Leadership Quotes

In this post I wanted to share with you some of my favorite leadership quotes from my files. I hope you enjoy reading them:

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

“Leadership is intentional influence.” ~Michael McKinney

“A leader is one who influences a specific group of people to move in a God-given direction.” ~J. Robert Clinton

“You cannot be a leader, and ask other people to follow you, unless you know how to follow, too.” ~Sam Rayburn

“The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between, the leader is a servant.” ~Max DePree

“Leadership is difficult but it is not complex.” ~Michael McKinney

“Look over your shoulder now and then to be sure someone’s following you.” ~Henry Gilmer

“Leadership is getting people to work for you when they are not obligated.” ~Fred Smith

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

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

Question: What are some of your favorite leadership quote?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • I like the first one…leading someone to do something and they do it because the want to is very, very difficult to do…but that’s what makes a great leader.

    • Arny,

      So true. It’s difficult but any leader can learn how to effectively do it. Thanks for reading and sharing.

  • Always a fan of Max DePree, but the Nader quote is poignant as well.

    • Michael,

      Same with me, Max DePree has some very insightful thoughts and ideas. Thank you for stopping by and sharing.

  • Powerful quotes, Dan. I especially like this – “Leadership is intentional influence”.
    One of my favorite leadership quotes comes from John Maxwell: “He that thinketh he leadeth and hath no one following him is only taking a walk.” Isn’t that thoughtful?

    • Joe,

      I really like the fact the quote has being “intentional” in it. This is an important aspect of leading and influencing others. I absolutely love that John Maxwell quote

      Thank you for reading and sharing.

  • Thanks for the great compilation of quotes Dan. Added them to my Evernote file.

    Here are a few of my favorites –

    The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between, the leader is a servant.
    Max DePree

    On our track to success, we have to fight the tendency to look at others and see how far they’ve come. The only thing that counts is how we use the potential we possess and that we run our race to the best of our abilities.
    –Denis Waitley and Reni L. Witt

    Have fun. Leadership isn’t always serious.”
    – Fred Meijer

    A lack of courage will always lead to a lack of leadership!
    [Joshua 1:9]

    ‘Leadership is a stewardship, it is temporary, and you’re accountable’
    – Andy Stanley”

    • Joe,

      These are some great additional quotes, I especially like the Fred Meijer one! I’m adding them into my files. Thanks for sharing them with us.

      • Glad you liked them Dan.

        Fred Meijer has been a huge inspiration. He was a local businessman who recently passed away.

  • I’d never heard the one from Jack Welch, I think it was my favorite one of those.

    “To see the vision and be able to help others believe and see it with perseverance is the true sign of a leader.”

    “You have to begin with the end in mind.”

    Okay, they aren’t famous, they are mine, but I’ve tried to use them as part of my life. In the end a leader is called by God. A person who leads for any other purpose is a salesman…

    • Floyd,

      Great quotes and points!!! I really like, ” You have to begin with the end in mind,” its so true. I’m going to file these quotes away and start using them more. Thank you for sharing some of your life quotes.

  • Love Leadership quotes, especially the one there by DePree. Here are few favorites:

    Leaders can only take people as far as they have gone themselves. -unknown, often attributed to Maxwell.

    “Whatever you are, be a good one.” Abraham Lincoln (my favorite leader)

    “You cannot dream yourself into a character; you must hammer and forge yourself one.” James A. Froude.

    Thanks for sharing!

  • “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

    • TC Avey,

      I love this quote. I’m adding it to my collection. Thank you for sharing it:)

      • You’re welcome. I honestly Google it this morning. I have so many quotes I love, but I none of them spoke to me today and when I came across this one, I really like it. I recently heard an interview with Powell and he seemed to be a Godly man.

  • I see some I have enjoyed over the years here, great list.
    A funny one and personal one.
    1. “You can’t turn ducks into eagles, all you ever get is a quack” John Maxwell.
    2. “Leadership is the dynamic and spiritual ability to inspire and influence others towards a common goal” M_

    • Marc,

      What a funny and true quote from John Maxwell. What a powerful second quote!

      Thank you for sharing them.

  • I absolutely love Jim Rohn quotes. Here is one of my favorites. I will be using all of these Dan.
    1. Don’t bring your need to the marketplace, bring your skill. If you don’t feel well, tell your doctor, but not the marketplace. If you need money, go to the bank, but not the marketplace.
    Jim Rohn

  • Awesome quotes Dan.

    Will definitely clip them on evernote!

    I love this one by Maxwell “Everything rises and falls on on leadership”

    • Ngina,

      Glad you enjoyed them. Great Maxwell quote!!!

  • Those are some good quotes. I don’t really keep track of quotes, so I don’t have any new ones to share.

  • These are all great and encouraging quotes. When I searched the dusty archives in my head, the first one the popped up was – “Follow Me.” – Jesus Christ-

    • Such a great quote. Thank you for sharing Susan.

  • I love reading inspiring quotes, these are awesome Dan!

    Here’s my favorite:

    “Live, Love, Learn Leave A Legacy” – Stephen R. Covey

    • Chris,

      Glad you liked the quotes. I’m liking the Covey quote. Thank you for sharing it.

  • I have two favorites:

    “You can’t lead the people if you don’t love the people. You can’t save the people if you won’t serve the people.” – Cornel West

    “Never doubt that a small group of committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead

    • Jason,

      Great additional quotes. Thank you for sharing them.

  • Love that Jack Welch quote!

  • Dan, I love these leadership quotes. I especially liked the quote by Fred Smith and Jack Welch.

    • I like both of those as well. Thank you for taking the time to share.