Top John Maxwell Quotes

One of my favorite speakers and authors is John Maxwell. For over 10 years I’ve been reading and listening to his leadership content. During this time I have gained a tremendous amount of wisdom and insights on the topic of leadership and life. Below are some quotes from him:

“Good character is more to be praised than outstanding talent.”

“Everything begins with a decision. Then, we have to manage that decision for the rest of your life.”

“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.”

“A leader is like a quarterback. They don’t get paid to run the ball. They get paid to put the ball in the right hands.”

“Relational skills are the most important abilities in leadership.”

“Credibility is a leaders currency. With it, he or she is solvent; without it, he or she is bankrupt.”

“Change is inevitable. Growth is optional.”

“Our problem is trying to find a leader to solve our problems. The answer is to be the leader that solves the problem.”

“Life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it.”

“Leaders must be close enough to relate to others, but far enough ahead to motivate them.”

“There are two paths people can take. They can either play now or pay later, or pay now and play later. Regardless of choice, one thing is certain. Life will demand a payment.”

“Leadership is influence.”

“Failing forward is the ability to get back up after you’ve been knocked down, learn from your mistakes, and move forward in a better direction.”

“It isn’t easy to be simple. But it’s effective.”

“To add value to others, one must first value others.”

“It is in the things you do well that will give you the highest return.”

“People do not care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

“You must manage your thought life daily and then you can manage your life.”

“A man must be big enough to admit his mistakes, smart enough to profit from them, and strong enough to correct them.”

“Character creates consistency, and if your people know what they can expect from you, they will continue to look to you for leadership.”

“A good leader is a person who takes a little more of his share of the blame and a little less than his share of the credit.”

“The greatest day in your life and mine is when we take total responsibility for our attitude. That’s the day we truly grow up.”

“People buy into the leader before they buy into the vision.”

“The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.”

Questions: Do you have a favorite John Maxwell Quote? Which above quote do you like the best?

(To know how to use and implement quotes into your everyday life and leadership I suggest reading: How to use Quotes. You can also get a free copy of my quote book Characteristics and Qualities of a Great Leader by clicking here.)

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

  • Hey Dan! I have to go with this one: “Life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it.”
    It’s just so true. John is such an amazing thinker. You can learn so much from him it’s amazing.

    • That’s a great one! Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. It’s great to hear from you. I hope your doing well.

  • DS

    John Maxwell quotes are great. From your list, my favorite is the one about valuing others. Not on your list favorite – “Be better tomorrow than you are today.”

    • They sure are:) That’s a good one. Thank you for adding that one.

  • Great quotes. I posted one of my favorites out on my facebook page this morning and you have it here already. “A man must be big enough to admit his mistakes, smart enough to profit from them, and strong enough to correct them.” This is so profound and simple at the same time. John Maxwell has made a huge impact on my life also.

    • That’s a great one! Great minds think alike:) Thank you for reading and commenting.

  • I’ll go with “Leadership is influence.” There are many individuals throughout history that I’d call influencers more than leaders. But their influence is so strong they become equivalent to a great leader. Think of writers, musicians, and activists.

    • That’s a great one, showing that someone without a “title” or leadership position can still lead others because they can influence them. Thank you for sharing.

  • I just started reading “The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth” yesterday, so this post is quite timely. Maxwell does have some great leadership quotes. As I was reading the first chapter last night, I thought about how he is so straight forward and to the point. No fluff. Most leaders are busy, and they need Maxwell’s to-the-point style to get the information they need to grow. One quote I highlighted in the book last night is, “If you focus on goals, you may hit goals – but that doesn’t guarantee growth. If you focus on growth, you will grow and always hit goals.” I am finding this to be true in my life. Focus on goals causes me to focus on the numbers, and that never works out well for me. Focusing on growth has been a much more effective approach to reaching goals.

    • Kari,

      That’s a great book, your going to really enjoy it. That’s an amazing quote! Thank you for sharing it with us. I appreciate you.

      • Am definitely enjoying it so far. His books are always good, mainly because of the immediate ease of application. Don’t have to wonder what action to take. Thanks, Dan.

  • Love, love, love Maxwell! I’ve written all throughout my copy of “The 15 Invaluable Laws Of Growth”. Always enjoy your collection of quotes Dan, keep on keeping on!

    • Hey Chris,

      He’s a great example of a superb leader. Glad you enjoyed the quotes and thank you for taking the time to read and comment. It’s great hearing from you.

  • “A good leader is a person who takes a little more of his share of the blame and a little less than his share of the credit.” This one speaks more to the point of humility which I believe is essential in growth or leadership. It is the foundation that all character and business can be built upon.

    • That’s a great one Floyd! It’s so important to remember. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  • I love Maxwell. I have several of his books, but the most prized one is ‘The 5 Levels of Leadership’ that he personally signed to me. My quote is “Everything rises and falls on leadership”.

    • Ditto:) That’s a great book! Thank you for reading and sharing.

  • charly

    I tried to punch a hole in one of his quotes, but I can´t they all make too much sense. Great guy, great thinker.

    • Glad you enjoyed the quotes. Thank you for reading and commenting.

  • I think is a great quote. “The greatest day in your life and mine is when we take total responsibility for our attitude. That’s the day we truly grow up.”

    Too many people fail to take responsibility for their attitudes and actions (I know I fail at this as well) that we hinder the impact we leave and rob ourselves of the joy of responsibility.

    • That’s a great quote! It’s about knowing our attitude is our choice and not outside circumstances or situations. Thank you for sharing your thoughts:)

  • There are so many great quotes up there it’s hard to pick just one, but this one really jumped out at me, “Life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it.”
    Our perception and how we respond to circumstances dictates so much of our lives, more than we realize. It shapes who we are and how people view us.

    • That’s a great one to choose TC Avey! Thank you for taking the time to read and share.

  • My favorite: “Character creates consistency, and if your people know what they can expect from you, they will continue to look to you for leadership.”

    Building reputation by being consistent and intentional will make you fall in grace with your followers and other leaders.

    • Hello Josue,

      That’s a great quote! It’s all about being consistent with our attitude and actions. Glad you found my blog. Thank you for taking the time to read and share. I look forward to connecting more.

  • Barbara Headley

    The quote that fuels the start of each of my days is, “to add value to others, you must first value others.” Many leaders want to direct or lead others but until you truly value others you can’t really lead them. John Maxwell validated that for me when I attended a seminar taught by John in 2000. It revolutionized my life and calling as a leader. Now 13 years later, I am a founding partner in John’s leadership trainers and coaching company. His teachings and insight to leadership gave me clarity and understanding of my own experiences as a leader and a deeper passion to come a long side other leaders and add value to their lives. Dan, thanks for the gathering of John’s quotes that have changed my leadership and life service to others.

    • Hello Barbara,

      That’s a powerful quote! It sounds like we have similar stories about John Maxwell impacting our life. John Maxwell has impacted millions of people through his speaking and writing!

      Do you have a site or blog? I look forward to connecting more. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment.

      • Barbara Headley

        Dan, thanks for responding back! I’m in the process of revamping my original website to reflect my clarified focus on leadership but you can check out my work on my John Maxwell Team website – http://www.johnmaxwellgroup.com/barbaraheadley. I have enjoyed you blog postings and have used many of them in the courses on leadership I teach in an area college here in New England. I look forward to sharing more with you.

        • Sorry for the delayed response. Looking forward to connecting with you and checking out your site once it’s finished. Talk to you soon.

  • Great stuff, Dan. As I am always working to hone my routine, I love the last one. :-)

    • Glad you enjoyed the post Melanie:) Thank you for reading and commenting.

  • Loved all the quotes but these two stood out. “It isn’t easy to be simple. But it’s effective.” and “Everything begins with a decision. Then, we have to manage that decision for the rest of your life.”
    Great quotes!

    • Those are good ones! Thank you for reading and sharing.

  • Some really fantastic quotes. It would be hard to pick any as the best. But may be this one is good for all times and every situation even if one is not a leader.

    “People do not care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

    A previous boss I had could sure have used a lot of those quotes and followed them, it might have actually been a pleasure working for her, instead of a nightmare.

    Mary

    • Hello Mary,

      Glad you enjoyed them. That’s a good one! Yes, these quotes can help a lot of leaders or managers. Thank you for reading and adding to the conversation.

  • One of my all time favorite authors…I have been reading him since I was a kid. “Leadership is influence” has always been one of my favorites.

    • Same with me:) That’s a golden one. Thank you for reading and sharing.

  • Sue Neal

    I’m not familiar with John Maxwell, so thanks very much for this introduction with these quotes, which are full of wisdom. I love the ones about managing your thought life, and about life being 90% how you react to what happens to you – also the ones about learning from your mistakes. Great stuff – thanks, Dan.

  • Hi Dan,

    What a wonderful set of quotes, my friend! Many thanks for compiling them!

    I liked all of them! The ones I liked in particular are the following ones:

    “A good leader is a person who takes a little more of his share of the blame and a little less than his share of the credit.”

    “People buy into the leader before they buy into the vision.”

    The first one above tells me that a good leader is someone who is humble, while the second one tells me that an effective leader firstly is able to relate and connect with people before anything else.

    Thank you.

    • Hello Hiten,

      I’m glad you enjoyed them. Those are great ones! I also really like the second one you mentioned. Thank you for reading and adding to the discussion. It’s always great to hear from you.

  • Sue Neal

    Thanks very much for the link, Dan – appreciated :)

  • Hi Dan, I love John Maxwell’s teaching and love most of those quotes. My favorites are

    “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.”

    “The greatest day in your life and mine is when we take total responsibility for our attitude. That’s the day we truly grow up.” – (I think taking responsibility for everything in our lives is critical)

    “The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.” – took me a long time to get that one.

    Thanks Dan for putting this list together.

    Sue

    • Hello Sue,

      Those are good ones. Thank you for taking the time to read and share. It’s always great to hear from you.

  • I’ve always liked: “Change is inevitable. Growth is optional.”

    • That’s a great one. Thank you for sharing.