These leadership quotes will spark your fire.
And they will guide you towards becoming a powerful and compassionate leader.
Every one of us needs leadership skills and abilities.
Regardless of whether you are a fulltime mother or father, a janitor, a corporate executive, a journalist, a farmer, content creator, an aspiring entrepreneur, or a student, you need leadership skills and character traits for every category of your life.
So what character-traits and qualities make someone a great leader?
Everyday we are faced with tough decisions that affect our own lives as well as the lives of the people around us.
Your ability to lead others will help you prosper in your relationships with your family, friends, peers, significant others, and children.
And it will help you thrive in your career, your business, your school, your sports team, and your community.
Below are insightful leadership quotes from some of the greatest leaders in human history that define great leadership and explain what it truly means to be an effective shepherd for the people you lead.
Don’t forget to also read these powerful Jocko Willink quotes to motivate leaders.
If you enjoy this article, check out our most popular quote article, a list of short inspirational quotes for daily motivation.
If you want more motivational quotes, check out our motivational quotes category page.
Leadership Quotes That Will Spark Your Fire
1. “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” – John C. Maxwell
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2. “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” – Steve Jobs
3. “Mountaintops inspire leaders but valleys mature them.” – Winston Churchill
4. “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” – John F. Kennedy
5. “The art of leadership is saying no, not yes. It is very easy to say yes.” – Tony Blair
6. “Lead from the back — and let others believe they are in front.” – Nelson Mandela
7. “We cannot lead anyone farther than we have been ourselves.” – John C. Maxwell
8. “You don’t have to hold a position in order to be a leader.” – Henry Ford
9. “He who cannot be a good follower cannot be a good leader.” – Aristotle
10. “Earn your leadership every day.” – Michael Jordan
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Leadership quotes that will inspire you to make your mark
11. “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
12. “If you want to be a leader who attracts quality people, the key is to become a person of quality yourself.”– Jim Rohn
13. “All leaders are readers.” – Jim Rohn
14. “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
15. “The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The leader adjusts the sails.” – John Maxwell
16. “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
17. “Leaders must be close enough to relate to others, but far enough ahead to motivate them.”– John C. Maxwell
18. “Leadership is not about titles, positions, or flow charts. It is about one life influencing another.” – John C. Maxwell
19. “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
20. “Are leaders born or made? This is a false dichotomy – leaders are neither born nor made. Leaders choose to be leaders.” – Stephen R. Covey
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Leadership quotes that will change the way you think
21. “The test of organization is not genius. It is its capacity to make common people achieve uncommon performance.” – Peter F. Drucker
22. “True leadership stems from individuality that is honestly and sometimes imperfectly expressed… Leaders should strive for authenticity over perfection.” – Sheryl Sandberg
23. “In the future, there will be no female leaders. There will just be leaders.”– Sheryl Sandberg
24. “Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence and making sure that impact lasts in your absence.”– Sheryl Sandberg
25. “To have long term success as a coach or in any position of leadership, you have to be obsessed in some way.” – Pat Riley
26. “We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better.” – J.K. Rowling
27. “Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.” – Michael Jordan
28. “A good objective of leadership is to help those who are doing poorly to do well and to help those who are doing well to do even better.”– Jim Rohn
29. “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
30. “A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus, but a molder of consensus.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
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Leadership quotes to inspire you to make your impact in the world
31. “Leadership never ascends from the pew to the pulpit, but invariably descends from the pulpit to the pew.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
32. “A leader is a dealer in hope.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
33. “Real leaders must be ready to sacrifice all for the freedom of their people.”– Nelson Mandela
34. “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” – Barack Obama
35. “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
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36. “Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
37. “To lead people, walk beside them. As for the best leaders, the people do not notice their existence … When the best leader’s work is done, the people say, ‘We did it ourselves!’” – Lao Tzu
38. “A boss has the title, a leader has the people.” – Simon Sinek
39. “The leaders who get the most out of their people are the leaders who care most about their people.” – Simon Sinek
40. “Leading people is the most challenging and, therefore, the most gratifying undertaking of all human endeavors.” – Jocko Willink
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Leadership quotes to inspire and teach
41. “A leader must lead, but also be ready to follow. They must be aggressive, but not overbearing. A leader must be calm, but not robotic. They must be confident, but never cocky. A leader must be brave, but not foolhardy. They must have a competitive spirit, but be a gracious loser.”– Jocko Willink
42. “A leader must be attentive to details, but not obsessed with them. They must be strong, but have endurance. A leader must be humble, but not passive. They must be close to subordinates, but not too close. A leader must exercise ‘extreme ownership’, but employ ‘decentralized command’. They must have nothing to prove, but everything to prove.” – Jocko Willink
43. “When setting expectations, no matter what has been said or written, if substandard performance is accepted and no one is held accountable—if there are no consequences—that poor performance becomes the new standard. Therefore, leaders must enforce standards.” – Jocko Willink
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44. “I had to take complete ownership of what went wrong. That is what a leader does — even if it means getting fired. If anyone was to be blamed and fired for what happened, let it be me.” – Jocko Willink
45. “Leadership requires belief in the mission and unyielding perseverance to achieve victory.” – Jocko Willink
46. “The secret of leadership is simple: Do what you believe in. Paint a picture of the future. Go there. People will follow.” – Seth Godin
47. “Leadership is the art of giving people a platform for spreading ideas that work.” – Seth Godin
48. “Leadership distilled down to 3 words: Make a difference.” – Robin Sharma
49. “Victims make excuses. Leaders deliver results.” – Robin Sharma
50. “We’re here for a reason. I believe a bit of the reason is to throw little torches out to lead people through the dark.” – Whoopi Goldberg
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More leadership quotes and sayings
51. “A good leader inspires people to have confidence in the leader, a great leader inspires people to have confidence in themselves.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
52. “Leaders don’t create followers, they create more leaders.” – Tom Peters
53. “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” – John Quincy Adams
54. “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
55. “A leader is someone who helps improve the lives of other people or improve the system they live under.” – Sam Houston
56. “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou
57. “Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.” – Warren G. Bennis
58. “Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.” – Jack Welch
59. “Effective leadership is not about making speeches or being liked; leadership is defined by results not attributes.” – Peter Drucker
60. “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
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Leadership quotes by women
61. “Today a reader, tomorrow a leader.” — Margaret Fuller
62. “The only safe ship in a storm is leadership.” — Faye Wattleton
63. “I never dreamed about success. I worked for it.” — Estée Lauder
64. “The speed of the leader is the speed of the gang.” — Mary Kay Ash
65. “My best successes came on the heels of failures.” — Barbara Corcoran
66. “I don’t go by the rule book. I lead from the heart, not the head.” — Princess Diana
67. “Leadership is a series of behaviors rather than a role for heroes.” — Margaret Wheatley
68. “The ability to learn is the most important quality a leader can have.” — Padmasree Warrior
69. “The amount of good luck coming your way depends on your willingness to act.” — Barbara Sher
70. “Strategic leaders must not get consumed by the operational and tactical side of their work.” — Stephanie S. Mead
Leadership quotes to bring out the leader in you
71. “Don’t follow the crowd, let the crowd follow you.” ― Margaret Thatcher
72. “Great leaders create more leaders, not followers.” ― Roy T. Bennett
73. “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
74. “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.” ― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
75. “Power isn’t control at all — power is strength, and giving that strength to others. A leader isn’t someone who forces others to make him stronger; a leader is someone willing to give his strength to others that they may have the strength to stand on their own.” ― Beth Revis
76. “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” ― Peter Drucker
77. “A man can only lead when others accept him as their leader, and he has only as much authority as his subjects give to him. All of the brilliant ideas in the world cannot save your kingdom if no one will listen to them.” ― Brandon Sanderson
78. “Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.” ― Harry S. Truman
79. “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other. [Undelivered remarks for Dallas Trade Mart, November 22, 1963]” ― John F. Kennedy
80. “Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.” ― Dwight D. Eisenhower
Leadership Quotes About Leading By Example
81. “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
82. “To me, leadership is about encouraging people. It’s about stimulating them. It’s about enabling them to achieve what they can achieve – and to do that with a purpose.” ― Christine Lagarde
83. “A leader is one who sees more than others see, who sees farther than others see, and who sees before others see.” ― Leroy Eimes
84. “A good leader must hate the wrong thing more than they hate the pain of doing the right thing.” ― Angela Jiang
85. “As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others” ― Bill Gates
86. “The task of the leader is to get his people from where they are to where they have not been.” ― Henry Kissinger
87. “Leadership is communicating to people their worth and potential so clearly that they are inspired to see it in themselves.” ― L. David Marquet
88. “Every great leader can take you back to a defining moment when they decided to lead.” ― John Paul Warren
89. “Leadership is self-made. People who have deliberately decided to become problem solvers lead better.” ― Israelmore Ayivor
90. “True leaders understand that leadership is not about them but about those they serve. It is not about exalting themselves but about lifting others up.” ― Sheri L. Dew
What did you learn from these leadership quotes?
A great quote can totally change your life by reminding you of the greatness that lies within you.
Great quotes also provide the knowledge, tips, and information you need to walk your own path towards making your impact in the world.
I hope these leadership quotes have sparked a fire within you that will lead you towards making your mark, gaining influence, and becoming a compassionate shepherd for the people you lead.
These quotes reveal that great leadership is about becoming a lifelong student, voracious learner, and reader; making sacrifices; taking full ownership of your mistakes; giving credit to the people below you; showing humility; being kind; and actually caring about the people you work with.
All great leaders move forward with boldness and bravery, deliver results consistently, help others, make a difference, lift people up, stay authentic to their true selves, make others better, believe in their mission, persevere with bravery, and stay calm in the face of danger.
And sometimes leaders have to be willing to follow others if the situation calls for it.
If you can take these leadership principles and apply them in your own life, there is no limit to heights you will climb to and the number of lives you will improve in 2020 and beyond.
What’s your biggest takeaway from these leadership quotes and sayings?
Do you have any other inspirational quotes to add?
let us know in the comment section below.