Famous Leadership Quotes

These famous leadership quotes are grouped as follows:

- Management
- Learning and Development
- Recruiting
- Inspiration
- War
- Humor
- By Not So Famous Authors
- Timeless Truths
- My Favorite

The power of these quotes is not in the wording itself, but in how much these quotes have influenced people, organizations, and even nations all over the world.

These leadership quotes will give you a good idea of what leadership is about.

Famous Leadership Quotes - Management

Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.
Peter F. Drucker

Wise are those who learn that the bottom line doesn't always have to be their top priority.
William Arthur Ward

The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority.
Kenneth Blanchard

In the past a leader was a boss. Today's leaders must be partners with their people... they no longer can lead solely based on positional power.
Kenneth Blanchard

All Leadership is influence.
John C. Maxwell

The very essence of leadership is that you have to have vision. You can't blow an uncertain trumpet.
Theodore M. Hesburgh

Where there is no vision, the people perish.
Proverbs 29:18

What you cannot enforce, do not command.

Famous Leadership Quotes - Learning and Development

The best leaders are the best note takers, best askers and best learners - they are shameless thieves.
Tom Peters

Leaders are more powerful role models when they learn than when they teach.
Rosabeth Moss Kantor

The growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership.
Harvey S. Firestone

Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.
Jack Welch

Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.
John F. Kennedy

He who has learned how to obey will know how to command.

He that cannot obey cannot command.
Benjamin Franklin

He who has never learned to obey cannot be a good commander.

Famous Leadership Quotes - Recruiting

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

No executive has ever suffered because his subordinates were strong and effective.
Peter Drucker

No general can fight his battles alone. He must depend upon his lieutenants, and his success depends upon his ability to select the right man for the right place.
Philip Armour

Famous Leadership Quotes - Inspiration

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.
John Quincy Adams

A good leader inspires people to have confidence in the leader - a great leader inspires people to have confidence in themselves.
Eleanor Roosevelt

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

The task of leadership is not to put greatness into people, but to elicit it, for the greatness is there already.
John Buchan

Famous Leadership Quotes - War

I suppose leadership at one time meant muscles; but today it means getting along with people.
Mohandas Gandhi

Don't tell people how to do things, tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results.
George S. Patton

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

A competent leader can get efficient service from poor troops, while on the contrary an incapable leader can demoralize the best of troops.
Gen. John J. Pershing

Famous Leadership Quotes - Humor

Delegating work works, provided the one delegating works, too.
Robert Half

Only one man in a thousand is a leader of men - the other 999 follow women.
Groucho Marx

Famous Leadership Quotes - by Not So Famous Authors

The function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers.
Ralph Nader

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

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

Famous Leadership Quotes - Timeless Truths

Go to the people. Learn from them. Live with them. Start with what they know. Build with what they have. The best of leaders when the job is done, when the task is accomplished, the people will say we have done it ourselves.
Lao Tzu

Good leaders make people feel that they're at the very heart of things, not at the periphery. Everyone feels that he or she makes a difference to the success of the organization. When that happens people feel centered and that gives their work meaning.
Warren Bennis

The probability that we may fail in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just.
Abraham Lincoln

Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.
Dwight Eisenhower

Famous Leadership Quotes - My Favorite

These famous leadership quotes are my favorite because if you follow what they say, you will build a high performance organization.

Effective leadership is not about making speeches or being liked; leadership is defined by results not attributes.
Peter Drucker

Leadership is not magnetic personality - that can just as well be a glib tongue. It is not "making friends and influencing people" - that is flattery. Leadership is lifting a person's vision to higher sights, the raising of a person's performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations.
Peter F. Drucker

The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, a football field, in an army, or in an office.
Dwight D. Eisenhower

Leaders don't create followers - they create more leaders.
Tom Peters

A leader leads by example, whether he intends to or not.
John Quincy Adams

Example is not the main thing in influencing others - it is the only thing.
Albert Schweitzer

The leaders who work most effectively, it seems to me, never say "I". And that's not because they have trained themselves not to say "I". They don't think "I". They think "we"; they think "team". They understand their job to be to make the team function. They accept responsibility and don't sidestep it, but "we" gets the credit. This is what creates trust, what enables you to get the task done.
Peter F. Drucker

No institution can possibly survive if it needs geniuses or supermen to manage it. It must be organized in such a way as to be able to get along under a leadership composed of average human beings.
Peter Drucker

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If you would like your organization to put into practice the meaning of some of these famous leadership quotes through my speaking or consulting services, please click on this link.

To keep on learning about the skills you need to manage the performance of your direct reports, go to my Management Skills page.

To learn more about the skills you need to lead the performance of your entire organization, go to my Leadership Skills page.

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