Follow these leadership quotes to become an inspirational leader.
Being a leader is far from easy.
You have to make big decisions, contend with the needs of others, take responsibility for your actions and set an example for excellence.
The pressure of being a great leader can be overwhelming for many.
There is good news is, the world has been filled with great leaders that have come before you!
The leadership quotes they’ve left behind can help inspire you to be a better leader – one with poise and grace, candor and excellence.
These quotes will help you inspire those you lead.
1. “To handle yourself, use your head; to handle others, use your heart.” — Eleanor Roosevelt
If you’re looking for a few inspirational words to help motivate you as a leader or a little coaching to achieve your fullest potential, there’s a lot of great advice out there to focus on.
Whether you’re trying to master the concept of inspiring others or you need some guidance in how to delegate for success, the right words and the right meaning will have a profound effect on your education as a leader.
Leadership quotes: a few important lessons you can learn from great leaders and their wise words
No matter what position you’re in or what role you’ve adopted as a leader, you need to focus on the task at hand and meet the expectations set down for you.
It won’t be easy, but you’ll learn everything you need to in due time.
And, along the way, you can always reflect on a few motivational leader quotes to instill confidence in you when you feel the pressure of leadership bearing down on you.
2. “You don’t need a title to be a leader.” — Mark Sanborn
3. “Leadership is an action, not a position.” — Donald McGannon
4. “Earn your leadership every day.” — Michael Jordan
Leaders are always under the microscope.
Even when you’re not directly leading people, there’s always going to be someone looking to you for guidance, inspiration or instruction.
Every triumph you achieve will be documented, but so will every failure.
It’s important to always carry yourself as a leader, even when you think no one is watching . . . because they are.
The best leadership quotes are the ones that remind us to compose ourselves at all times
More than just acting the part of a leader even when they think no one is watching, true leaders actually adopt this mentality in all that they do.
Eventually, it transforms them into the type of person who’s meant to lead: Someone who is true and honest, and who has nothing to hide.
This will translate into other areas of your life as well!
The people you lead will come to recognize you as someone they respect because you carry yourself in that way.
Moreover, you’ll garner the attention you deserve as someone capable of delivering excellence through your leadership.
If you’re the type of person to carry around a few short leadership quotes to keep you cognizant of your mission at all times, be sure to handpick a few that talk about acting with poise.
All it takes is a subtle reminder of how a great leader acts to put you in the right frame of mind to carry yourself like one of the greats.
Put the needs of others first
5. “Lead from the back and let others believe they are in front.” — Nelson Mandela
6. “Real leadership is leaders recognizing that they serve the people that they lead.” — Pete Hoekstra
7. “Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers, who can cut through argument, debate, and doubt to offer a solution everybody can understand.” — Colin Powell
The one thing you always need to remember as a leader is that great leaders support their team.
They put them in front of themselves and strive to help and provide the necessary resources for their teams success.
Many inspirational leadership quotes define this as a must-have criterion for being a leader!
Leaders who put others before themselves show their ability to consider the collective before the individual.
This means they’re able to act with altruism and selflessness, even when their needs are at the back of a long list of others.
Whether it’s giving someone an opportunity, taking the time to listen to them, teaching them how to be better or even allowing them to surpass you, your tenure as a leader means putting your own focus on the backburner.
Great leadership quotes extol leaders who can be selfless without resenting others for it.
When you truly want to put the needs of others first, the path to being a great leader will shine brightly for you.
And, when you start to put others before yourself, you’ll learn the true meaning of leadership: Being of service to others.
Elevate the people around you
8. “We rise by lifting others.” — Robert Ingersoll
9. “I start with the premise that the function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers.” — Ralph Nader
10. “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
In addition to putting other people’s needs before your own, as a leader you need to also find ways to elevate them.
Think about it—if you’re in a position to lead, it only makes sense that the people following you will eventually grow to your level and even surpass you one day.
Bad leaders see this as a threat; good leaders see this as success.
Inspiring leadership quotes teach us to elevate everyone around us in every way we can.
Give people praise, provide them with opportunities, encourage them in their endeavors and recognize their successes.
When you do these things, you’ll inspire success among those you lead.
A good leader knows
A good leader knows that sometimes, all people need to reach their fullest potential is someone giving them support.
Many leadership quotes encourage us to think about things from an opposite perspective.
If someone comes to you asking for an opportunity, should you give it to them?
What if you were in their shoes, in their position?
Sometimes the best leadership approach is empathy.
When you empathize with the people you lead, you’ll put yourself in a position to lift them up towards success.
Don’t seek success; enable it
11. “Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.” — Albert Einstein
12. “Don’t tell people how to do things, tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results.” — George Patton
13. “Keep your fears to yourself, but share your inspiration with others.” — Robert Louis Stevenson
Being a great leader isn’t about measuring each individual success you achieve; it’s about enabling success.
Some of the most famous leadership quotes remind us that true success is ongoing—the sum of its parts instead of individual actions.
When you enable success instead of constantly trying to seek it out, success will come to you in a variety of ways.
Consider the simple example of managing a sales staff.
If you close a big deal on your own, you’ll get the accolades that come from it.
But, then you’ll have to keep closing sale after sale, making bigger and bigger deals over time—also on your own.
However, if you take the time to teach your sales staff and instill confidence in them, they’ll get better and better at what they do, resulting in more sales and more successes than you were capable of on your own.
Power of a true leader
This is the power of a true leader.
When you enable success, something truly inspirational happens: You become a leader that’s capable of leading passively.
You don’t always have to make difficult decisions or take a bold new stand on something—instead, these things will happen automatically, because you’ve enabled action among the people you lead.
Every new success will be one manifested naturally, not one you need to seek out.
If you’re a leader who can manufacture success, you’ll be a cut above anyone still struggling to seek it out.
Leadership and management are different
14. “Management is doing things right. Leadership is doing the right things.” — Peter F. Drucker
15. “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
16. “Failing organizations are usually over-managed and under-led.” — Warren Bennis
There’s a lot of confusion about the terms “leadership” and “management.”
For starters, they’re not mutually exclusive!
A leader may not always be able to manage people and a manager may not always be a good leader.
Understanding the stark difference between these roles can help you make sure you’re playing your part properly, depending on your position.
Reflecting on good leadership quotes will help you be the leader you want to be and can help managers learn the traits they need to become good leaders.
Management involves taking responsibility for the people who report to you.
How you manage them is what determines whether or not you’re a good leader.
If you recognize each person for their success and bear the burden of their collective mistakes, you’ve got what it takes to be a leader.
A manager has an objective; a leader has a mission
When you transition from simply doing your duty to actively bettering the people you oversee, you’ll be taking the leap from management to leadership.
To truly understand the difference between a manager and a leader, it’s best to look at military leadership quotes.
The military doesn’t have managers: It has leaders. Why? Because leadership is paramount for inspiring those you oversee.
When it comes to defending freedom and protecting the innocent, the people on the front lines need a leader, not a manager.
If you adopt this mentality in all you do, you’ll quickly become much more than a manager.
Don’t let criticisms define you
17. “A man who wants to lead the orchestra must turn his back on the crowd.” — Max Lucado
18. “One of the greatest skills of leadership is being unflappable. Anytime you do anything in the world; there’s going to be criticism.” — Arianna Huffington
19. “The art of leadership is saying no, not yes. It is very easy to say yes.” — Tony Blair
Even the best leaders are subject to criticism.
You can’t please everyone when you’re responsible for their collective needs, so every decision you make is bound to have opponents.
Make sure you hear their concerns, but not their criticisms.
When you open your mind to constructive feedback and close it off to unfocused criticism, you’ll put yourself in a position to be confident, collected and calm in your role.
There are no shortage of funny leadership quotes that help us weather the scorn of people who feel personally wronged by the decisions of leaders.
It’s important to remember that often, the loudest critics are the ones who are least informed and least in a position to do better.
They’ll berate you and disavow your decisions and actions, but that shouldn’t deter you from making them.
In order to move forward, you will need to block out angry voices and remember why you acted that way in the first place.
Having confidence in your choices and decisions will make you a better leader
When you’re having trouble hearing the positive voices in the crowd over the negative drone, try to put your actions into context.
Overall, when you make decisions, does your team benefit?
If you took action, was anyone hurt by it?
Defining the endgame of your leadership can be a motivational tool that helps you take comfort in your brand of leadership.
When you don’t let your criticisms define you, you’ll leave the door open for your triumphs.
Continue to learn as you lead
20. “Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
21. “Leaders must be close enough to relate to others, but far enough ahead to motivate them.” — John C. Maxwell
22. “Leadership is much more an art, a belief, a condition of the heart, than a set of things to do.” — Max De Pree
Even as a leader, you need to think of yourself as a student.
You’re never done learning for as long as you live—just because you’ve been elevated to a position of leadership doesn’t mean your education is over.
In fact, it’s just beginning!
You’ll need to learn a brand-new set of skills and cope with constant learning experiences as you seek to become the best leader you can be.
There are a huge number of prominent leadership quotes for students that help instill the right outlook towards learning as a leader.
You need to be ready for failure and setback; you need to be able to admit when you’re wrong, at fault or uncertain; and you need to view things through a scope of cumulative knowledge.
Every experience is a learning experience, whether you’re actively learning or not.
When you recognize this, you’ll be able to open your mind to the teachings necessary to become a great leader.
Some of the best leaders left behind great quotes on leadership
There’s a reason some of the best leaders in history have left behind quotes and wise words of advice—because they knew those coming after them would need the inspiration and motivation to elevate themselves to a leadership role.
It’s no accident that some of the most influential people of the age have had great advice: It’s because they’ve been through the trials of leadership and have faced the things you’re going to face as you aspire to be a great leader.
If you pay attention to their quotes and take their wisdom to heart, you’ll find your path to leadership becomes a little less rocky and a little clearer in time.
Perhaps nothing sums up this sentiment better than leadership quotes by women—especially this one, from one of the world’s modern leaders, who also happens to be one of its most successful women:
23. “In the future, there will be no female leaders. There will just be leaders.” — Sheryl Sandberg
We hope you were inspired by the above leadership quotes, which are part of our entrepreneur life quotes series.
What are the best leadership quotes you know? Share them with us in the comments below to inspire others to find the same positivity you’re working toward!