The Ten Best Quotes About Leadership

best quotes about leadership

Leadership is one of the hardest skills to learn out there. It requires great self-awareness, discipline, and the urge to help others grow. Multiple people throughout history have learned their own leadership lessons. Below we’ll review what few of the most successful (and famous) people have said about being a leader with the ten best quotes about leadership.


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

-Theodore M. Hesburgh


In this quote, Hesburgh is drawing our attention to the fact that true leadership is all about having the courage to see the bigger picture, even when smaller operational matters are competing for your focus. The best leaders need to develop a certain tunnel vision about how they want their business to be positioned – this means making decisions based on what will further your progress towards that vision. Anything that doesn’t bring you closer to that goal should be seriously reconsidered, minimized, or dropped. Seeing a way from A to B and being able to articulate that is hugely important.


“The single biggest way to impact an organization is to focus on leadership development. There is almost no limit to the potential of an organization that recruits good people, raises them up as leaders and continually develops them.”

-John Maxwell


They say that an organization is only as good as it’s people, and this quote reminds us of the need to invest into the new HR software and processes like recruitment and training, but also in paying attention to intangibles such as company culture, and a sense of being valued that will keep people on side and loyal to your business. True leaders do not have to feel threatened by the assets of others – they recognize that no one individual is an expert in everything. The key to success lies in developing others and increasing the strength and diversity of the business as a whole entity.


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


It’s always important to have one eye on the future, as household names who failed to evolve, like Kodak, have seen to their detriment. Even if you’re riding high, you should never rest on your laurels. Having a healthy pipeline in development is something that should never become neglected. What is on the horizon in terms of macroenvironment, consumer and industry trends, and your own research and development? Keeping this future-focused view will enable a leader to keep driving their company forwards.


“Ultimately, leadership is not about glorious crowning acts. It’s about keeping your team focused on a goal and motivated to do their best to achieve it, especially when the stakes are high and the consequences really matter. It is about laying the groundwork for others’ success, and then standing back and letting them shine” –  Chris Hadfield


We often think about leadership in terms of awards won or even books authored. But the true measure of a successful leader is by acting as an enabler – bringing people together, acting as a point of cohesion for ideas, and identifying the synergies across the business for greater profit. Being able to quickly identify strengths in all areas and capitalizing on them can turn a crisis into an opportunity.


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


Being able to positively influence those around us is a subtle art and one which every first-time leader needs to master. The true art lies in being able to effectively persuade those around you of the value of your vision and win them over to your cause by leveraging their own reasons and seeing where your interests align.


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


The constant development of your knowledge base is absolutely essential. Tech industry leader Sandberg acknowledges the importance of learning in forging your own path as a leader – never closing your mind to something new, but instead assimilating that knowledge for your own purposes.


“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”  – Simon Sinek


Uncovering the ‘why’ behind the motivations of leaders and customers gets to the heart of an issue. This is another vote for being able to clearly articulate your vision and mission statement – an ability that will help you to win hearts and minds.


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


A personality that inspires confidence and devotion is a fine asset to any leader. Tracy’s analysis neatly sums up the unique combination of approachability and control that can inspire people to buy into you and what you do.


“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


Leaders are nothing without the people they lead, so DePree gives us here a timely reminder to pay it back to those who inspire us and enable us to lead them. A good leader is a gateway to possibilities  – hearing people’s requests and securing the corporate resources needed to make them happen. 


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


It may be millennia ago, but the words of Aristotle still resonate today. They say that everyone needs to work under a bad boss or two in order to understand what not to do, and that’s a valuable lesson.


One common idea across all ten best quotes about leadership is that being a leader means being an example to others. The leader has to inspire trust, authority, and always put the interests of the team above his personal ones. 



This post was written by Vlad Shvets from Paperform.

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