50 Powerful Quotes on Leadership

UPDATED: May 22, 2024
PUBLISHED: September 7, 2018
Young women executive giving leadership quotes

Let these words show you what it means to become a leader, and then allow them to empower you to lead well.

Powerful leadership quotes

“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
  • “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
  • “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.”—John C. Maxwell
  • “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
  • “There is no investment you can make which will pay you so well as the effort to scatter sunshine and good cheer through your establishment.”—Orison Swett Marden
  • “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.”—Peter Drucker
  • “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
“To handle yourself, use your head; to handle others, use your heart.”—Eleanor Roosevelt
  • “To handle yourself, use your head; to handle others, use your heart.”—Eleanor Roosevelt
  • “Becoming a leader is synonymous with becoming yourself. It is precisely that simple and it is also that difficult.”—Warren Bennis
  • “The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not a bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly.”—Jim Rohn

Leadership quotes for work

“Leadership is not about being in charge. It is about taking care of those in your charge.”—Simon Sinek
  • “Leadership is not about being in charge. It is about taking care of those in your charge.”—Simon Sinek
  • “Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.”—Warren Bennis
  • “The function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers.”—Ralph Nader
  • “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.”—John F. Kennedy
  • “Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.”—Dwight D. Eisenhower
  • “The quality of a leader is reflected in the standards they set for themselves.”—Ray Kroc
  • “Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence and making sure that impact lasts in your absence.”—Sheryl Sandberg
  • “The art of leadership is saying no, not yes. It is very easy to say yes.”—Tony Blair
  • “Leadership is not about titles, positions, or flowcharts. It is about one life influencing another.”—John C. Maxwell
  • “Leadership is the capacity to influence others through inspiration, motivated by a passion, generated by a vision, produced by a conviction, ignited by a purpose.”—Myles Munroe
“Leadership is an action, not a position.”—Donald McGannon
  • “Leadership is an action, not a position.”—Donald McGannon
  • “Leadership is the ability to guide others without force into a direction or decision that leaves them still feeling empowered and accomplished.”—Lisa Cash Hanson
  • “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
  • “Leadership is not about the next election, it’s about the next generation.”—Simon Sinek
  • “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.”—Theodore M. Hesburgh
  • “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
  • “You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.”—Woodrow Wilson
  • “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

Motivational leadership quotes

“The key to successful leadership is influence, not authority.”—Kenneth H. Blanchard
  • “The key to successful leadership is influence, not authority.”—Kenneth H. Blanchard
  • “A good leader takes a little more than his share of the blame, a little less than his share of the credit.”—Arnold H. Glasow
  • “A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.”—Martin Luther King Jr.
  • “The price of greatness is responsibility.”—Winston Churchill
  • “The only safe ship in a storm is leadership.” —Faye Wattleton​ 
  • “A leader is a dealer in hope.” —Napoleon Bonaparte​
  • “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​ 
  • “Real leadership is leaders recognizing that they serve the people that they lead.” —Pete Hoekstra​ 
  • “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​ 
  • “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​
  • “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 task of the leader is to get his people from where they are to where they have not been.” —Henry Kissinger
  • “Leadership is all about taking people on a journey. The challenge is that most of the time, we are asking people to follow us to places we ourselves have never been.” —Andy Stanley​ 
“Sometimes leadership is planting trees under whose shade you’ll never sit.” —Jennifer Granholm
  • “Sometimes leadership is planting trees under whose shade you’ll never sit.” —Jennifer Granholm​
  • “Leadership does not always wear the harness of compromise.” —Woodrow Wilson​ 
  • “The greatest leaders mobilize others by coalescing people around a shared vision.” —Ken Blanchard​
  • “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​ 
  • “The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint to keep from meddling with them while they do it.” —Theodore Roosevelt​ 
  • “Leadership is not just about giving energy… it’s unleashing other people’s energy.” —Paul Polman​ 
  • “Average leaders raise the bar on themselves; good leaders raise the bar for others; great leaders inspire others to raise their own bar.” —Orrin Woodward​
  • “Good leaders build products. Great leaders build cultures. Good leaders deliver results. Great leaders develop people. Good leaders have a vision. Great leaders have values. Good leaders are role models at work. Great leaders are role models in life.” —Adam Grant​ 
  • “The growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership.” —Harvey S. Firestone​

This article was updated May 2024. Photo By fizkes/Shutterstock.com

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