It’s perilously easy to find a leadership brand and stick to it, without considering how you can improve and expand your skills. But even the best leaders can learn a thing or two about how to inspire their team. Thankfully, some of our best and brightest leaders throughout history left behind some great soundbites to help lead the way.
Whether you’re leading a huge team on a challenging project or just trying to climb the career ladder, these quotes can help provide some useful wisdom on how best to deploy your leadership strategy.
Here are some of the best quotes on how to be a better leader, sorted by the top leadership attributes they describe. This great advice from some of our most inspirational leaders just might make you rethink your current leadership strategy, renew your passion to lead, or point the way for how to better inspire your troops:
Good leaders are trailblazers, making a path for others to follow. Great leaders, however, inspire their people to reach higher, dream bigger, and achieve greater. Perhaps the most important leadership skill you can develop is the ability to provide inspiration to your team. If you inspire them to reach for the stars, they just might bring you back the moon.
1. “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” – John Quincy Adams
2. “Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.” – Warren Bennis
Teach and Learn
Smart leaders know what they don’t know. Learning is a constant process throughout your professional life, and it doesn’t stop when you’ve become a team leader. Make sure to never stop looking for opportunities for professional development, and pass on the wisdom you’ve learned to your people.
3. “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” – John Fitzgerald Kennedy
4. “A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.” – Henry Adams
To be a good leader, you sometimes need to go down the untraveled path. Being bold in the face of uncertainty will help give your team courage and motivate them to keep striving when the going gets tough.
5. “I cannot give you the formula for success, but I can give you the formula for failure, which is: Try to please everybody.” – Herbert Swope
6. “You don’t lead by pointing and telling people some place to go. You lead by going to that place and making a case.” – Ken Kesey
7. “A man who wants to lead the orchestra must turn his back on the crowd.” – Max Lucado
If learning is an important part of leadership, then it follows humility is an essential attribute as well. After all, you can’t learn new things if you cannot admit you’re a work in progress. Be open to recognizing your own faults, so you can grow as both a leader and a human being.
8. “No man will make a great leader who wants to do it all himself, or to get all the credit for doing it.” – Andrew Carnegie
9. “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
Listen To Your People
Your people are your greatest resource; listen to their feedback and encourage their dreams. You never know where your next great idea will come from, so empower everyone up and down the corporate ladder to contribute and innovate.
10. “To lead people, walk behind them.” – Lao Tzu
11. “The best leader is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and the self-restraint to keep from meddling with them while they do it.” -Theodore Roosevelt
Strike a Balance
Being a good leader is a balancing act. Your leadership strategy should never rely on just one type of management. It might at first feel like walking a tightrope, but soon balancing multiple leadership attributes will become second nature, and allow you to lead in multiple dimensions.
12. “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
13. “Leadership is a potent combination of strategy and character. But if you must be without one, be without the strategy.”- Norman Schwarzkopf
To be a great leader, there’s no such thing as a challenge too big to handle. Once you adopt this attitude, your people will follow suit, and every problem will present an opening for greater achievement.
14. “Don’t find fault, find a remedy.”- Henry Ford
15. “Anyone can hold the helm when the sea is calm.” – Publilius Syrus
16. “Successful leaders see the opportunities in every difficulty rather than the difficulty in every opportunity.”- Reed Markham