As entrepreneurs and business owners, we are often the leaders that others look to for guidance, inspiration and motivation. But, even leaders need some motivation and inspiration at times. So, with that in mind, we reached out to the inspirational CarolRoth.com contributor network of business owners, experts, advisors and entrepreneurs and asked them to share their favorite leadership quotes. Their quotes are presented below in no particular order.
*Please note that the quotes and attributions are written in the words of the submitter and may not be portrayed exactly or as originally stated.
1. Practice What You Preach
As a leader, you have to practice what you preach. Being authentic means adhering to your own values and beliefs in which both are crucial for leadership, but it is not leadership itself. It’s easy to preach authenticity while being anything but. Nothing kills credibility faster than not practicing what is preached.
"My fake plants died because I did not pretend to water them." -Mitch Hedberg
2. Plans vs. Planning
"Plans are worthless but planning is everything." This is most often attributed to Dwight Eisenhower, but he himself disclaimed credit and ascribed the words to an anonymous soldier. I find this both motivating and true - it's incredibly important to make plans and set higher goals, but it's equally important to understand that everything will change from your plan.
3. Inspire More Leadership
I've followed Tom Peters since he started publishing books about business and find inspiration in almost everything he says. This is actually in line with one of my favorite quotes of his - "Leaders don't create followers, they create more leaders." If what you're doing isn't encouraging others to try the same, then perhaps what you're doing needs to be more inspirational. The best leaders encourage others to take action.
4. Take Action!!!
"The big secret in life is that there is no big secret. Whatever your goal, you can get there if you're willing to work." -Oprah Winfrey
5. Work and Success
"The only place Success comes before Work is in the dictionary." -Vince Lombardi
6. Vision Without Action
Leadership takes vision, but it also takes action. Joel Barker put it well: "Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world." When leaders put the two together -- then real change happens. But, just going through actions without that vision is busy work without purpose. We each need that vision of the future -- to inspire, motivate and move us into action that is meaningful and intentional.
7. #1 Thing Killing Your Business
"When you are branding, you are branding.
When you are not branding, you are still branding."
As a business leader, when you understand this quote - you truly know what it takes to have massive long term success in your business.
8. Do it, Too
"Never ask anyone to do something you wouldn't do yourself."
David Martin, Manager of Labor Relations for Texaco at the time.
9. If You Want Something Done...
"If You Want Something Done, Ask a Busy Person To Do It."
Attribution --> 1856 by Reverend W. J. Kennedy who was the Inspector of Schools for Lancashire and the Isle of Man in Britain.
I have always lived by this mantra. It's amazing how the busiest person in the office always seems to make the deadlines. They just won't have it any other way and will stay late if needed to get it done. As a manager, you just have to watch out for burnout.
10. Said Yoda:
Yoda from Star Wars' Empire Strikes Back said: "That is why you fail" to Luke Skywalker when Luke tells Yoda he doesn't believe. You need to believe in your vision. There are so many people who will tell you negative things and try to get you to fail. Don't add to that. Believe in yourself (but keep your eyes wide open, too) and you just might levitate an X-wing fighter out of a swamp, like Yoda.
11. Go Forth and Die
"True leaders are servants who die to themselves so others may flourish." Eric Geiger and Kevin Peck, authors of Designed to Lead
12. My Favorite Leadership Quote
"Orville Wright didn't have a pilot's license." -- Richard Tate
13. Treat People Well
"Train people well enough so they can leave. Treat them well enough so they don't want to." - Sir Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Group.
This quote inspires me to put my employees first and create a great culture and work environment where people can thrive in. Richard Branson’s mastery of marketing is wildly impressive, but I believe that the positive and productive relationship that he has with his team members is the secret to his success.
14. Leadership is a Responsibility
My favorite quote is from Simon Sinek and his book Leaders Eat Last - "Leadership is not a license to do less; it is a responsibility to do more."
15. Saying NO
"The art of leadership is saying no, not saying yes. It is very easy to say yes." — Tony Blair
16. Dare to Do Mighty Things!
My favorite leadership quote comes from Theodore Roosevelt who said: "Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure... than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat." It was my dad's favorite quote, and now mine. He was my biggest fan. I did experience business failure, but he was always there to pick me up and help me with my next adventure.
Tara Langdale-Schmidt of VuVatech
17. What's the Difference?
"Valuing the differences is the essence of synergy - the mental, the emotional, the psychological differences between people. And the key to valuing those differences is to realize that all people see the world, not as it is, but as they are." - Stephen R. Covey
18. The Crown of a Mature Leader
"The greatest crown of maturation as a leader is the ability to handle credit and criticism equally. Of course, we all desire for people to render praise and applause towards us and our actions, but sometimes respectful constructive criticism has its valid points which in turn has the potential of causing us to adjust, improve, and perfect whatever is being evaluated."
Quoted by Damon "DaRil" Nailer
Damon Nailer of Kitril
19. What's Your Objective?
"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
Most leaders just want to crush the competition. I believe that by helping our employees to be the best that they can be, it will help our organization as a whole to be much better.
20. Secrets from the Shower!
"Of course motivation is not permanent. But then, neither is bathing; but it is something you should do on a regular basis."
21. Leading for the Family First
"We get along because the business is more important than who’s right and who’s wrong.”
— Judith Lowry, one of three second-generation sisters running Argosy Book Store, New York City
This quote reflects my own philosophy, because I run Central Valley Entertainment Systems along with my son and husband. At the end of the day, it's our family relationships that come first.
22. The Bible
"Where there is no vision, the people perish." —Proverbs 29:18
This quote by King Solomon is one of my favorite leadership quotes of all time.
What makes people unhappy with respect to the concerns of their job? Not having a clear vision of why they are doing what they are doing. It is so important to communicate the vision of your company to your employees so that they feel part of the bigger picture.
23. My Data Centers Have Walls
"We live in a world that has walls, and those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. I have a greater responsibility than you could possibly fathom. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know. My existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives. You don't want the truth because deep down in places you don't talk about at parties, you want me on that wall. You need me on that wall." By Col. Nathan Jessep from A Few Good Men; it’s what I do daily to protect our customers.
Christopher M. Carter of Approyo
24. Risky Business
My Dad, an entrepreneur, looked at risk in life and business with a clear focus and a question.
"What is the worst thing that will happen to you if you proceed?"
His answer... Starve to Death. If you don't foresee starvation happening... then go for it.
He has led a life full of adventure and built an amazing business. He inspired me to live my life with an open heart and an open mind to all of the possibilities that are there for all of us.
Gordon Grindeland is an 85 year old & full of life.
25. Leadership Quotes
"When the pressure you're under has its own gravity, your true leadership abilities will be exposed."
Quarks American Bento
26. Implementation Baby!
"Success isn't about Motivation & Inspiration...it's about Implementation...And, That Takes Perspiration."
I said it...it inspires me because it's so true!
27. 2,000+ Years in the Making
Ecclesiastes 1:9 "There is nothing new under the sun."
In a world where technical marvels continue to impress and/or frighten us, in the end, every business is in the business of satisfying people. And despite superficial differences, people have not changed. The same desires, virtues & foibles exist now as they existed 10,000 years ago. This broader look at humanity helps me ignore distractions, analyze the deeper more relevant data, & act upon what is truly driving human behavior.
28. Dream Builder
"When we go into that new project, we believe in it all the way. We have confidence in our ability to do it right." – Walt Disney
29. No Such Thing As Perfection
Legendary violinist Jascha Heifetz said, "There is no top. There are always further heights to reach."
Before starting my business, I trained as a classical musician & I carry those experiences with me every day. Musicians are taught that there is no such thing as perfection & today, I know that we can always work to achieve more in our business no matter how well we have done in the past. If I can bring this striving attitude to work with my team, I know we are on the right track.
30. Give Credit Where it's Due
Harry S. Truman said, “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.”
Often, when young professionals reach a leadership position, they want to take the credit for the work their underlings have done. This inevitably creates a self-imposed glass-ceiling where their subordinates’ motivation is hampered because the “atta boys” were withheld from the deserving staff. Figure out how to skip this character flaw & your upward mobility becomes easier.
31. Opinions v Facts
"Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts." - Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan.
Facts explain what is or what was. Facts are not subject to interpretation. They just are. Opinions, however, are interpretations of what is or what was.
A leader must know the difference.
32. Listen to All, Trust Yourself
Mark Suster said, “9 women can’t make a baby in a month.”
Some business decisions you can make jointly; others you can’t. Defining your USP is one example of that. If you own a business, only you know why you started it & what you want to be known for. Listen to your customers to learn exactly what compelled them to pick you, but don’t pick a middle-of-the-road USP that’s meant to please everyone. In the end, you need to make a call. Listen to everyone, but trust yourself.
33. What's Your Legacy?
“If your actions create a legacy that inspires others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, then, you are an excellent leader.” -- Dolly Parton
34. Leadership in Pieces
"Business only hands you pieces, as the leader, you get to decide how they fit together."
by Bert Martinez
35. The Perfect Plan
Great leaders must be expeditious and move quickly; however, they cannot rush.
George Patton famously said:
“I’d rather a half-baked plan executed today vigorously than a perfect plan executed tomorrow.”
In order to make it in today's fast-changing business environment, leaders must move quickly; however, I often see many budding entrepreneurs and leaders rush the elements of the business development process in the name of the lean startup movement.
36. Leadership Has its Limits
I can't attribute this to anybody, but it is the leadership quote that I use most. It helps keep in perspective our limitations when the people we want to lead are not ready to follow.
"You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink."
37. Leadership Quote
"The mental qualities of a leader, next to his moral qualities, are likewise of great importance." - Carl von Clausewitz, Prussian general and military theorist.
38. Leading With Your Sweat
Thomas Edison (not Einstein) said: "Genius is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration." To me, it says it all. In the other words, any great leader is someone who is not just a genius, but someone who knows how to work hard, to inspire others, to put in the same time and sweat equity as one's workers. You don't need to be a genius to be a great leader. You need to have great energy and perseverance, especially during difficult times!
39. Claim Your Seat
My favorite is "You can lead from any chair" from 'The Art of Possibility' by the Zanders. Benjamin realized his true power as a conductor was the ability to make others powerful.
To me, this quote reminds me that a true leader empowers and develops others. And that ALL team members, no matter what seat we hold, have a responsibility to contribute our gifts, insights and best efforts to achieve the team's goals.
40. Do What You Can Do
"Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do." - John Wooden
John Wooden coached 10 teams (in 12 years) to NCAA Basketball National titles - including 7 in a row.
He was known as much for the life skills he instilled as the intensity of focus on getting the little things right.
I like this quote because when I stress out about things I can't control or aren't the best at, it keeps me focused on tackling what I can do that is often right in front of me.
41. Greater Vision & Achievement
"You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand." Woodrow Wilson
42. Leadership Challenges
“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
43. Unknown and Unknowable
W. Edwards Deming said "the greatest losses are unknown and unknowable." Leaders who fail to recognize contributions their staff can make will never know what they may have lost. A dismissive gesture, an unkind word, a failure to acknowledge, or to invite knowledge-sharing--such behaviors can cause the losses to which he refers. The best leaders create opportunities and avoid missing them.
44. Dwight Had it Right
My favorite leadership quote comes from Dwight Eisenhower. It is: "You don't lead by hitting people over the head - that's assault, not leadership."
45. My Favorite Leadership Quote
I love the quote from the movie Jerry Maguire when Dicky Fox says, “Unless you love everybody, you can’t sell anybody.” Contrary to popular belief, “Show me the money!” is not the best quote in that movie.
Even though we're creating brands, we're doing it not only with people, but also for people. Clients hire us because they want to work with us, but they also know that our work is really for their customers – it’s all about getting them to pick up the product off the shelf.
46. Does it Pass the Grandpa Test?
"I would never want to be one of them." -Rahim Arzanipour. That's from my grandfather. Just because someone else has power, it doesn't mean that you want to be in that camp. If they don't behave ethically, pave your own way to success and to the top.
47. Save Your Excuses!
"No excuses, just do the work!" I love this quote from Shalene Flanagan.
It pretty much sums up my entire work ethic. I started my skin care business just about 12 years ago on a dime, a wing and a prayer and never looked back. And, I never made excuses for the direction I was taking my business in. Even when it shifted direction twice.
So, put away your excuses and just do whatever it takes.
48. Now That's Old School!
"When the going gets tough, they call for the Sons of Bitches."
-Admiral Ernest King [Attributed]
There are lots of management philosophies that tell you that if you just follow a few simple rules, you’ll have perfect results. But, it’s never that simple. Anybody can swing a bat, but that doesn’t mean anybody can be a major leaguer. It takes talent, temperament, and training. And sometimes, leadership is building a team of "Sons of Bitches" to get results.
Tony Gruebl of Think
49. The Ultimate Quality
"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
Integrity is defined as one who does what is expected of him and what he says he will do. This varies from role to role, but is consistent with the qualities of a leader.
50. From the Master...
"What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals." -Zig Zigler
51. Change or Be Irrelevant
“If you don’t like change, you’re going to like irrelevance even less.” – General Eric Shinseki, former U.S. Army Chief of Staff
The only constant in business is change. Whatever advantage a business may have today will be quickly lost. Whatever is working well today will not be in the very near future.
The businesses that succeed in the long run are the ones who proactively manage change and constantly evolve in anticipation of their market, customers, and competition.
52. Production Over Perfection
As a former perfectionist and procrastinator, I realized that life and valuable opportunities were passing me by. My daily mantra became, "Do it now!"
John Quincy Adams stated,
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more you are a leader” The top priority as a leader is not ENVISIONING, it is EXECUTING ideas and becoming an EXAMPLE who challenges others to shift from stuck to unstoppable, taking one bold action step at a time!
53. Tomorrow is a New Day
“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson
54. Assess Your Failures
“A wise man should consider that health is the greatest of human blessings, and learn how by his own thought to derive benefit from his illness.”
Our health is the greatest gift; yet so often, we take it for granted. The wisdom from this quote lies in how we should learn from our illnesses. While we may only see the successes of great entrepreneurs, they have made a multitude of errors along the way & they will all tell you that learning from these mistakes is the key to success.
55. Alleviate Their Fears
One of my all-time favorite leadership quotes is from technology and business futurist, author and speaker, Joel Barker. This quote speaks loudly to the concept that people see value in following a good leader because they know they will show them the way and guide them through times of fear, conflict, and uncertainty.
"A leader is a person you will follow to a place you would not go by yourself."
56. Leaders Boost Others
Outstanding leaders go out of their way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it's amazing what they can accomplish." - Sam Walton
I truly believe in getting the most out of my team by putting the most into them. I recognize successes, I acknowledge greatness, and I work hard to re-enforce awesomeness at my company.
57. Be Grateful/Take Opportunities
One of my favorite leadership quotes comes from an HBR article entitled Don't Spend Your Life Making Up Your Mind. The quote closes out the piece:
"And there will come a day when you would give everything you have left to have what you have right now."
It motivates me toward: 1) being grateful for what I have today; and 2) taking opportunities I may not have again. Those two simple things have made me a better leader than any management theory or training.
58. The Power of Ideas
"The secret of leadership is simple: Do what you believe in. Paint a picture of the future. Go there. People will follow."
By Seth Godin
(Quote appears in Godin's book *Tribes*, page 108)
“Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent and not enough time on what is important.” ― Stephen R. Covey
It's all too easy for entrepreneurs to get caught up in daily fires and ignore the bigger picture. Stephen Covey's quote reminds leaders to focus their time on taking the necessary steps to achieve their personal vision.
60. Grind it Out
"There are 3 8-hour work days in one 24 hour day. Pick which two you want to work and you will be successful."
Hard work will always get any individual where they want to be, but most are not willing to do what it takes.
My grandfather who barely spoke English told me that when I was younger and it has resonated with me ever since.
If your people don't see you working hard, your passion will not spread.
61. Leadership is Inspiration
"Leadership exists to inspire others beyond their own limitations. Until you have done so, you have not truly led." - TandemSpring
62. Values Always Come First
There are many inspirational quotes on leadership, but one of my favorites is from Peter Schultz, former president and CEO of Porsche when he said:
"Hire character. Train skill." Peter Schultz (former president and CEO of Porsche)
Hiring skills without character eventually dooms the organization. Clients simply will not deal with companies they cannot trust.
63. Relate or Motivate?
Selecting one leadership quote is difficult--but my top 5 are all by leadership expert, John C. Maxwell. The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership is one of his many books I recommend and re-read annually.
This John C. Maxwell quote speaks to the importance of connecting to your team while staying 'at the head of the pack' to provide motivation. Your team is your most important asset.
"Leaders must be close enough to relate to others, but far enough ahead to motivate them."
Vickie MacFadden of PROMOrx
64. Failure is Not an Option
“I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed”. -Michael Jordan.
Thinking about failure is useless unless you find a solution to your problem. Knowing how much Michael Jordan struggled to reach his goal inspires me to keep going. Don’t dwell on your mistake, but think about the next possible step.
65. Make a Difference
"As a leader, you have the opportunity to create a culture where people feel valued, respected, and honored. Make a difference. Lead. It is worth the price to do business a better way."
-Dr. Nathan Mellor, CEO C3 Brands, President of Strata Leadership
66. Reading, Reading, Reading
“Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.” -- Harry S.
67. Failure is Part of Success
“I really think a champion is defined not by their wins but by how they can recover when they fall.” -Serena Williams.
The way you react to your mistakes separates you from those who reach their goals and those who don’t. I’m mostly inspired by real people and not their quotes. Serena has proved time and time again how you can lose and then get back up. Her actions show more than her words.
Sarunas Budrikas of Angle180
68. Don't Postpone, Just Go for it
“We easily become trapped in the 'someday' mentality. Someday I'll have all the money I need to enjoy life. Someday I'll be able to spend more time with my family. Someday I'll have time to relax and do what I love doing.” Nick Vujicic.
Nick Vujicic is one of the most inspiring people for me because it’s amazing to see what he’s capable of. Most of us thought that the things he does now with confidence were impossible. He’s his own leader.
69. Keep Pushing On
My favorite leadership quote is "Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." - Winston Churchill. The reason this is my favorite quote is that in times of success, it reminds me to not become complacent. In times of failure, it reminds me that I can overcome.
"A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. He does not set out to be a leader, but becomes one by the equality of his actions and the integrity of his intent." Douglas MacArthur.
Leaders need the courage to look into their mistakes straight in the eye. They need the courage to make tough decisions. And, they need to help others believe in themselves and step outside of their comfort zone.
71. Don't Ignore Your Mistakes
“All of us make mistakes. The key is to acknowledge them, learn, and move on. The real sin is ignoring mistakes, or worse, seeking to hide them.” Robert Zoellick
Ignoring failure is even worse because you simply make the same mistake over and over again. And, it takes time for people to understand what they did wrong. Nobody wants to hear it. So, you have to be patient. Simply pointing out a mistake is far from enough. You need to help people find their own solutions.
72. Bring Value to the Table
“You should focus relentlessly on something you’re good at doing, but before that, you must think hard about whether it will be valuable in the future.” -Peter Thiel.
Thinking about what kind of value you can bring in first is the only way to choose the right project that inspires others to join you. And then, once you decide on one thing, stick to it. Motivation is a tricky thing; it comes and goes. Leaders know that and continue working whether they are really motivated that day or not.
73. It's Your Fault
"It's never the other person's fault." ~Unknown or Various
As a leader, it's your job to take responsibility for everything. Blaming others for things that happen is admitting that others have control over your success. If you always take the fault, you also focus on what you control in the situation. For example, an employee may make a colossal mistake and it may seem like it was their fault. A great leader sees their own error in poor training or perhaps in poor hiring.
74. Listen. And Listen More
"Listening is one of the most important skills that anyone can have. That’s a very Virgin trait. Listening enables us to learn from each other, from the marketplace, and from the mistake that must be made in order to get anywhere that is original and disruptive. I learn so much from guests and employees that way."
-Sir Richard Branson
"Treat people as if they were what they ought to be and you help them to become what they are capable of being." -Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
76. The Role of Leaders
My favorite leadership quote is by Peter Drucker: “The task of leadership is to create an alignment of strengths in ways that make weaknesses irrelevant.” Work from your strengths, and everything is easier, better, funner and smoother. When you have a team of strengths, it makes for a more enjoyable and productive workplace.
77. Best Leadership Quote
"Never give in--never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”
― Winston Churchill, Harrow School, 1941.
78. Commitment, Not Plans
“Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes; but no plans.” ― Peter F. Drucker
Peter Drucker, the founder of modern management theory, drives home a point we make every day discussing strategic planning and execution with our clients. Ideas are not actionable plans until you make the commitment to provide effort and budget, set measurements, define what a successful outcome looks like. In business, it’s not enough to have ideas, want success and hope for good luck.
79. Making Problems Interesting
"Good management is the art of making problems so interesting and their solutions so constructive that everyone wants to get to work and deal with them." - Paul Hawken, entrepreneur, author, and activist.
Personally, when a problem is interesting to me, and the solution is productive and thought-provoking, I'm more willing to jump into the tasks at hand. When it comes to good leadership, passing that foundational sentiment along to my direct reports has been a important place for me to start.
80. 'Stellar Leadership'
"There is no ‘I’ in ‘team’, but there is a ‘me’. So make me feel welcome, valued and important if I’m on your team."
"A camel is a horse designed by a team. A giraffe is a horse designed by a cross-functional team. A rhino is a horse designed by a self-directed team. And an elephant is a horse designed by a team led by the boss."
– Phil Stella, contemporary entrepreneur, consultant and executive coach
81. The Man in the Arena
As a small business owner in the insurance industry, I know that leadership comes from doing it, not talking about doing it. To this end, my favorite leadership quote comes from Teddy Roosevelt in his famous "Man in the Arena" speech.
"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood."
82. Hire Motivated Employees
“Great companies don't hire skilled people & motivate them, they hire already motivated people & inspire them.” - Simon Sinek. It's important to hire motivated employees. I once hired some great employees, but the motivation wasn’t there. It’s tough to work towards a vision, inspire unmotivated people & build trust all at once. Startups & later stage companies must place an emphasis on hiring motivated employees. Startups can grow past competitors when employees are more motivated.
83. You Need Revenue First!
“You've lost, you just don't know it.”
When running a business, I need to be sure that I’m not making decisions that have fatal consequences. Many business owners don’t have a tactical plan for success & growth. They buy new equipment, hire unneeded staff or engage in non-revenue generating activities because that’s what their competitor did or that’s what they think they should do. Then one day, they wake up to no calls due to their lack of foresight & planning.
84. Do the Right Thing
I started a global branding and marketing firm 16 years ago and my favorite quote about leadership is from Peter Drucker: "Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things." I like it because it touches on so many important qualities of great leaders like ethics, character, integrity and vision. When you do the right things for the right reasons, good things happen.
85. It's All About Talent!
I used the following quote in my wildly popular article on LinkedIn "6 Incredible Team Building Ideas"
“Constantly being on the lookout for talent is a critical variable, I think, particularly in these emerging markets.” -Steve Case
What's wrong with leaders today?
Unlike Mr. Case, it seems as if leaders have forgotten that they have to work. They have to put the time in. "Nothing ventured; nothing gained," right? Who said that leadership is somehow a free ride to success?
86. Short and Sweet Advice
"An empty vessel makes the loudest sound" - Plato
87. Inspire Like a Great Teacher
"The great teacher inspires" by William Arthur Ward truly exemplifies the kind of leadership we value at Saatva. Rather than telling, our executives prefer to show examples and make every project an opportunity for learning. It allows us to grow more evenly as a company.
Ricky Joshi of Saatva
88. First Impressions are Critical
“There’s one time to do the job right… that’s the first time.” - Bill Cahill
We're the #1 plumber in Seattle; we are part of the business "pop culture" here. In the plumbing industry, there are a lot of plumbers that just run & gun. At Beacon Plumbing, we work hard with a strong business ethic to make sure our plumbers don't have that mindset. On a daily basis, we have a team of callers that call our customers to confirm that they received the best plumbing service available!
89. Leading Selflessly
“The highest type of ruler is one of whose existence the people are barely aware... When his task is accomplished and things have been completed, all the people say, 'We ourselves have achieved it!'”
- Lao Tzu
90. Lead Ethically--By Example!
As the owner, and manager, of an Atlanta-based marketing consultancy, I iterate brand consistency in practice, as well as business and marketing tactics.
The quote that inspires or motivates me, on the topic of ethical leadership, is: "A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way." --John C. Maxwell
91. Strap on Your Brave!
I'm a Leadership Coach and (mostly) recovered Type A Perfectionist Workaholic. I'm inspired by fun, humor and one of my own quotes:
“Tomorrow morning, as you are figuring out what to wear, try your Brave on. I hear it looks really good on you.”
Creative, inspired leadership is all about stepping out of your comfort zone into a space of daring courage, where you come from your most authentic self. Put that on, and you can go forth as your Inner Leader with compassion and greatness!
92. "Yes, and..."
I knew the "Yes, and..." rule as an improvisor and now as a leader: respond with "Yes, and...", don't negate a situation, but add to it. This same principle works for the most effective leaders; it involves stellar listening, working together, and building upon ideas. If someone asks, "Do you have a minute to discuss something?" answer with a "Yes, and..." statement. For instance, "Yes, and I might have the solution you're looking for. If not, try Google." That's one example.
Kevin Lindon Ryan of KLR | PR
93. Leading the Right Way
My favorite leadership quote is:
"Do what is right, not what is easy" -Unknown.
This makes a great leadership quote because it is up to the leader to demonstrate to others how to do the right thing. In a world like today, many people take the easy path; a leader paves the way by doing what is right. Not only do they do the right thing, a good leader also encourages and shows other how to do the same.
94. Leading & Learning
"Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other." ~John F. Kennedy
95. First Things First!
“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” -Theodore Roosevelt
Leaders who express genuine concern for others and make them feel like they matter to create a culture of caring, respect, and inclusivity. Communicate authentic interest in the lives of those you work with, invest in nurturing those relationships and they will reciprocate with interest, passion, and commitment to what you want to do, as a leader. People first and inevitably success follows.
96. Champion by Choice
The greatest challenge of all is for you to concentrate your thinking single-mindedly on your goal, and by the law of attraction, you will inevitably draw into your life the people and circumstances and opportunities you will need to achieve your goals.
When you change your thinking, you will change your life!
From - Don Sardella @ The Institute for Leadership Development
97. Innovation Makes the Leader
The Steve Jobs quote: "Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower" has been a North Star in my approach to leadership. This quote teaches that it is often the leader who is willing to go through the painstaking process of innovation that excels in motivating and leading teams. This is because innovation requires traits we look for in our leaders like intelligence, hard work, vision, and team building. I often look to this quote as a benchmark for whether I am being a great leader.
98. Empower for Productivity
I’m a big fan of Ken Blanchard and his One Minute Manager guide for effective leadership. One quote that embodies his positive reinforcement, setting expectations, feedback and delegation principles is:
"People who produce good results feel good about themselves."
99. Fear is for Fools
"Keep your fears to yourself, but share your courage with others" -- Robert Louis Stevenson
Running a business is like being on a roller coaster ride. You can feel like you're on top of the world when things are going right, but you can also feel helpless and even panic when things begin to go south. Whenever I'm at one of my low points, this quote reminds me of the importance of staying strong before those that need my strength and support more than maybe even myself.
100. Facing Challenges
"Anyone can hold the helm when the sea is calm." - Publilius Syrus
The key to being a remarkable leader shines through when faced with adversities. Most business owners and entrepreneurs know and understand the great stress and pressures that come with the job.
But, if you're going into business for calmness, stability and comfort, you're doing the wrong thing in life.
Ayat Shukairy of Invesp
101. Best Leadership Quote
My favorite leadership quote and one that I swear by is the following by author Jim Collins:
"Greatness is not a function of circumstance. Greatness, it turns out, is largely a matter of conscious choice, and discipline."
102. Toughen Up
"Being responsible sometimes means pissing people off." - Colin Powell
With how cutthroat the business world can be, I admit that I'm sometimes too soft-hearted to make the tough decisions - even when they might be the right ones. This quote gives me courage by reminding me that sometimes it's necessary to voice an unpopular opinion or step on a few toes if it means getting one step closer to finding success. Great leaders should be able to win back the people they piss off anyways, right?
103. Inspire Synchrony of Purpose
"You get the best effort from others not by lighting a fire beneath them, but by building a fire within." Bob Nelson, Author
104. Dreams are Lovely...
I've always been a dreamer, and I think my ability to think creatively and without boundaries benefits me as a public relations professional. But, this quote by Shonda Rhimes during her 2014 commencement speech at Dartmouth reminds me to stay focused and set realistic goals.
"Dreams are lovely. But they are just dreams. Fleeting, ephemeral, pretty. But dreams do not come true just because you dream them. It's hard work that makes things happen. It's hard work that creates change."
105. Embrace the Struggle!
There are two quotes I remind myself of when the going gets tough...
“It's supposed to be hard. If it were easy, everyone would do it.”
This is a quote by Tom Hanks in A League of Their Own.
And the second is;
“Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do.” -Jeff Olson
These quotes help me embrace doing the 'hard things' that need to be done and make me realize that it's a necessary part of success.
106. The Human Touch
"The growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership" -Harvey S. Firestone.
I am motivated by this quote; it encompasses of two paths that stand out - a philanthropic and social responsibility towards human development. It inspires the notion of responsibility, to be consistent with my passion, to go deeper as investing in another's growth means they trust in you, to lead and inspire. It's humbling, to be part of something bigger than myself.
107. Act Now, Adjust Later
“To achieve greatness, start where you are, use what you have, do what you can.” -Arthur Ashe
Instead of waiting for your big break or more funding from a VC, just start working right now. I understand sometimes you want everything to be perfect, but if no one ever sees your final product/service, then what good is it? Just start now and perfect it later!
108. Great Leadership Advice
Jack Welch (the legendary CEO of GE who was named "Manager of the Century" by Fortune Magazine) once said, "Little is worse than a manager who can't cut bait."
Business leaders constantly make decisions. While most decisions work out fine, it's also likely that a few won't. But, many leaders suffer from what psychologists call "escalation of commitment" -- and can't alter course when decisions go bad. In Welch's vernacular, they "can't cut bait." And, sticking to a bad plan can be disastrous!
109. The Best Business Quote
My favorite leadership quote is by Warren Buffett:
"The extraordinary business does not require good management."
This quote provides a counterintuitive insight about business. As managers, we focus on ourselves -- our roles and how they affect our business outcomes. Yet Buffett makes the point that if the business system is excellent, each individual doesn't need to be.
I try to stay humble in working with my team, as I know that alone, I am only a part of what makes us successful.
110. Why Do People Follow You?
"It’s not so much about what you do, but how you do it that defines your character." –Chip Gaines
Make sure as a leader, your actions are filled with empathy, passion and authenticity. People follow great leaders out of respect and people follow poor leaders out of fear. What kind of leader would you rather be?
111. Make a Difference
This great quote from an inspirational leader just might make you re-evaluate your current leadership strategy:
"Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference."
112. Think Big for Change
The term social entrepreneur is becoming increasingly popular, we see more and more entrepreneurs striving to build a business that will create positive social change. Bill Drayton says; “Social entrepreneurs are not content just to give a fish or teach how to fish. They will not rest until they have revolutionized the fishing industry.” This quote demonstrates the belief in what we can achieve, without limitations.
113. Hiring Talent
“We’ve all met people with great talent but little energy. Sadly, they never live up to their expectations. Others of average talent, but with extraordinary energy, often achieve success beyond all expectations. That’s why self-motivation is so important.”
Lou Adler - Hire with your head
Philipp Wolf of Custify
114. Mistakes & Turning Points
"Making mistakes is better than faking perfections." by Pierre Bashler Dorival. This is extremely important, especially in the era of social media.
"Don't let 'no' be your stopping point, let it be your turning point." Quote by Melodie Narain, the founder of SoleSavers in a January 2017 interview with the Huffington Post.
115. The Masterpiece Team
"Great things are not done on impulse, but by a series of small things brought together" -Vincent Van Gogh.
As business leaders - so much focus is on the FINAL RESULT. If that is all we look at, we miss the rest of the story. It's the small steps, the small learnings, the small sacrifices, the details, the contribution from each person... and no shortcuts that ultimately make the masterpiece of the team.
116. Favorite Leadership Quote
"Be bold. Only dead fish swim with the current." --Malcolm Muggeridge
117. Prepare for Change
"You have power over your mind - not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength." - Marcus Aurelius
Change will always occur. Like the seasons, it is something we have virtually no control over, and which arrives whether we want it or not. A good leader prepares by adopting the right state of mind, which then translates into positive action. This quote stresses the role of one’s personal philosophy in dealing with adversity, finding strength, and harnessing one’s true power.
118. Leadership Quote
“In the simple moral maxim the Marine Corps teaches - do the right thing, for the right reason - no exception exists that says: unless there's criticism or risk. Damn the consequences.”
― Josh Rushing
As a trial attorney, someone that decided to also obtain an MBA thereafter, and lastly, as someone that is looking into helping veterans with their VA appeals pro-bono, this quote reminds me you have to follow your own moral & entrepreneurial compass to get to your destination.
Do you know an inspiring leadership quote that wasn’t included? Please share it below. And, as always, many thanks to everyone that contributed to this article!