64 Leadership Quotes to Inspire You to Be a Better Leader

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published April 26, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Leaders are people who guide and influence those around them. You can find leaders in all industries, professions, and levels of organizations. Learning about leadership through the wisdom of others can provide you with insight and a new perspective. In this article, we discuss why leadership quotes are important and offer 64 quotes to motivate and inspire you as a leader.

Why are leadership quotes important?

Leadership quotes help provide inspiration, advice, and support when you're striving to improve as a leader. Whether you have a supervisory position, are an executive manager, or want to work at your full potential, reading quotes about leadership from wise and successful people in history can help you continue forward in your career. You can use quotes to motivate those around you and to help you stay focused on your goals:

Quotes that define leadership

Below are 10 quotes that define leadership:

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

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

  • "Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower." - Steve Jobs

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

  • "Leadership is an action, not a position." - Donald McGannon

  • "There are three essentials to leadership: humility, clarity and courage." - Fuchan Yuan

  • "Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality." - Warren Bennis

  • "Management is about persuading people to do things they do not want to do, while leadership is about inspiring people to do things they never thought they could." - Steve Jobs

  • “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

  • "A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way." - John C. Maxwell

Related: 10 Common Leadership Styles

Quotes about leadership qualities

Here are 12 quotes about the various qualities that make a good leader:

  • "The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The leader adjusts the sails.” - John C. Maxwell

  • "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

  • "Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

  • "A cowardly leader is the most dangerous of men." - Stephen King

  • "Do what you feel in your heart to be right - for you'll be criticized anyway." - Eleanor Roosevelt

  • "In matters of style, swim with the current. In matters of principle, stand like a rock." - Thomas Jefferson

  • "The quality of a leader is reflected in the standards they set for themselves." - Ray Kroc

  • "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 C. Maxwell

  • "Become the kind of leader that people would follow voluntarily, even if you had no title or position." - Brian Tracy

  • "The supreme quality of leadership is integrity." - Dwight Eisenhower

  • "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 humour, but without folly." - Jim Rohn

  • “The ability to learn is the most important quality a leader can have.” - Padmasree Warrior

Related: Interview Question: “What Does Leadership Mean to You?”

Quotes about organizational leadership

Below are 12 quotes about organizational leadership:

  • "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 C. Maxwell

  • "Leaders instil in their people a hope for success and a belief in themselves. Positive leaders empower people to accomplish their goals." - Unknown

  • "In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skilful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better." - Harry S. Truman

  • "Great companies in the way they work start with great leaders." - Steve Ballmer

  • "The greatest gift of leadership is a boss who wants you to be successful." - Jon Taffer

  • "Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision and relentlessly drive it to completion." - Jack Welch

  • “If only we had the power to see ourselves in the same way that others see us… for anyone in a leadership role, it should be an essential part of […] a company's standard operating procedures.” - Richard Branson

  • “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

  • “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” - Peter F. Drucker

  • “You don't have to hold a position in order to be a leader.” - Henry Ford

  • “Leadership is a matter of having people look at you and gain confidence, seeing how you react. If you're in control, they're in control.” - Tom Landry

  • “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

Related: 7 Essential Leadership Traits of an Effective Leader

Quotes about determination as a leader

Here are 10 quotes about having determination as a leader:

  • "A great leader's courage to fulfil his vision comes from passion, not position." - John C. Maxwell

  • "Time is neutral and does not change things. With courage and initiative, leaders change things." - Jesse Jackson

  • "A leader does not deserve the name unless he is willing occasionally to stand alone." - Henry Kissinger

  • "The task of the leader is to get his people from where they are to where they have not been." - Henry Kissinger

  • "Great leaders are not defined by the absence of weakness, but rather by the presence of clear strengths." - John Zenger

  • "To have long-term success as a coach or in any position of leadership, you have to be obsessed in some way." - Pat Riley

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

  • "Real leaders are ordinary people with extraordinary determinations." - John Seaman Garns

  • “If you don't believe in yourself, why is anyone else going to believe in you.” - Tom Brady

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

Related: 29 Leadership Words for Your Resume (With Definitions)

Quotes about leadership action

Below are 10 quotes about taking action as a leader:

  • "Everyone who's ever taken a shower has an idea. It's the person who gets out of the shower, dries off and does something about it who makes a difference." - Nolan Bushnell

  • "Leadership is practiced not so much in words as in attitude and in actions." - Harold S. Geneen

  • "Effective leadership is not about making speeches or being liked. Leadership is defined by results, not attributes." - Peter Drucker

  • "A man who wants to lead the orchestra must turn his back on the crowd." - Max Lucado

  • "Vision with action can change the world." - J.A. Baker

  • "Think little goals and expect little achievements. Think big goals and win big success." - David Joseph Schwartz

  • "Leadership is unlocking people's potential to become better." - Bill Bradley

  • “A person always doing his or her best becomes a natural leader, just by example.” - Joe DiMaggio

  • “When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful.” - Malala Yousafzai

  • “I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion.” - Alexander the Great

Related: What It Means to Lead By Example (And Leadership Styles)

Quotes about leadership style

Here are 10 quotes about different leadership styles:

  • "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

  • “A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a moulder of consensus.” - Martin Luther King Jr.

  • "Don't necessarily avoid sharp edges. Occasionally they are necessary to leadership." - Donald Rumsfeld

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

  • "The art of leadership is saying no, not saying yes. It is very easy to say yes." - Tony Blair

  • "You don't lead by hitting people over the head - that's assault, not leadership." - Dwight Eisenhower

  • "As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others." - Bill Gates

  • "Leadership is the art of giving people a platform for spreading ideas that work." - Seth Godin

  • “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” - Martin Luther King, Jr.

  • “In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.” - Thomas Jefferson

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