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16 Great Leadership Quotes

Andrew Carnegie

Writers, philoshopher, and politicians have been pondering the idea of leadership since the beginning of time. What does it take to be a good leader? What qualities are important for leadership? How can one identify a great leader? These are just a few of the questions that poets and philosophers have asked throughout time. In modern times, new thoughts about leadership have added a new string of quotes about leadership, often written or stated by leaders themselves. Nearly every U.S. president has given his own definition of leadership.

With today’s questions about leadership, many quotes might be useful, as new leaders are chosen, employees are promoted, and young people are trained to become future leaders. A great leadership quote can be used to create a memorable speech. Leadership quotes can also be included in personalized messages in a card or letter for a favorite leader. The leadership quotes presented below, are from a variety of sources, from past presidents to coaches and business leaders.

1. “Treat people as if they were what they ought to be, and you help them become what they are capable of being.”
–Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

2. “You cannot push anyone up the ladder unless he is willing to climb it himself>”
–Andrew Carnegie

3. “People ask the difference between a leader and a boss. The leader works in the open, and the boss is covert. The leader leads, and the boss drives.”
–Theodore Roosevelt

4. “Setting an example is not the main means of influencing another, it is the only means.”
–Albert Einstein

5. “Who hath not served cannot command”
–John Florio

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6. “A good leader takes a little more share of the blame, a little less than his share of credit.”
–Arnold Glasow

7. “Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.”
–Ralph Waldo Emerson

8. “A prime function of a leader is to keep hope alive.”
–John W. Gardner

9. “Leadership: the art of getting someone else to do something that you want done because he wants to do it.”
–Dwight D. Eisenhower

10. “The difference between perseverance and obstinancy is that one often comes from a strong will, and the other from a strong won’t.”
–Henry Ward Beecher

11. “The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality.”
–Max DePree in The Art of Leadership

12. The ear of the leader must ring with the voices of the people.
–Woodrow Wilson

13. “An army of a thousand is easy to find, but, ah, how difficult to find a general.”
–Chinese Proverb

14. “I am more afraid of an army of 100 sheep led by a lion, than an army of 100 lions led by a sheep.”

15. “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.

16. “Leadership should be born out of the understanding of the needs of those who would be affected by it.”
–Marian Anderson