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Just for Fun  |   Creative Inspiration  |   Executives and Leaders

100 leadership quotes to make you a better manager this year

Ramona Sukhraj

By Ramona Sukhraj

Jan 3, 2020

100 leadership quotes to make you a better manager this year

Happy New Year, everyone!

Like many on our team, if you're newly-managing a team this year, understand one thing:

The best managers aren't focused on improving their ability to supervise, they're focused on improving their ability to lead

Almost anyone can be trained to manage, but very few actually succeed in becoming truly great leaders.

So, while the new year confetti is still settling and before you're neck-deep in the year's objectives, here's a little inspiration. 

I've scoured the Internet to find 100 leadership quotes to help you help your team unlock their full potential and drive results for your business in the new year.

New year, new me, right?

Take these quotes, tweet them out to your followers, scribble them down in your moleskin, or heck, carve them into the side of your desk -- Ok, maybe don't do that.

Whatever you do with them, remember, a good leader doesn't simply tell people what to do, they give people the skills, tools, and guidance to do it better on their own. 

100 leadership quotes to make you a better manager 

1. “Followers think and talk about their problems....Leaders think and talk about the solutions.” - Brian Tracy [Tweet This]

2. “Those who let things happen usually lose to those who make things happen.” - Dave Weinbaum [Tweet This]

3. “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” - John Q. Adams [Tweet This] 

4. “A man who wants to lead the orchestra must turn his back on the crowd.” - Max Lucado [Tweet This] 

5. “A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.” - Henry Adams [Tweet This]

6. “People buy into the leader before they buy into the vision.”- John C. Maxwell [Tweet This]

7.  “A company is stronger if it is bound by love rather than by fear.” - Herb Kelleher [Tweet This] 

8. "The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority." - Kenneth Blanchard [Tweet This]

9. “To lead people, walk behind them.” - Lao Tzu [Tweet This]

10. "As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others." - Bill Gates [Tweet This]

11. "He who has great power should use it lightly." - Seneca [Tweet This]

12. "Leadership cannot just go along to get along. Leadership must meet the moral challenge of the day." - Jesse Jackson [Tweet This] 

13. "Management is about arranging and telling. Leadership is about nurturing and enhancing."  - Tom Peters [Tweet This]

14. “The art of leadership is saying no, not yes. It is very easy to say yes.” - Tony Blair [Tweet This]

15. "Leadership is the key to 99 percent of all successful efforts." - Erskine Bowles [Tweet This] 

16. “Don’t follow the crowd, let the crowd follow you.” - Margaret Thatcher [Tweet This]

17. “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” - John F. Kennedy [Tweet This] 

18. “Leadership is the art of giving people a platform for spreading ideas that work.” - Seth Godin [Tweet This]

19. “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” - Steve Jobs [Tweet This]

20. "Leadership is unlocking people’s potential to become better." - Bill Bradley [Tweet This]

21. “A cowardly leader is the most dangerous of men.” - Stephen King [Tweet This]

22. "No man is good enough to govern another man without that other’s consent." - Abraham Lincoln [Tweet This]

23. "There are three essentials to leadership: humility, clarity and courage." - Fuchan Yuan [Tweet This]

24. "Not the cry, but the flight of a wild duck, leads the flock to fly and follow." - Chinese Proverb [Tweet This]

25. “To add value to others, one must first value others.” - John C. Maxwell [Tweet This]

26. "If one is lucky, a solitary fantasy can totally transform one million realities." - Maya Angelou [Tweet This]

27. "Leadership does not always wear the harness of compromise." - Woodrow Wilson [Tweet This]

28. "The greatest leaders mobilize others by coalescing people around a shared vision." - Ken Blanchard [Tweet This]

29. "To do great things is difficult; but to command great things is more difficult." - Friedrich Nietzsche [Tweet This]

30. “The first key to leadership is self-control.” - Jack Weatherford [Tweet This]

31. "Earn your leadership every day." - Michael Jordan [Tweet This]

32. "There are three essentials to leadership: humility, clarity and courage." - Fuchan Yuan [Tweet This]

33. "The growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership." - Harvey Firestone [Tweet This]

34.  "A leader takes people where they would never go on their own.” - Hans Finzel [Tweet This]

35. "A boss says, Go! A leader says, Let’s go!" - E.M. Kelly [Tweet This]

36. "The supreme quality of leadership is integrity." – Dwight D. Eisenhower [Tweet This]

37. "I suppose leadership at one time meant muscles; but today it means getting along with people." - Mahatma Gandhi [Tweet This]

38. "Leadership - leadership is about taking responsibility, not making excuses." - Mitt Romney [Tweet This]

39. "The quality of a leader is reflected in the standards they set for themselves." - Ray Kroc [Tweet This]

40. "A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week." - George Patton [Tweet This]

41. "Good leadership consists of showing average people how to do the work of superior people." - John D. Rockefeller [Tweet This]

42. "The speed of the leader is the speed of the gang." - Mary Kay Ash [Tweet This]

43. "Great companies in the way they work, start with great leaders." - Steve Ballmer [Tweet This]

44. "Great leaders are willing to sacrifice the numbers to save the people." - Simon Sinek [Tweet This]

45. "Anyone can hold the helm when the sea is calm." - Publilius Syrus [Tweet This]

46. "A great person attracts great people and knows how to hold them together." - Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe [Tweet This]

47. "I am reminded how hollow the label of leadership sometimes is and how heroic followership can be." -Warren Bennis [Tweet This]

48. "Become the kind of leader that people would follow voluntarily; even if you had no title or position." - Brian Tracy [Tweet This]

49. "When eagles are silent, parrots begin to chatter." - Winston Churchill [Tweet This]

50. "Don’t necessarily avoid sharp edges. Occasionally they are necessary to leadership." - Donald Rumsfeld [Tweet This]

51. “Real leaders are ordinary people with extraordinary determinations.” - John Seaman Garns [Tweet This]

52. "If you really want the key to success, start by doing the opposite of what everyone else is doing." - Brad Szollose [Tweet This]

53. "You get the best efforts from others not by lighting a fire beneath them, but by building a fire within." - Bob Nelson [Tweet This]

54. “A leader's job is to look into the future and see the organization, not as it is, but as it should be.” - Jack Welch [Tweet This]

55. "You get in life what you have the courage to ask for." - Nancy D. Solomon [Tweet This]

56. “A leader is someone who creates infectious enthusiasm.” - Ted Turner [Tweet This]

57. “Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality." - Warren Bennis [Tweet This]

58. "You do not lead by hitting people over the head - that’s assault, not leadership." Dwight D. Eisenhower  [Tweet This]

59. "I cannot trust a man to control others who cannot control himself." Robert E. Lee [Tweet This]

60. “Great leaders state out loud what they intend to do and in doing so, they get things done.” - Simon Sinek [Tweet This]

61. "Great leaders inspire people to have confidence in themselves." - Eleanor Roosevelt [Tweet This]

62. “Business leaders cannot be bystanders.” - Howard Schultz [Tweet This]

63. "Leadership is not about titles, positions, or flowcharts. It is about one life influencing another." - John C. Maxwell [Tweet This]

64. "If you spend your life trying to be good at everything, you will never be great at anything." - Tom Rath [Tweet This]

65. “The art of leadership is saying no, not yes. It is very easy to say yes.” - Tony Blair [Tweet This]

66. “What you do has far greater impact than what you say." - Stephen Covey [Tweet This]

67. "The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don't have any." - Alice Walker [Tweet This]

68. "If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else." - Booker T. Washington [Tweet This]

69. “To command is to serve, nothing more and nothing less.” - Andre Malraux [Tweet This]

70. "Leadership is intentional influence." - Michael McKinney [Tweet This]

71. “A great leader’s courage to fulfill his vision comes from passion, not position.” - John C. Maxwell [Tweet This]

72. "You cannot be a leader, and ask other people to follow you, unless you know how to follow, too." - Sam Rayburn [Tweet This]

73. "Trust is the essence of Leadership." - Colin Powell [Tweet This]

74. “A real leader faces the music even when he doesn't like the tune.” - Arnold H. Glasgow [Tweet This]

75. “When people are placed in positions slightly above what they expect, they are apt to excel.” - Richard Branson [Tweet This]

76. "The real leader has no need to lead — he is content to point the way." - Henry Miller [Tweet This] 

77. A leader is a dealer in hope.” - Napoleon Bonaparte [Tweet This]

78. “The task of the leader is to get his people from where they are to where they have not been.” - Henry Kissinger [Tweet This]

79. "Leadership is the art of accomplishing more than the science of management says is possible." - Colin Powell [Tweet This]

80. “I suppose leadership at one time meant muscles; but today it means getting along with people.” -Mohandas K. Gandhi [Tweet This]

81. “Education is the mother of leadership” - Wendell Willkie [Tweet This]

82. “Leadership is the key to 99 percent of all successful efforts.” - Erskine Bowles [Tweet This]

83. “Ninety percent of leadership is the ability to communicate something people want.” - Dianne Feinstein [Tweet This]

84. "A good leader can't get too far ahead of his followers." - Franklin D. Roosevelt [Tweet This]

85. “You take people as far as they will go, not as far as you would like them to go.” - Jeanette Rankin [Tweet This]

86. "Leadership has a harder job to do than just choose sides. It must bring sides together." - Jesse Jackson [Tweet This]

87. “Leaders should strive for authenticity over perfection.” - Sheryl Sandberg [Tweet This]

88. "The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality." - Max De Pree [Tweet This] 

89. "Leaders don't force people to follow—they invite them on a journey." - Charles S. Lauer [Tweet This] 

90. "Leadership is getting someone to do what they don't want to do, to achieve what they want to achieve." - Tom Landry [Tweet This]

91. "A good leader leads the people from above them. A great leader leads the people from within them." - M.D. Arnold [Tweet This]

92. "Whenever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision." - Peter F. Drucker [Tweet This]

93. "Management works in the system; leadership works on the system." - Stephen Covey [Tweet This]

94. "Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing." - Albert Schweitzer [Tweet This]

95. "Keep your fears to yourself, but share your courage with others." - Robert L. Stevenson [Tweet This]

96. "Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be." - Ralph Waldo Emerson [Tweet This]

97. "To handle yourself, use your head; to handle others, use your heart." - Eleanor Roosevelt [Tweet This]

98. "A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way." - John C. Maxwell [Tweet This]

99. "Leadership is an action, not a position." - Donald McGannon [Tweet This]

100. "Surround yourself with great people; delegate authority; get out of the way." - Ronald Reagan [Tweet This]

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