100 Inspirational Quotes on Leadership

Leadership, over the years, has come to be defined as a mindset rather than designation. It is a multi-faceted responsibility that includes the ability to inspire, influence, and guide others in your team to help grow and become better, every day.

One of the most engaging ways to get inspired towards better leadership is by imbibing and mulling over the inspiring words of the great leaders who continue to make this world a better place.

Presenting a curated list of 100 inspiring quotes that will help you put your best leadership foot forward –

1. Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.
— Warren Bennis

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

3. 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

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

5. You don’t need a title to be a leader.
— Multiple Attributions

6. A leader is one who sees more than others see, who sees farther than others see, and who sees before others see.
— Leroy Eimes

7. I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion.
— Alexander the Great, former king of Macedonia

8. A leader who doesn’t hesitate before he sends his nation into battle is not fit to be a leader.
— Golda Meir

9. A leader should have higher grit and tenacity, and be able to endure what the employees can’t.
— Jack Ma

11. The hardest thing about being a leader is demonstrating or showing vulnerability. When the leader demonstrates vulnerability and sensibility and brings people together, the team wins.
— Howard Schultz

12. 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

13. A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.
— John Maxwell

14. 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

15. 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

16. More leaders have been made by accident, circumstance, sheer grit, or will than have been made by all the leadership courses put together.
— Warren Bennis

17. Good leaders build products. Great leaders build cultures. Good leaders deliver results. Great leaders develop people. Good leaders have vision. Great leaders have values. Good leaders are role models at work. Great leaders are role models in life.
— Adam Grant

18. Leadership is not just about giving energy, it’s unleashing other people’s energy.
— Paul Polman

19. Great leaders are not defined by the absence of weakness, but rather by the presence of clear strengths.
— John Zenger

21. 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

22. To command is to serve, nothing more and nothing less.
— Andre Malraux

23. He who has never learned to obey cannot be a good commander.
— Aristotle

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

25. Effective leadership is not about making speeches or being liked; leadership is defined by results not attributes.
— Peter Drucker

26. A great person attracts great people and knows how to hold them together.
— Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

27. 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

28. 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

29. Leaders must encourage their organizations to dance to forms of music yet to be heard.  —Warren Bennis

31. A tyrant is always stirring up some war or other, in order that the people may require a leader.
— Plato

32. Being a leader is making the people you love hate you a little more each day.
— Patrick Ness

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33. Leadership should be more participative than directive, more enabling than performing.
— Mary D. Poole

34. The art of leadership is saying no, not saying yes. It is very easy to say yes.
— Tony Blair

35. 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

36. A good general not only sees the way to victory; he also knows when victory is impossible.
— Polybius

37. A great leader’s courage to fulfill his vision comes from passion, not position.
— John Maxwell

38. 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

39. Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.
— General Dwight Eisenhowe

41. Leaders are people who believe so passionately that they can seduce other people into sharing their dream.
— Warren Bennis

42. Leadership requires belief in the mission and unyielding perseverance to achieve victory.
— Jocko Willink

43. 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

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

45. Leaders think and talk about the solutions. Followers think and talk about the problems.
— Brian Tracy

46. 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

47. As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others.
– Bill Gates

48. 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

49. 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

51. Leadership is not about titles, positions, or flow charts. It is about one life influencing another.
— John C. Maxwell

52. Leading people is the most challenging and, therefore, the most gratifying undertaking of all human endeavours.
— Jocko Willink

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

54. Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.
— John F. Kennedy

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

56. Leadership is the key to 99 percent of all successful efforts.
— Erskine Bowles

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

58. Not the cry, but the flight of a wild duck, leads the flock to fly and follow.
– Chinese Proverb

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

61. 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

62. 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

63. 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

64. There are three essentials to leadership: humility, clarity and courage.
— Fuchan Yuan

65. A cowardly leader is the most dangerous of men.
— Stephen King

66. The supreme quality of leadership is integrity.
— Dwight Eisenhower

67. Ninety percent of leadership is the ability to communicate something people want.
— Dianne Feinstein, U.S. Senator

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68. Outstanding leaders go out of the way to boost the self -esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it’s amazing what they can accomplish.
— Sam Walton, founder of Walmart and Sam’s Club

69. One of the most important things for any leader is to never let anyone else define who you are. And you define who you are. I never think of myself as being a woman CEO of this company. I think of myself as a steward of a great institution.
— Ginni Rometty, CEO of IBM

71. You don’t have to hold a position in order to be a leader.
— Henry Ford, founder of the Ford Motor Company

72. True leadership stems from individuality that is honestly and sometimes imperfectly expressed. Leaders should strive for authenticity over perfection.
— Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook

73. To have long term success as a coach or in any position of leadership, you have to be obsessed in some way.
— Pat Riley, President of the Miami Heat and former Lakers coac

74. A man who wants to lead the orchestra must turn his back on the crowd.
— Max Lucado, Christian author and preacher

75. Leadership is a matter of having people look at you and gain confidence, seeing how you react. If you’re in control, they’re in control.
— Tom Landry

76. A person always doing his or her best becomes a natural leader, just by example.
— Joe DiMaggio

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

78. To be a leader, you have to make people want to follow you, and nobody wants to follow someone who doesn’t know where he is going.
— Joe Namath, former New York Jets quarterback

79. A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.
— Martin Luther King Jr

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

82. Leadership consists of nothing but taking responsibility for everything that goes wrong and giving your subordinates credit for everything that goes well.
— Dwight D. Eisenhower

83. 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, U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development

84. If your actions create a legacy that inspires others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, then, you are an excellent leader.
— Dolly Parton

85. 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, author and journalist

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

87. Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence and making sure that impact lasts in your absence.
— Sheryl Sandberg

88. The only safe ship in a storm is leadership.
— Faye Wattleton

89. The very essence of leadership is that you have to have a vision.
— Theodore Hesburgh

91. Victims make excuses. Leaders deliver results.
– Robin Sharma

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

93. Leaders live by choice, not by accident.
— Mark Gorman

94. The test of leadership is, is anything or anyone better because of you?
— Mark Sanborn

95.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

96. Leaders don’t force people to follow – they invite them on a journey.
— Charles S. Lauer

97. I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the water to create many ripples.
— Mother Teresa 

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

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

That brings us to the end of this exhaustive list. Do let us know the quote you found most inspiring. We would love to hear from you!

Also, if you would like us to add any quote to this list, feel free to drop a comment.

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