Best leadership quotes

  1. A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves. —Lao Tzu

  2. Where there is no vision, the people perish. —Proverbs 29:18

  3. I must follow the people. Am I not their leader? —Benjamin Disraeli

  4. You manage things; you lead people. —Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper

  5. 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

  6. Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality. —Warren Bennis

  7. Lead me, follow me, or get out of my way. — General George Patton

  8. Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others. —Jack Welch

  9. A leader is a dealer in hope. —Napoleon Bonaparte

  10. You don’t need a title to be a leader. –Multiple Attributions

  11. A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way. —John Maxwell

  12. My own definition of leadership is this: The capacity and the will to rally men and women to a common purpose and the character which inspires confidence. —General Montgomery

  13. Leadership is lifting a person’s vision to high sights, the raising of a person’s performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations. —Peter Drucker

  14. Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, concerned citizens can change world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has. —Margaret Mead

  15. The nation will find it very hard to look up to the leaders who are keeping their ears to the ground. —Sir Winston Churchill

  16. 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

  17. To command is to serve, nothing more and nothing less. —Andre Malraux

  18. He who has never learned to obey cannot be a good commander. —Aristotle

  19. Become the kind of leader that people would follow voluntarily; even if you had no title or position. —Brian Tracy

Subscribe To The Forbes Careers Newsletter Sign up here to get top career advice delivered straight to your inbox every week.

  1. I start with the premise that the function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers. —Ralph Nader

  2. Effective leadership is not about making speeches or being liked; leadership is defined by results not attributes. —Peter Drucker

  3. Anyone can hold the helm when the sea is calm. —Publilius Syrus

  4. A great person attracts great people and knows how to hold them together. —Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

  5. 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

  6. Leadership is influence. —John C. Maxwell

  7. 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

  8. When I give a minister an order, I leave it to him to find the means to carry it out. —Napoleon Bonaparte

  9. Men make history and not the other way around. In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better. —Harry S. Truman

  10. People buy into the leader before they buy into the vision. —John Maxwell

  11. So much of what we call management consists in making it difficult for people to work. —Peter Drucker

  12. The art of leadership is saying no, not saying yes. It is very easy to say yes. —Tony Blair

  13. The very essence of leadership is that you have to have a vision. It’s got to be a vision you articulate clearly and forcefully on every occasion. You can’t blow an uncertain trumpet. —Reverend Theodore Hesburgh

  14. The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority. —Kenneth Blanchard

  15. A good general not only sees the way to victory; he also knows when victory is impossible. —Polybius

  16. A great leader’s courage to fulfill his vision comes from passion, not position. —John Maxwell

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. 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

  21. A ruler should be slow to punish and swift to reward. —Ovid

  22. 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

  23. Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it. —General Dwight Eisenhower

  24. The leader has to be practical and a realist yet must talk the language of the visionary and the idealist. —Eric Hoffer

  25. Leaders think and talk about the solutions. Followers think and talk about the problems. —Brian Tracy

  26. A man who wants to lead the orchestra must turn his back on the crowd. —Max Lucado

  27. Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity. —General George Patton

  28. As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others. —Bill Gates

  29. All of the great leaders have had one characteristic in common: it was the willingness to confront unequivocally the major anxiety of their people in their time. This, and not much else, is the essence of leadership. —John Kenneth Galbraith

  30. Do what you feel in your heart to be right–for you’ll be criticized anyway. —Eleanor Roosevelt


  1. Don’t necessarily avoid sharp edges. Occasionally they are necessary to leadership. —Donald Rumsfeld

  2. Education is the mother of leadership. —Wendell Willkie

  3. Effective leadership is putting first things first. Effective management is discipline, carrying it out. —Stephen Covey

  4. Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers, who can cut through argument, debate, and doubt to offer a solution everybody can understand. —General Colin Powell

  5. Great leaders are not defined by the absence of weakness, but rather by the presence of clear strengths. —John Zenger

  6. He who has great power should use it lightly. —Seneca

  7. He who has learned how to obey will know how to command. —Solon

  8. I am reminded how hollow the label of leadership sometimes is and how heroic followership can be. —Warren Bennis

  9. 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

  10. If one is lucky, a solitary fantasy can totally transform one million realities. —Maya Angelou

  11. If you would not be forgotten, as soon as you are dead and rotten, either write things worth reading, or do things worth the writing. —Benjamin Franklin

  12. If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader. —John Quincy Adams

  13. In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. —Thomas Jefferson

  14. It is absurd that a man should rule others, who cannot rule himself. —Latin Proverb

  15. It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership. —Nelson Mandela

  16. Lead and inspire people. Don’t try to manage and manipulate people. Inventories can be managed but people must be led. —Ross Perot

  17. Leaders aren’t born, they are made. And they are made just like anything else, through hard work. And that’s the price we’ll have to pay to achieve that goal, or any goal. —Vince Lombardi

  18. Leaders must be close enough to relate to others, but far enough ahead to motivate them. —John C. Maxwell

  19. Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other. —John F. Kennedy

  20. Leadership cannot just go along to get along. Leadership must meet the moral challenge of the day. —Jesse Jackson

  21. Leadership does not always wear the harness of compromise. —Woodrow Wilson

  22. Leadership is a potent combination of strategy and character. But if you must be without one, be without the strategy. —Norman Schwarzkopf

  23. Leadership is solving problems. The day soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help or concluded you do not care. Either case is a failure of leadership. —Colin Powell

  24. Leadership is the key to 99 percent of all successful efforts. —Erskine Bowles

  25. Leadership is unlocking people’s potential to become better. —Bill Bradley

  26. Management is about arranging and telling. Leadership is about nurturing and enhancing. —Tom Peters

  27. Management is efficiency in climbing the ladder of success; leadership determines whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall. —Stephen Covey

  28. Never give an order that can’t be obeyed. —General Douglas MacArthur

  29. No man is good enough to govern another man without that other’s consent. —Abraham Lincoln

  30. What you do has far greater impact than what you say. —Stephen Covey

  31. Not the cry, but the flight of a wild duck, leads the flock to fly and follow. —Chinese Proverb

  32. One of the tests of leadership is the ability to recognize a problem before it becomes an emergency. —Arnold Glasow

  33. The final test of a leader is that he leaves behind him in other men, the conviction and the will to carry on. —Walter Lippman

  34. The greatest leaders mobilize others by coalescing people around a shared vision. —Ken Blanchard

  35. The growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership. —Harvey Firestone

  36. To do great things is difficult; but to command great things is more difficult. —Friedrich Nietzsche

  37. To have long term success as a coach or in any position of leadership, you have to be obsessed in some way. —Pat Riley

  38. True leadership lies in guiding others to success. In ensuring that everyone is performing at their best, doing the work they are pledged to do and doing it well. —Bill Owens

  39. We live in a society obsessed with public opinion. But leadership has never been about popularity. —Marco Rubio

  40. Whatever you are, be a good one. —Abraham Lincoln

  41. You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing you think you cannot do. —Eleanor Roosevelt

  42. A competent leader can get efficient service from poor troops, while on the contrary an incapable leader can demoralize the best of troops. —John J Pershing

  43. 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 Maxwell

  44. There are three essentials to leadership: humility, clarity and courage. —Fuchan Yuan

  45. I am endlessly fascinated that playing football is considered a training ground for leadership, but raising children isn’t. —Dee Dee Myers

  46. A cowardly leader is the most dangerous of men. —Stephen King

  47. My responsibility is getting all my players playing for the name on the front of the jersey, not the one on the back. –Unknown

  48. A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week. –George Patton

  49. The supreme quality of leadership is integrity. –Dwight Eisenhower

  50. You don’t lead by hitting people over the head—that’s assault, not leadership. –Dwight Eisenhower

  51. Earn your leadership every day. –Michael Jordan

  1. 25 Leadership Qualities That Makes You A Good Leader
    25 Leadership Qualities That Makes You A Good Leader
    If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader. ~John Quincy Adams
    Over the decades, many compasnies could not compete with global competition. Among the ones that did succeed, most could not sustain their position in the market.
    Leaders like Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, and Warren Buffet, with their vision, unshakable determination, and persistent hard work, led their respective companies to great heights. With their belief and strong leadership qualities, they gave a new dimension to the world of business.
    This blog, though, is not about them but about the good leadership qualities that help people make their company great, achieve greatness, and bring new transformations in the world.
    Before deep-diving into the leadership qualities, let’s understand leadership in brief.
    What is Leadership?
    According to John Maxwell, ‘Leadership is influence – nothing more, nothing less.’
    Warren Bennis called it the capacity to translate vision into reality.
    If you google the term ‘Leadership,’ you will find endless leadership definitions by the great minds and leaders. After working with some good leaders and being in a leadership position myself, the understanding I have developed is that leadership can influence the crowd to believe, act, and work with perseverance to meet the greater good.
    Being a good leader is not a cakewalk. One must possess effective leadership qualities that help them achieve higher goals and objectives. Be it resistance and persistence of Mahatma Gandhi or the vision of Elon Musk.

Here is the list of 25 essential leadership qualities that help leaders to achieve greater success

  1. Integrity

Integrity is a core quality that every leader must possess. You cannot run any business successfully if you lack integrity. Self-development author Brian Tracy says that whenever he holds a strategic business meeting, the first value every executive agrees on is integrity.
Business leaders know- Integrity is the foundation of good leadership, and one must stand for their beliefs. No matter how hard a situation, a good leader inspires with his principles without compromising; they refrain from making false promises or take shortcuts, choosing thoughts and action over personal gain. Delivering the said promises as ethically and morally grounded is necessary to pay the dividend in the long run.

  1. Innovative

An innovative leader is not a creative genius with thought-provoking ideas but gives others the freedom to develop their ideas. You would always find people with great ideas who lack the will, determination, and fear of taking any actions. But innovative leaders are not one of them.
Innovative people are always open to new ideas and discussions. They listen to everyone actively and also motivate others to think out of the box. This quality gives them an edge over others since they are always hunting for creativity and innovations. As the innovative leader, Steve Jobs himself said, ‘Innovations distinguish between a leader and a follower.’

  1. Honesty

One of the essential leadership qualities is the possession of honesty. Honesty is expected from leaders to garner trust and respect from people for reliability. Moreover, we look upto people who are loyal to their words and are accountable. Thus, honesty is the most valued trait for any business leader or any leader in general.
Leadership can be defined in one word ‘Honesty’. You must be honest with the players and honest with yourself. ~Earl Weaver

  1. Active Listening

The roots of effective leadership lie in simple things, one of which is listening. Listening to someone demonstrates respect; it shows that you value their ideas and are willing to hear them. ~John Baldoni
Active listening is an excellent quality to have when it comes to leadership. Good leaders listen to people with great attention and sincerity. It helps them understand people and their perspectives. Active listening builds trust and relationships in the long run. Good leaders communicate with care, focus on the person and the message; they don’t interrupt and acknowledge what is being said. And that is what the world needs; leaders who listen to its people. Acquiring this skill is not easy; it needs self-awareness and humility to respect others’ thoughts.

  1. Self-Confidence

Self-confidence is found abundantly amidst true leaders; hence they know about their competencies and leadership qualities. They are sure about their competencies and leadership skills. They have a sense of self-assurance and self-esteem and, most importantly, believe that they can make a difference. As Rosalynn Carter rightly said, ‘You have to have confidence in your ability and be tough enough to follow through.’
Self-confidence is critical for leadership because it gives them wings to take risks, accomplish goals, and fly high. Organizational leaders take charge themselves and march with positivity and confidence. It allows them to make immediate decisions, solve organizational problems and conflicts. Good leaders take full responsibility and quick actions without passing on issues, ignoring, or procrastinating.

  1. Visionary

A leader should be Visionary and have more foresight than an employee. ~Jack Ma
A visionary leader is far-sighted and driven and inspired by what a company can become. Visionary leaders work hard for the greater good and keep themselves updated with time and change. Ensuring a vision for the future with perseverance and keeping everybody invested in the process is what a visionary leader does.
A visionary leader does not hold back to take risks and unconventional decisions.

  1. Strong Communicator

Excellent communication is the key to good leadership. An effective leader knows how to put across his message. They are good orators and communicate to get his/her work done. They are not harsh; they choose words and expressions which suit the situation and allow others to express their thoughts and ideas.
They understand how important it is to have good communication skills.. They are very conscious and learn from others’ behaviors, which gives them a deep understanding of human complexities.

  1. Delegation

The ability to delegate effectively is a good leadership quality. A good leader who knows how to delegate wisely and make the best out of it. Delegation is crucial for maximizing productivity and team performance. Also, a leader is the busiest person in any organization. Therefore knowing when and how to delegate gives them more time for their most important work.
Also, an essential factor to note here is that the ability to delegate does not limit to delegating tasks to others. It also means having the awareness and understanding of who has the necessary skills and expertise to complete the task. Mindful delegation is vital to save time and future inconveniences.
You can also check our video!

  1. Decision-making Skill

Good leaders are decisive and know how to help the organization, employees, stakeholders, and customers.
You would never envision a leader who is unclear and uncertain. Good leaders are aware of the fact of how their decisions can make or break businesses. They evaluate a given circumstance many a time before coming to any conclusion. They collect the necessary information required before making any announcements. Also, they do not believe rumors but examine a situation or a problem themselves before making a decision.

  1. Problem-Solving Skills

Leadership roles are not only limited to management or delegating. Today for any business leaders, the spectrum of leadership responsibilities have evolved. For the proper functioning of an organization, leaders must have problem-solving skills and an eye for analyzing the situation to make better decisions. When it comes to effective leadership, problem-solving skills are crucial.
Good leaders have this innate ability to respond to problems. They are equipped with the ability to identify and define problems. Make the analysis, use data, and communicate to solve the issues.
Cultivating strong problem-solving skills is vital for any leader to eliminate barriers.

  1. Fair Attitude

We all have personal biases. One who can think and act beyond this loop is what makes them different from the crowd. These biases are one of the factors why most leaders fail to achieve greater heights.
Good leaders are fair to the employees and the organization’s processes. They acknowledge the good and always make room for everyone to thrive together.
They understand that nothing significant has ever been achieved with an attitude that is unfair and biased. Even if it does, the sustainability of the outcome is always questionable.
Good leaders keep biases and unfairness out of the window and create a culture that does not promote or acknowledge this attitude.

  1. Inquisitiveness

Have you ever watched great leaders sharing stories and their experiences in Ted-talks? I presume you have. If you haven’t, I recommend you do it.
You would realize how knowledgeable and curious these leaders are. And how they are always open to learning new things. Their thoughts, ideas, and perceptions are unique and thought-provoking.
The reason behind this is their inquisitiveness and curiosity from life. They pursue various interests and keep themselves invested in it. They are open to broadening their spectrum through art, technology, and science. And, in fact, all the world’s know-how.
This quality helps them build a rational and positive attitude towards any problems.

  1. Self-motivated

The great leaders of business, industry, and finance, and the great artists, poets, musicians and writers all became great because they developed the power of self-motivation. ~Napoleon Hill
One of the essential leadership traits of good leaders is their ability to motivate others. Good leaders always motivate their employees and boost their morale when needed. They sail their boat smoothly, even in hazardous situations. They keep themselves self-motivated and set an example to follow.

  1. Humility

Humble leaders make the best leaders. This statement is not something I am claiming to be true. In his seminal book ‘Good to Great,’ Jim Collins shows extensive research data on how humble and willful leaders help their companies grow and sustain their market position.
Humility is not the first trait that comes to mind when we think about leadership. But it is one of the essential qualities of a good leader. It is because humility often gets overshadowed by the flamboyance of the celebrated leadership qualities.
Humble and willful leaders understand the fact that leadership is all about working for the greater good. They lead to transform, not dominate. They are aware of their strengths and weaknesses and always yearn to learn and contribute more.

  1. Care for Others

The best leaders have a high consideration factor. They care about their people. ~Brian Tracy
Good leaders understand the value of the balance between work and life. They know that people’s health and wellness associated with the organization play an important role in attaining success.
They inspire their team members and make sure the staff, clients, beneficiaries, and customers feel trusted.
They understand the importance of appreciating and recognizing employees and creating mutual respect and understanding within the organization.
They work towards giving them an environment where everyone can flourish.

  1. Self-Discipline

Good leadership is in developing discipline in others. Good leaders are self-disciplined and have good time management skills. They encourage a culture where people are disciplined. This is a quality in which people can adapt themselves with persistence. When you are self-disciplined and set an example, you motivate others to follow.
Great leaders always have self-discipline -without exception. ~John C. Maxwell
In an organization where everything is fast-paced, and employees get occupied with so much workload, being more disciplined can help achieve more and keep the work environment at ease.

  1. Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence is the capability to identify, manage, evaluate, and understand our own emotions and the people around us.
According to the psychologist, Daniel Goleman, EI has five components-
• Self-awareness
• Self-regulation
• Empathy
• Motivation and
• Social skills
Good leaders are self-aware, act in control, take calculated decisions without getting carried away. They understand other’s perspectives without being cynical. They are self-motivated and have strong social skills, which help them build connections and healthy relationships.
These explain that good leaders have a high degree of Emotional Intelligence. This is why EI is one of the essential leadership attributes.

  1. Passion

Passion is a common leadership trait found in most effective leaders across the world. They are highly passionate about their goals and objectives. They know what they want and work tirelessly to achieve those. Their passion is infectious and also very inspiring. They are highly committed to their goals and also help others in achieving theirs.
Passionate leaders elevate productivity and ensure that the employees commit to their vision. Passion helps leaders to instill motivation in their employees and helps to achieve the desired vision.

  1. Resilience

Leaders must be tough enough to fight, tender enough to cry, human enough to make mistakes, humble enough to admit them, strong enough to absorb the pain, and resilient enough to bounce back and keep on moving. ~Jesse Jackson
One must understand their self before taking responsibility for others. Resilient leaders are perceptive and also know how to handle themselves in any good or bad situation.
Resilient leaders are capable of retaining their energy level under strain and responding to disruptive changes. They also overcome severe challenges without destructive behavior or hurting others. Resilient leaders are high performing leaders who recover from any adversity positively.

  1. Accountability

Being an accountable leader is not an easy task. It means you can own up to commitments and promises you made. It means being answerable to the actions and decisions made by you and by those you lead. Accountable leaders establish clear goals and targets. They focus on the future and also own up to their mistakes. They ask for help when needed and provide honest and constructive feedback.
Accountability is the glue that ties commitment to the result. ~Bob Practor

  1. Supportive

Leadership without support is like trying to make bricks without enough straw. True leaders reinforce their ideas and plans with strategic partnerships, alliances, and supportive audiences. ~Reed Markham
Supportive leaders give the guidance that you need. Supportive leaders mentor you, guides you till you need little to no supervision in the future. They do not believe in delegating tasks and expecting results right away. They are with you in the process and support you with their knowledge and experiences. Supportive leadership involves building trust among the team members and encouraging dialogue to keep the team spirit high. The fundamentals of supportive leadership are, therefore, promoting teamwork, building relationships, and commitment.

  1. Tech-savvy

For digital transformation, the world needs Tech-Savvy leaders. Today’s leader needs to understand the technology sufficiently to sustain their business. The organization’s technology decisions must be guided with a strategy and transforming its analog experience into a digital. The majority of the companies worldwide are digital today, and it will only grow exponentially with time. Therefore, it becomes evident that business leaders enhance technological skills for sustainability and making better decisions.
Our future success is directly proportional to our ability to understand, adapt, and integrate new technology into our work. ~Sukant Ratnakar

  1. Empathy

Empathy is a core leadership trait that helps you nurture your team. Empathy is in understanding others’ needs and what goes into their mind. We live in a world with a constant communication loop, and people interact with each other at much ease. But at the same time, people are less empathetic towards each other. Many communicate to express but not to understand others perspectives.
Empathetic leaders are perceptive, and they are aware of other’s feelings and thinking. Being empathetic does not always mean to agree on other’s views, but to appreciate and have a willingness to understand.
Leadership is about empathy. It is about having the ability to relate to and connect with people for the purpose of inspiring and empowering their lives. ~Oprah Winfrey

  1. Learning Agility

Agile leaders make the best response to organizational change and uncertainty. Today we need leaders who are quicker in decision-making and who can take immediate action in crisis times. We live in a fast-paced world, and work trends are evolving in no time. Therefore there is little time for all to take calculated decisions. Also, the strategies and policies that worked well in the past can be obsolete today. One of the visible examples is the Covid-19 crisis. The crisis had changed the landscape of work culture, and leaders had to find new strategies to fight the storm overnight.
The future of work will always be uncertain and ambiguous. Future events will bring new challenges. Organizations now will only thrive in the future under the supervision of leaders who can make sense of uncertainty.

  1. Empowerment

Great leaders can empower their team members to achieve maximum productivity and organizational success.
Empowerment gives the team members equal decision-making opportunities and uses their power of judgment and expertise to develop solutions. This builds the sense of individual worth and also employees’ commitment towards their organization. Every individual brings their skills and talents to the table that often finds a route to flow. Usually, you would have skillful team members, but lack of guidance and motivation fails to bring them the best.
It is, therefore, on leaders how they foster these skills by empowering them. Good leaders know how to unleash positive traits in others. They understand that the only way to do that is by empowering them. Therefore, leaders take it as a daily practice to continuously empower people and strengthen the team.
As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others. ~Bill Gates
Final Note!
Every leader has an urge to lead, inspire, and contribute to the greater good. And this is why you need the right leadership qualities to guide you. No one can own all these leadership qualities.
It is a consistent effort and self-belief that paves the path. Leaders should, therefore, be mindful and exercise these leadership skills for sustainable growth.
If you have reached here, I would like to presume that you have gained some new perspectives on these critical leadership qualities.
Do write your thoughts below if you have some more exciting and informative views on the same.