned."
— Harold Geneen


"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


"Four rules of leadership in a free legislative body:
First, no matter how hard-fought the issue, never get personal. Don't say or do anything that may come back to haunt you on another issue, another day....
Second, do your homework. You can't lead without knowing what you're talking about....
Third, the American legislative process is one of give and take. Use your power as a leader to persuade, not intimidate....
Fourth, be considerate of the needs of your colleagues, even if they're at the bottom of the totem pole...."
— George Bush
Former President of the United States


"Speak Softly and carry a big stick; you will go far."
— Theodore Roosevelt


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


"Authority should be seen as a part of leadership, not as a way around it."
— Michael McKinney


"He who has great power should use it lightly."
— Seneca


"How do you know you have won? When the energy is coming the other way and when your people are visibly growing individually and as a group."
— Sir John Harvey-Jones


"He makes a great mistake ... who supposes that authority is firmer or better established when it is founded by force than that which is welded by affection."
— Terence


"The leader must know, must know that he knows, and must be able to make it abundantly clear to those around him that he knows."
— Clarence Randall


"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


"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


"Leadership is difficult but it is not complex."
— Michael McKinney


"Look over your shoulder now and then to be sure someone's following you."
— Henry Gilmer


"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


"Leadership is the ability to establish standards and manage a creative climate where people are self-motivated toward the mastery of long term constructive goals, in a participatory environment of mutual respect, compatible with personal values."
— Mike Vance


"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 not so much about technique and methods as it is about opening the heart. Leadership is about inspiration—of oneself and of others. Great leadership is about human experiences, not processes. Leadership is not a formula or a program, it is a human activity that comes from the heart and considers the hearts of others. It is an attitude, not a routine."
— Lance Secretan, Industry Week, October 12, 1998


"More than anything else today, followers believe they are part of a system, a process that lacks heart. If there is one thing a leader can do to connect with followers at a human, or better still a spiritual level, it is to become engaged with them fully, to share experiences and emotions, and to set aside the processes of leadership we have learned by rote."
— Lance Secretan, Industry Week, October 12, 1998


"There is no power on earth that can neutralize the influence of a high, simple, and useful life."
— Booker T. Washington


"He is greatest whose strength carries up the most hearts by the attraction of his own."
— Henry Ward Beecher


"Max DePree popularized the idea that leadership is an art. So much of what a leader does cannot be objectively measured. To reduce leadership to a set of algorithms is to remove it from its context; to ignore the complexities, the contradictions, and the possibilities. Artists must deal with uncertainty, contradictions and diversity almost by definition. Leaders need to have this capacity."
— Michael McKinney


"Leadership is getting people to work for you when they are not obligated."
— Fred Smith


"Into the hands of every individual is given a marvelous power for good or evil - the silent, unconscious, unseen influence of his life. This is simply the constant radiation of what man really is, not what he pretends to be."
— William George Jordan


"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
— Margaret Mead


"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


"High sentiments always win in the end, The leaders who offer blood, toil, tears and sweat always get more out of their followers than those who offer safety and a good time. When it comes to the pinch, human beings are heroic."
— George Orwell


"It is no use walking anywhere to preach unless our walking is our preaching."
— St. Francis of Assisi


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


"In the course of history, there comes a time when humanity is called to shift to a new level of consciousness, to reach a higher moral ground. A time when we have to shed our fear and give hope to each other. That time is now."
— Wangari Maathai


"I think leadership comes from integrity - that you do whatever you ask others to do. I think there are non-obvious ways to lead. Just by providing a good example as a parent, a friend, a neighbor makes it possible for other people to see better ways to do things. Leadership does not need to be a dramatic, fist in the air and trumpets blaring, activity."
— Scott Berkun


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


"I think that the best training a top manager can be engaged in is management by example. I want to make sure there is no discrepancy between what we say and what we do. If you preach accountability and then promote somebody with bad results, it doesn't work. I personally believe the best training is management by example. Don't believe what I say. Believe what I do."
— Carlos Ghosn, CEO of Renault-Nissan


"Leadership is a posture and a choice, not a role that must be bestowed on you. Step up and be a leader when no one is watching or expecting you to do so."
— John Izzo and Marshall Goldsmith, Stepping Up


"When the conduct of men is designed to be influenced, persuasion, kind, unassuming persuasion, should ever be adopted. It is an old and a true maxim, that a "drop of honey catches more flies than a gallon of gall."
— Abraham Lincoln
February 22, 1842 in Temperance Address


"I strongly believe that the responsibility of leadership is to shape the debate—to practice and project the right attributes—whether in a business enterprise, in our society, and even in our religions."
— Farooq Kathwari, CEO Ethan Allen


"If you don't understand that you work for your mislabeled 'subordinates,' then you know nothing of leadership. You know only tyranny."
— Dee Hock


"The led must not be compelled; they must be able to choose their own leader."
— Albert Einstein


"Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power."
— Abraham Lincoln


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


"Those who try to lead the people can only do so by following the mob."
— Oscar Wilde


"The function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers."
— Ralph Nader


"No institution can possibly survive if it needs geniuses or supermen to manage it. It must be organized in such a way as to be able to get along under a leadership composed of average human beings."
— Peter Drucker


"The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good people to do what he wants done, and self-restraint to keep from meddling with them while they do it."
— Theodore Roosevelt


"A leader is a dealer in hope."
— Napoleon Bonaparte


"To be able to lead others, a man must be willing to go forward alone."
— Harry Truman


"Example is not the main thing in influencing others; it is the only thing."
— Albert Schweitzer


"People ask the difference between a leader and a boss. The leader works in the open, and the boss in covert."
— Theodore Roosevelt


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


"The leader has to be practical and a realist, yet must talk the language of the visionary and the idealist."
— Eric Hoffer


"Leadership is practiced not so much in words as in attitude and in actions.”
— Harold S. Geneen


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


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


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


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


"The growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership."
— Harvey S. Firestone


"One of the tests of leadership is the ability to recognize a problem before it becomes an emergency."
— Arnold Glasow


"Leaders conceive and articulate goals that lift people out of their petty preoccupations and unite them in pursuit of objectives worthy of their best efforts."
— John Gardner


"The ability to summon positive emotions during periods of intense stress lies at the heart of effective leadership."
— Jim Loehr


"People will emulate leaders’ behaviors, believing they have silent permission to parrot actions demonstrated at the top of the power hierarchy."
— Phil Buckley


"Leader in its most important sense means being the agent of your own life, influencing the things you care about most in the world to make it a richer life. "
— Stewart Friedman, Total Leadership


 
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