Friday, March 21, 2014

My Top 100 Leadership Quotes

Here is the list of my top 100 leadership quotes (from various sources). Lao Tzu tops the list easily.

  1. 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
  2. I must follow the people. Am I not their leader? —Benjamin Disraeli
  3. 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
  4. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others. —Jack Welch
  5. A leader is a dealer in hope. —Napoleon Bonaparte
  6. You don’t need a title to be a leader. –Multiple Attributions
  7. A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way. —John Maxwell
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. To command is to serve, nothing more and nothing less. —Andre Malraux
  11. He who has never learned to obey cannot be a good commander. —Aristotle
  12. I start with the premise that the function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers. —Ralph Nader
  13. Effective leadership is not about making speeches or being liked; leadership is defined by results not attributes. —Peter Drucker
  14. Anyone can hold the helm when the sea is calm. —Publilius Syrus
  15. A great person attracts great people and knows how to hold them together. —Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
  16. 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
  17. 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
  18. When I give a minister an order, I leave it to him to find the means to carry it out. —Napoleon Bonaparte
  19. 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
  20. The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority. —Kenneth Blanchard
  21. A great leader’s courage to fulfill his vision comes from passion, not position. —John Maxwell
  22. 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
  23. 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
  24. A ruler should be slow to punish and swift to reward. —Ovid
  25. 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
  26. Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it. —General Dwight Eisenhower
  27. Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity. —General George Patton
  28. As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others. —Bill gates
  29. Effective leadership is putting first things first. Effective management is discipline, carrying it out. —Stephen Covey
  30. 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
  31. He who has great power should use it lightly. —Seneca
  32. 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
  33. If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader. —John Quincy Adams
  34. 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
  35. 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
  36. Leaders must be close enough to relate to others, but far enough ahead to motivate them. —John C. Maxwell
  37. Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other. —John F. Kennedy
  38. Leadership cannot just go along to get along. Leadership must meet the moral challenge of the day. —Jesse Jackson
  39. Leadership is a potent combination of strategy and character. But if you must be without one, be without the strategy. —Norman Schwarzkopf
  40. 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
  41. Leadership is the key to 99 percent of all successful efforts. —Erskine Bowles
  42. Leadership is unlocking people’s potential to become better. —Bill Bradley
  43. Management is about arranging and telling. Leadership is about nurturing and enhancing. —Tom Peters
  44. Never give an order that can’t be obeyed. —General Douglas MacArthur
  45. Not the cry, but the flight of a wild duck, leads the flock to fly and follow. —Chinese Proverb
  46. One of the tests of leadership is the ability to recognize a problem before it becomes an emergency. —Arnold Glasow
  47. 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
  48. The growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership. —Harvey Firestone
  49. 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
  50. 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
  51. 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
  52. There are three essentials to leadership: humility, clarity and courage. —Fuchan Yuan
  53. My responsibility is getting all my players playing for the name on the front of the jersey, not the one on the back. –Unknown
  54. A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week. –George Patton
  55. The supreme quality of leadership is integrity. –Dwight Eisenhower
  56. Leadership is an action, not a position. ~ Donald McGannon
  57.  The challenge of leadership is to be strong but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not a bully; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly ~ Jime Rohn
  58.  Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen. ~ Winston Churchill
  59. If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader. ~ John Quincy Adams
  60. Leadership is not about titles, positions or flowcharts. It is about one life influencing another. ~ John C. Maxwell
  61. Leaders think and talk about the solutions. Followers think and talk about the problems. ~ Brian Tracy
  62. Leadership should be more participative than directive, more enabling than performing. ~ Mary D. Poole
  63. My job is not to be easy on people. My job is to take these great people we have and to push them and make them even better. ~ Steve Jobs
  64.  The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things. ~ Ronald Reagan
  65. Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion. ~ Jack Welch
  66. I was never the smartest guy in the room. From the first person I hired, I was never the smartest guy in the room. And that’s a big deal. And if you’re going to be a leader – if you’re a leader and you’re the smartest guy in the world – in the room, you’ve got real problems. ~ Jack Welch
  67. Leaders are not, as we are often led to think, people who go along with huge crowds following them. Leaders are people who go their own way without caring, or even looking to see, whether anyone is following them. “Leadership qualities” are not the qualities that enable people to attract followers, but those that enable them to do without them. They include, at the very least, courage, endurance, patience, humor, flexibility, resourcefulness, stubbornness, a keen sense of reality, and the ability to keep a cool and clear head, even when things are going badly. True leaders, in short, do not make people into followers, but into other leaders. ~ John Holt
  68.  Too many companies believe people are interchangeable. Truly gifted people never are. They have unique talents. Such people cannot be forced into roles they are not suited for, nor should they be. Effective leaders allow great people to do the work they were born to do. ~ Warren  Bennis
  69.  Contrary to popular opinion, leadership is not a reserved position for a particular group of people who were elected or appointed, ordained or enthroned. Leadership is self-made, self-retained, self-inculcated and then exposed through a faithful, sincere and exemplary life. ~ Israelmore Avivor
  70. You must be the change you wish to see in the world. ~ Mahatma Gandhi
  71. If you tell me, I'll listen. If you show me, I'll see. If you let me experience, I'll learn. - Lao Tsu.
  72. Inspiring leadership is about being able to make his soldiers feel that they must follow him through fire and in any adventure.- Xenophon
  73. Some rowing masters can say and do the right thing and raise the men's spirits and make them work with a will. Other rowing masers are so lacking in this ability that it takes them twice the time to finish the voyage. Here they land bathed in sweat, with mutual congratulations, master and oarsmen. There, they arrive with dry skin; they hate their master and he hates them.
  74. A leader puts his words into action before allowing his words to follow his action. 
  75. When people are of one mind and heart, they can move Mount Tai"- proverb.
  76. When spiders unite they can tie up a lion. -Ethiopian proverb
  77. Once we are bound together to our brothers by a common good that is outside us, then we can breathe. Experience teaches us that love is not to gaze at one another but to gaze in the same direction. There is no comradeship except through unity on the same rope, climbing towards the same peak. - Antoine de Saint Exupery
  78. Ten good soldiers wisely led will beat a hundred without a head. – Euripedes
  79. Regard your soldiers as your children, and they will follow you into the deepest valleys, look on them as your beloved sons, and they will stand by you even unto death. – Sun Tzu
  80. Evidence of trust begets trust, and love is reciprocated by love – Plutarch
  81. To be able yet to ask the advise of those who are not able. to have many talents yet to ask the advise of those who have few. to have yet to appear to want. to be full yet to appear empty. to be transgressed against yet not mind. - Tseng-Tzu on Confucius's approach to leadership
  82. Over daily routine do not show weariness and when there is action to be taken, give your best.
  83. It is happier to be sometimes cheated than not to trust. - Samuel Johnson
  84. When the shepherd is corrupt so is his flock. - Moorish proverb.
  85. The best leader is easy to serve but difficult to please.
  86. Be economical with praise - like gold and diamonds it owes it value to scarcity.
  87. The chief has no relatives. - Tsonga people of Africa
  88. By asking the impossible you get the best possible - Italian proverb
  89. Don't compromise your standards or values. Demand the very best from your team and reward those who give it.
  90. Justice is the first expression of love.
  91. The one nearest the enemy is the real leader.
  92. You can tell what type of a person someone is by the way they treat strangers
  93. Leadership should mean giving a lead by example, even without a position of authority. True leadership ...displayed by men who have no high position or reputation at stake, but with much to lose in terms of security, in comradeship and convenience, who stand up for what they know, from their conscience to be right.- John Hunt
  94. Leadership is best described as the art of inspiring others to give their best, and the courage to use this art. ..demands that the leader operates from within the group and not above it, that in setting a good example he does not steal the initiative of others; in other words, he takes his full share - but no more than his share of the job at hand.' – John Hunt
  95. '.. implies a willingness not merely to decentralize or apportion the burden, but an ability to persuade each member of the group that is an equally essential job and that each has his liberty as well as responsibility to develop that part of a whole.'- John Hunt
  96. is the art of combining the efforts of everyone to produce a combined result. No place for arrogance." – John Hunt
  97. To say you know when you know, and to say you do not when you do not, that is knowledge.
  98. You are not born a leader, you become one. - African proverb
  99. An army of sheep led by a lion is better than an army of lions led by a sheep – Anonymous
  100. 'A servant leader should be a performance coach. The job includes performance planning, day-to-day coaching and performance evaluation. Most forget the day-today coaching bit and focus on evaluation. The 5 Key steps are -Tell them what to do, Show them, Let them try, Observe, Train program, redirect. – Ken Blanchard
One cannot have a better education than read the masters and their views on these subjects. What a wonderful repository of wisdom on such a complex topic.

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