Quotations: Leadership

Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.
— Peter Drucker, economist, management guru, author (1909-2005)

Don’t tell people how to do things; tell them what to do and let them surprise you with the results.
— George S. Patton, Army general (1885-1945)

Inventories can be managed, but people must be led.
— H. Ross Perot, businessman

What you cannot enforce, do not command.
— Sophocles, Greek playwright (c. 496 BC-406 BC)

A good leader inspires others with confidence; a great leader inspires them with confidence in themselves.
— Unknown

A good leader can’t get too far ahead of his followers.
— Franklin D. Roosevelt, 32nd president (1882-1945)

Leadership is getting someone to do what they don’t want to do but to achieve what they want to achieve.
— Tom Landry, pro football coach (1924-2000)

I am more afraid of an army of 100 sheep led by a lion than an army of 100 lions led by a sheep.
— Talleyrand, French diplomat (1754-1838)

Great necessities call forth great leaders.
— Abigail Adams, First Lady (1744-1818)

The function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers.
— Ralph Nader, activist lawyer, consumer advocate

Leadership has a harder job to do than just choose sides. It must bring sides together.
— Jesse Jackson, civil-rights activist, minister

It’s hard to lead a cavalry charge if you think you look funny on a horse.
— Adlai Stevenson, politician, statesman (1900-1965)

The only safe ship in a storm is leadership.
— Faye Wattleton, nurse, administrator, author

If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the shoulders of giants.
— Isaac Newton, physicist, mathematician, astronomer, inventor (1643-1727)

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.
— John Quincy Adams, 6th president (1767-1848)

The price of greatness is responsibility.
— Winston Churchill, British prime minister (1874-1965)

A competent leader can get efficient service from poor troops; an incapable leader can demoralize the best of troops.
— John J. Pershing, Army general (1860-1948)

To lead people, walk beside them.
— Lao-tsu, Chinese philosopher (c. 4th-6th century BC)

The task of leadership is not to put greatness into people but to elicit it, for the greatness is there already.
— John Buchan, Scottish politician, author (1875-1940)

Men make history, not the other way around.
— Harry Truman, 33rd president (1884-1972)

Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson, author, poet, philosopher (1803-1882)

A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don’t want to go but ought to be.
— Rosalynn Carter, First Lady

Management works in the system; leadership works on the system.
— Stephen R. Covey, management consultant, author

Leadership is a combination of strategy and character. If you must be without one, be without the strategy.
— H. Norman Schwarzkopf, Army general

A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way.
— John C. Maxwell, motivational teacher, author

Lead me, follow me or get out of the way.
— George S. Patton, Army general (1885-1945)

The highest proof of virtue is to possess boundless power without abusing it.
— Lord Thomas Macaulay, British poet, historian, politician (1800-1859)

Leaders don’t create followers; they create more leaders.
— Tom Peters, business-management writer

One measure of leadership is the caliber of people who choose to follow you.
— Dennis A. Peer

Leadership is action, not position.
— Leadership is action, not position.

When trouble arises and things look bad, there is always one individual who perceives a solution and is willing to take command. Very often, that person is crazy.
— Dave Barry, humor writer

Nothing so conclusively proves a man’s ability to lead others as what he does from day to day to lead himself.
— Thomas J. Watson, founder of IBM (1874-1956)

A good leader is a person who takes a little more than his share of the blame and a little less than his share of the credit.
— John C. Maxwell, pastor, author, leadership expert

Authority without wisdom is like a heavy ax without an edge — fitter to bruise than polish.
— Anne Bradstreet, writer, poet (1612-1672)

A leader leads by example, whether he intends to or not.
— Unknown

I don’t want you to follow me or anyone else. If you are looking for a Moses to lead you out of the capitalist wilderness, you will stay right where you are. I would not lead you into this promised land if I could because if I could lead you in, someone else could lead you out.
— Eugene V. Debs, labor and political leader (1855-1926)

There go my people. I must find out where they are going so I can lead them.
— Alexandre Auguste Ledru-Rollin, French politician (1807-1874)

Every leader needs to look back once in a while to make sure he has followers.
— Unknown

The real leader has no need to lead; he is content to point the way.
— Henry Miller, writer (1891-1980)

Leadership: The art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.
— Dwight D. Eisenhower, 34th President (1890-1969)

Remember the difference between a boss and a leader. A boss says, Go! A leader says, Let’s go!
— E.M. Kelly

The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it.
— Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President (1858-1919)

Leadership at one time meant muscle. Today it means getting along with people.
— Indira Gandhi, prime minister of India (1917-1984)

You don’t have to hold a position in order to be a leader.
— Anthony J. D’Angelo

Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing.
— Albert Schweitzer, German physician, musician, theologian, philosopher (1875-11965)

You can’t lead anyone else further than you have gone yourself.
— Gene Mauch, Major League player and manager (1925-2005)

A chief is a man who assumes responsibility. He says, I was beaten. He does not say, My men were beaten.
— Antoine de Saint-Exupery, French writer, aviator (1900-1944 )

Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.
— Albert Einstein, theoretical physicist (1879-1955)

A man who wants to lead the orchestra must turn his back on the crowd.
— Max Lucado, Christian author and minister

You cannot choose your battlefield, God does that for you. But you can plant a standard where a standard never flew.
— Nathalia Crane

Personal leadership is the process of keeping your vision and values before you and aligning your life to be congruent with them.
— Stephen R. Covey, management consultant, author

Men are only great as they are kind.
— Elbert Hubbard, American entrepreneur and philosopher (founder of Roycroft) (1856-1915)

No one reaches a high position without daring.
— Publilius Syrus, Syrian-born Latin writer of maxims (fl. 1st century B.C.)

If we could be heroes, if just for one day.
— David Bowie (David Robert Jones), English pop music performer (b. 1947)

He who dares to teach must never cease to learn.
— Unknown

It takes a whole village to raise a child.
— Ashanti proverb

Education makes a people easy to lead, but difficult to drive; easy to govern, but impossible to enslave.
— Omar N. Bradley, American general (1893-1981)

Imitation is a necessity of human nature.
— Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., American jurist, Supreme Court justice (1841-1935)

Morality is the best of all devices for leading mankind by the nose.
— Friedrich Nietzsche, German philosopher (1844-1900)

This country will not be a good place for any of us to live in unless we make it a good place for all of us to live in.
— Theodore Roosevelt, American adventurer and 26th president (1858-1919)

If there is anything we wish to change in the child, we should first examine it and see whether it is not something that could better be changed in ourselves.
— Carl Jung, Swiss founder of analytical psychology (1875-1961)

Most people are good only so long as they believe others to be so.
— Friedrich Hebbel, German dramatist (1813-1863)

People of superior refinement and of active disposition identify happiness with honour; for this is roughly speaking, the end of political life.
— Aristotle, Greek philosopher (384-322 B.C.), from the Nichomachean Ethics

A leader is a dealer in hope.
— Napoleon Bonaparte, French general and emperor (1769-1821)

If men were angels, no government would be necessary.
— James Madison, American Founding Father, U.S. president (1751-1836)

The delusion that individual advancement is made by crushing others The tendency to worry about things that cannot be changed or corrected Insisting that a thing is impossible because we cannot accomplish it Refusing to set aside trivial preferences Neglecting development and refinement of the mind and not acquiring the habit of reading and studying Attempting to compel other persons to believe and live as we do.
— Ciceros Six Mistakes of Man (according to Arthur F. Lenehan)

Few men think, yet all will have opinions.
— George Berkeley, Irish bishop and empirical philosopher (1685-1753)

Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.
— Count Leo Tolstoy, Russian novelist (1828-1910)

Be as you wish to seem.
— Socrates, Greek philosopher (c. 470-399 B.C.)

Act so as to elicit the best in others and thereby in thyself.
— Felix Adler, American educator and reformer (1851-1933)

Lives of great people remind us we can make our lives sublime and, departing, leave behind footprints in the sand of time.
— Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, poet (1807-1882)

Society’s demands for moral authority and character increase as the importance of the position increases.
— John Adams, American Founding Father and second U.S. president (1735-1826)

Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.
— Unknown

The final test of a leader is that he leaves behind him in other men the conviction and will to carry on.
— Walter Lippmann, American journalist, author and public philosopher (1889-1974)

If we lived in a state where virtue was profitable, common sense would make us saintly. But since we see that avarice, anger, pride and stupidity commonly profit far beyond charity, modesty, justice and thought, perhaps we must stand fast a little, even at the risk of being heroes.
— Sir Thomas More in the movie A Man For All Seasons (1966, screenplay by Robert Bolt)

Few men have virtue to withstand the highest bidder.
— George Washington, American Founding Father and war hero, first U.S. president (1732-1799)

The people have a right, an indisputable, unalienable, indefeasible, divine right to that most dreaded and envied kind of knowledge – I mean of the character and conduct of their rulers.
— John Adams, American Founding Father and second U.S. president (1735-1826)

Character is the only secure foundation of the state.
— Calvin Coolidge, 30th American president (1872-1933)

A man who wants to act virtuously in every way necessarily comes to grief among so many who are not virtuous.
— Niccolo Machiavelli, Florentine dramatist, political analyst and adviser (1469-1527)

With all the power that a president has, the most important thing to bear in mind is this: You must not give power to a man unless, above everything else, he has character. Character is the most important qualification the president of the United States can have.
— Richard Nixon, 37th U.S. president (1913-1994), from TV ad for Barry Goldwaters presidential campaign in 1964

All leaders must face some crisis where their own strength of character is the enemy.
— Richard Reeves, 20th-century American journalist and essayist

In a president, character is everything. A president doesn’t have to be brilliant… He doesn’t have to be clever; you can hire clever… You can hire pragmatic, and you can buy and bring in policy wonks. But you cant buy courage and decency, you cant rent a strong moral sense. A president must bring those things with him. He needs to have, in that much maligned word, but a good one nonetheless, a vision of the future he wishes to create.. But a vision is worth little if a president doesn’t have the character – the courage and heart – to see it through.
— Peggy Noonan, 20th century American author, speech writer for U.S. President Ronald Reagan

Faced with crisis, the man of character falls back upon himself.
— Charles DeGaulle, French general and president, founder of the Fifth Republic (1890-1970)

Politics ruins the character.
— Otto von Bismarck, German chancellor, founder of the German nation state (1815-1898)

Character is power.
— Booker T. Washington, American educator (1856-1915)

Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a mans character, give him power.
— Abraham Lincoln, 16th American president (1809-1865)

It is a grand mistake to think of being great without goodness and I pronounce it as certain that there was never a truly great man that was not at the same time truly virtuous.
— Benjamin Franklin, American Founding Father, inventor and statesman (1706-1790)

Every person in America has done or said something that would keep him or her from being president. Maybe a nation that consumes as much booze and dope as we do and has our kind of divorce statistics should pipe down about character issues.
— P.J. ORouke, 20th-century American humorist and essayist

Leaders are visionaries with a poorly developed sense of fear and no concept of the odds against them. They make the impossible happen.
— Dr. Robert Jarvik, 20th-century American heart surgeon

Political interest never be separated in the long run from moral right.
— Thomas Jefferson, American Founding Father and U.S. president (1743-1826), letter to James Monroe, 1806

I don’t like people who are in politics for themselves and not for others. You want that, you can go into show business.
— Elvis Presley, American rock ‘n’ roll icon (1935-1977)

There is a secret pride in every human heart that revolts at tyranny. You may order and drive an individual, but you cannot make him respect you.
— William Hazlitt, English essayist and literary critic (1778-1830)

You can only govern men by serving them.
— Victor Cousin, French philosopher (1792-1867)

A politician would do well to remember that he has to live with his conscience longer than he does with his constituents.
— Melvin R. Laird, 20th-century American secretary of defense

Politics, as a practice, whatever its professions, has always been the systematic organization of hatreds.
— Henry Adams, American historian, memoirist and diplomat (1838-1918)

An election is a moral horror, as bad as battle except for the blood; a mud bath for every soul concerned.
— George Bernard Shaw, Anglo-Irish dramatist and wit (1856-1950)

Politics, n. A strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles.
— Ambrose Bierce, American journalist and writer (1842-1914?), from the Devil’s Dictionary

Since a politician never believes what he says, he is surprised when others believe him.
— Charles de Gaulle, French general and president, founder of the Fifth Republic (1890-1970)

Washington is a place where men praise courage and act on elaborate personal cost-benefit calculations.
— John Kenneth Galbraith, North American economist, novelist and diplomat (b. 1908)

Never create by law what can be accomplished by morality.
— Charles-Louis de Secondat Baron de Montesquieu, French jurist and political philosopher (1689-1755)

Bad administration, to be sure, can destroy good policy; but good administration can never save bad policy.
— Adlai Stevenson, American politician and presidential candidate (1900-1965)

How far would Moses have gone if he had taken a poll in Egypt?
— Harry S. Truman, 33rd American president (1884-1972)

Politics is the art of controlling the environment.
— Hunter S. Thomson, 20th-century American journalist and satirist

Democracy becomes a government of bullies, tempered by editors.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson, American essayist, public philosopher and poet (1803-1882)

There is, and always has been, one tremendous ruler of the human race — and that ruler is that combination of the opinions of all, the leveling up of universal sense which is called public sentiment. That is the ever-present regulator and police of humanity.
— attributed to Thomas B. Reed

The police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.
— Sir Robert Peel, British Prime Minister (1788-1850)

Any mans life will be filled with constant and unexpected encouragement if he makes up his mind to do his level best each day.
— Booker T. Washington, American educator (1856-1915)

Dictators lead through fear; good coaches do not.
— John Wooden, basketball coach

A good coach will make his players see what they can be rather than what they are.
— Ara Parseghian, football coach

If thou thinkest twice before thou speakest once, thou wilt speak twice the better for it.
— William Penn, Quaker and founder of Pennsylvania (1644-1718)

Punctuality is the politeness of kings and the duty of gentle people everywhere.
— Unknown

These men ask for just the same thing, fairness, and fairness only. This, so far as in my power, they, and all others, shall have.
— Abraham Lincoln, 16th U.S. president (1809-1865)

A leader is judged not by the length of his reign but by the decisions he makes.
— Klingon Proverb

It is better to be loved than feared.
— Senegalese proverb

A slave shows his true character, not while he is enslaved, but when he becomes a master.
— Jewish proverb