As a leader, the way I approach each day is important for the people around me and the team I manage. Every quote on leadership helps to inform and inspire me regardless of how experienced or new I am in my role.

From classic advice from experts to learnings from modern thought leaders, these quotes on leadership provide guidance when making decisions, creating an environment of collaboration rather than competition and even mastering the power of mentorship.

By reading through these quotes, all aspiring leaders have an opportunity to sharpen their skills and lead with confidence.

100 Inspirational Quotes About Leadership

  1. A leader is a dealer in hope. -Napoleon Bonaparte
  2. Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up. -Thomas Edison
  3. A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, and his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves. -Lao Tzu
  4. If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them. -Henry David Thoreau
  5. You don’t need a title to be a leader. -Unknown
  6. Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail. -Ralph Waldo Emerson
  7. All our dreams can come true – if we have the courage to pursue them. -Walt Disney
  8. Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence, and making sure that impact lasts in your absence. -Sheryl Sandberg
  9. 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
  10. Where there is no vision, the people perish. -Proverbs 29:18
  11. The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams. -Eleanor Roosevelt
  12. The very essence of leadership is that you have to have a vision. You can’t blow an uncertain trumpet. -Theodore M. Hesburgh
  13. A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops. -Henry Adams
  14. Leadership should be more participative than directive, more enabling than performing. -Mary D. Poole
  15. If you knew how much work went into it, you wouldn’t call it genius. -Michelangelo
  16. I must follow the people. Am I not their leader? -Benjamin Disraeli
  17. Don’t follow the crowd, let the crowd follow you. -Margaret Thatcher
  18. Rarely are opportunities presented to you in a perfect way. In a nice little box with a yellow bow on top. ‘Here, open it, it’s perfect. You’ll love it.’ The good opportunities are messy, confusing, and hard to recognize. They’re risky. They challenge you. -Susan Wojcicki
  19. Whenever you do a thing, act as if all the world were watching. -Thomas Jefferson
  20. The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The leader adjusts the sails. -John Maxwell
  21. My country is the world, and my religion is to do good. -Thomas Paine
  22. The most dangerous leadership myth is that leaders are born – that there is a genetic factor to leadership. That’s nonsense; in fact, the opposite is true. Leaders are made rather than born. -Warren Bennis
  23. Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power. -Abraham Lincoln
  24. You manage things; you lead people. -Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper
  25. In order to remain relevant, you must establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry. -Marc Benioff
  26. Become the kind of leader that people would follow voluntarily, even if you had no title or position. -Brian Tracy
  27. Leadership should be focused on extending the ladder of opportunity for everyone. -Justin Trudeau
  28. 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
  29. Strength and wisdom are not opposing values. – Bill Clinton
  30. Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail. -Muriel Strode
  31. Forget about the fast lane. If you really want to fly, just harness your power to your passion. -Oprah Winfrey
  32. The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between, the leader is a servant. -Max DePree
  33. It’s fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure. –Bill Gates
  34. The art of leadership is saying no, not saying yes. It is very easy to say yes. -Tony Blair
  35. 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
  36. Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other. -John F. Kennedy
  37. Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things. –Peter F. Drucker
  38. If one is lucky, a solitary fantasy can totally transform one million realities. -Maya Angelou
  39. You don’t have to hold a position in order to be a leader. –Henry Ford
  40. Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality. -Warren Bennis
  41. Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence. –Vince Lombardi
  42. Education is the mother of leadership. -Wendell Willkie
  43. To have long-term success as a coach or in any position of leadership, you have to be obsessed in some way. –Pat Riley
  44. Lead me, follow me, or get out of my way. -General George Patton
  45. We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations. –Chuck Swindoll
  46. “You are never too small to make a difference. -Greta Thunberg
  47. A man who wants to lead the orchestra must turn his back on the crowd. -Max Lucado
  48. Leaders instill in their people a hope for success and a belief in themselves. Positive leaders empower people to accomplish their goals. -Unknown
  49. Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies. –Mother Teresa
  50. The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me? -Ayn Rand
  51. Knowing what must be done does away with fear. –Rosa Parks
  52. Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others. -Jack Welch
  53. Leadership is a matter of having people look at you and gain confidence, seeing how you react. If you’re in control, they’re in control. –Tom Landry
  54. 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
  55. The task of the leader is to get his people from where they are to where they have not been. -Henry Kissinger
  56. A good leader leads the people from above them. A great leader leads the people from within them. -M.D. Arnold
  57. To be a leader, you have to make people want to follow you, and nobody wants to follow someone who doesn’t know where he is going. –Joe Namath
  58. If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader. -John Quincy Adams
  59. If you don’t believe in yourself, why is anyone else going to believe in you. –Tom Brady
  60. A leader is a dealer in hope. -Napoleon Bonaparte
  61. When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful. –Malala Yousafzai
  62. Leadership is an action, not a position. -Donald McGannon
  63. We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give. -Winston Churchill
  64. There is a difference between being a leader and being a boss. Both are based on authority. A boss demands blind obedience; a leader earns his authority through understanding and trust. -Klaus Balkenhol
  65. It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently. -Warren Buffett
  66. The key to successful leadership is influence, not authority. -Kenneth H. Blanchard
  67. To win in the marketplace you must first win in the workplace. -Doug Conant
  68. You don’t need a title to be a leader. –Multiple Attributions
  69. From my very first day as an entrepreneur, I’ve felt the only mission worth pursuing in business is to make people’s lives better. -Richard Branson
  70. One’s philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes… and the choices we make are ultimately our responsibility. -Eleanor Roosevelt
  71. I learned to always take on things I’d never done before. Growth and comfort do not coexist. -Ginni Rometty
  72. I start with the premise that the function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers. -Ralph Nader
  73. When you listen with empathy to another person, you give that person psychological air. -Stephen R. Covey
  74. 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.
  75. Your job as a leader is to stay as close in touch as possible with those closest to the action. -Kat Cole
  76. A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way. -John Maxwell
  77. The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team. -Phil Jackson
  78. Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about others. -Jack Welch
  79. People do not care how much you know until they know how much you care. -John C. Maxwell
  80. An example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing. -Albert Schweitzer
  81. It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do. -Steve Jobs
  82. Anyone anywhere can make a positive difference. – Mark Sanborn
  83. My definition of leadership is the capacity and the will to rally men and women to a common purpose and the character that inspires confidence. -General Montgomery
  84. The secret of leadership is simple: Do what you believe in. Paint a picture of the future. Go there. People will follow. -Seth Godin
  85. Don’t tell people how to do things, tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results. -George Patton
  86. Efficiency is doing the thing right. Effectiveness is doing the right thing. -Peter F. Drucker
  87. Leadership is lifting a person’s vision to high sights, raising a person’s performance to a higher standard, the building a personality beyond its usual limitations. -Peter Drucker
  88. Don’t tell people how to do things, tell them what to do, and let them surprise you with their results. -George Patton
  89. Dealing with complexity is an inefficient and unnecessary waste of time, attention, and mental energy. There is never any justification for things being complex when they could be simple. -Edward de Bono
  90. Management is about arranging and telling. Leadership is about nurturing and enhancing. -Tom Peters
  91. Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, concerned citizens can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has. -Margaret Mead
  92. If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader. – John Quincy Adams
  93. Average leaders raise the bar on themselves; good leaders raise the bar for others; great leaders inspire others to grow their own bar. -Orrin Woodward
  94. You don’t need a title to be a leader. -Mark Sanborn
  95. The nation will find it very hard to look up to the leaders who keep their ears to the ground. -Sir Winston Churchill
  96. A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus, but a molder of consensus. -Martin Luther King
  97. A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don’t necessarily want to go, but ought to be. -Rosalynn Carter
  98. Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other. – John F. Kennedy
  99. Leadership is unlocking people’s potential to become better. -Bill Bradley
  100. Real leadership is leaders recognizing that they serve the people that they lead. -Pete Hoekstra

After reflecting on the breadth and depth of famous quotes about leadership, it has become evident that becoming a great leader requires true self-awareness and understanding.

Successful leaders have cultivated and sharpened their awareness over time to develop traits such as innovation, resilience, courage and clear direction-setting.

These are qualities required for any individual or institution to advance in life and maximize success opportunities.

While not everyone can aspire to be a great leader, recognizing these essentials will help us chart our paths forward and thrive in whatever we choose to pursue.

Ultimately, it is clear that leadership is a vital ingredient for unlocking more opportunities in any field or profession.