115 Great Leadership Quotes By Famous People To Inspire Your Team

Every viable leading team is identified by their makeups, strengths or challenges, but there are certain traits or qualities that all great leaders of a team share and that, of course, include their display of confidence, positive mental attitude, and the ability to take risks among many others. Leadership is the challenge to be something more than average and developing traits that make-up a leader is a lifelong process that includes surpassing life’s difficulties. Interestingly, enigmatic leaders are known for sharing their life-long experiences and the qualities that make them victorious among which are their great leadership quotes which have become a guide for future generations.

From Aristotle to Shakespeare, Sun Tzu to von Clausewitz, Machiavelli to Nelson Mandela, José Mourinho, and Barrack Obama, here are great leadership quotes by famous people to inspire your team.

Servant Leadership Quotes

1. Work is love made visible. Kahlil Gibran

2. To serve the many, you first serve the few. ― Ken Jennings

3. Give of your hands to serve and your hearts to love. ― Mother Teresa

4. The heart of the leader is manifested through service to others. ― Artika Tyner

5. Organizations exist to serve. Period. Leaders live to serve. Period. Tom Peters

6. Exercising adaptive leadership is about giving meaning to your life beyond your own ambition.― Ronald Heifetz,

7. Make a commitment to serve the needs of the ‘least of these’ and give voice to the voiceless. ― Artika Tyner

8. Life is an exciting business and most exciting when lived for others.Helen Keller

9. I don’t think there’s anything as wonderful in life as being able to help someone else. ― Betty Ford

10. The great use of life is to spend it for something that will outlast it. ― William James

11. The noblest question in the world is, What Good may I do in it?― Benjamin Franklin

12. The theory of servant leadership is vital, but it’s the active Serving Leader that makes the critical difference. ― Ken Jennings

13. The king should be the servant of his people, and seek to uplift them and their lives.― Aleksandra Layland

14. What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world is and remains immortal. Albert Pine

15. Let your light shine as an inspiration to humanity and BE THE REASON someone believes in the goodness of people.― Germany Kent

16. Relationships are never about power, and one way to avoid the will to power is to choose to limit oneself—to serve. ― Wm. Paul Young

17. A person who is worthy of being a leader wants power not for himself, but in order to be of service. ― U.S. Senator Sam J. Ervin, Jr

18. It is one of the most beautiful compensations of life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself….Serve and thou shall be served.Ralph Waldo Emerson

19. In a servant leadership culture we learn by choice or example that if we want to be great, we have to serve others respectfully. ― Vern Dosch

20. One of the great ironies of life is this: He or she who serves almost always benefits more than he or she who is served.― Gordon B. Hinckley

21. 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 De Pree

22. I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy. ― Rabindranath Tagore

23. A noble leader answers not to the trumpet calls of self-promotion, but to the hushed whispers of necessity. ― Mollie Marti

24. I want to sleep for eternity with a broad smile on my face. I want those who remain behind to say this man has done his duty. ― Nelson Mandela

25. Everyone must work to live, but the purpose of life is to serve and to show compassion and the will to help others. ― Albert Schweitzer

26. You may be a businessman or some high degree thief, they may call you Doctor or they may call you Chief But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed. You’re gonna have to serve somebody. Bob Dylan

27. Servant-leadership is all about making the goals clear and then rolling your sleeves up and doing whatever it takes to help people win. In that situation, they don’t work for you, you work for them. ― Ken Blanchard

28. When you find yourself in need of spiritual nourishment, it is in the opportunities to serve others that you will find the abundance you seek. ― Steve Maraboli

29. The sacrifice ‘of’ self for the greater good is the greatest calling imaginable, and it is the bedrock of the greatest nations. The sacrifice ‘for’ self is the most pathetic calling imaginable, and it is the quicksand within which nations perish. ― Craig D. Lounsbrough

30. The single most important thing to remember about any enterprise is that results exist only on the outside. The result of a business is a satisfied customer. The result of a hospital is a satisfied patient. The result of a school is a student who has learned something and puts it to work ten years later. Inside an enterprise, there are only costs. Peter Drucker

Inspirational Leadership Quotes

31. Don’t find the fault, find the remedy —Henry Ford

32. Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower — Steve Jobs

33. Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far” — Theodore Roosvelt

34. Affirmation without discipline is the beginning of delusion — Jim Rohn

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

36. A good leader takes a little more than his share of the blame, a little less than his share of the credit. — Arnold H. Glasow

37. You take the front line when there is a danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership.— Nelson Mandela

38. Your job as a leader is to stay as close in touch as possible with those closest to the action.— Kat Cole

39. I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion.— Alexander the Great

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

41. A leader is the one, who knows the way, goes the way and show the way — John C. Maxwell

42. Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected — Steve Jobs

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

44. You don’t lead by hitting people over the head, that’s assault, not leadership — Dwight D. Esienhowe

45. The quality of a leader is reflected in the standards they set for themselves. — Ray Kroc

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

47. 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

48. The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires. — William Arthur Ward

49. Appreciate everything your associates do for the business. Nothing else can quite substitute for a few well-chosen, well-timed, sincere words of praise. They’re absolutely free and worth a fortune. — Sam Walton

50. If you don’t give people a chance to fail, you won’t innovate. If you want to be an innovative company, allow people to make mistakes. — Indra Nooyi

51. True leadership stems from individuality that is honestly and sometimes imperfectly expressed… Leaders should strive for authenticity over perfection. — Sheryl Sandberg

52. Average leaders raise the bar on themselves; good leaders raise the bar for others; great leaders inspire others to raise their own bar. — Orrin Woodward

53. 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

54. Leadership is the ability to guide others without force into a direction or decision that leaves them still feeling empowered and accomplished.—Lisa Cash Hanson

54. Outstanding leaders go out of the way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it’s amazing what they can accomplish.— Sam Walton

55. The challenge of leadership is to be strong but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not a bully; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humour but without folly. — Jim Rohn

56. We must all learn not only to not fear change, but to embrace it enthusiastically and, perhaps even more important, encourage and drive it. — Tony Hsieh

57. It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. —Nelson Mandela

58. Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.— John Wooden

59. What I have learned is that people become motivated when you guide them to the source of their own power and when you make heroes out of employees who personify what you want to see in the organization. — Anita Roddick

60. If leadership serves only the leader, it will fail. Ego satisfaction, financial gain, and status can all be valuable tools for a leader, but if they become the only motivations, they will eventually destroy a leader. Only when service for a common good is the primary purpose are you truly leading. — Sheila Murray Bethel:

Famous Leadership Quotes

61. A boss has the title, a leader has the people. — Simon Sinek

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

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

64. Actions not word, are the ultimate results of leadership — Bill Owens

65. Leadership is working with goals and vision: management is working with objectives — Russel Honore

66. The quality of a leader is reflected in the standards they set for themselves — Ray Kroc

67. It’s fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.— Bill Gates

68. Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.Vince Lombardi

69. In the future, there will be no female leaders. There will just be leaders.— Sheryl Sandberg

70. The employer generally gets the employees he deserves — J. Paul Getty

71. People who enjoy meetings, should not be in charge of anything — Thomas Sowell

72. Lead from the back and let others believe they are in front. — Nelson Mandela

73. The secret of leadership is simple: Do what you believe in. Paint a picture of the future. Go there. People will follow. — Seth Godin

74. The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires. — William Arthur Ward

75. 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

76. Becoming a leader is synonymous with becoming yourself. It is precisely that simple and it is also that difficult. — Warren Bennis

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

78. Humility is a great quality of leadership which derives respect and not just fear or hatred — Yousef  Munayyer

79. The function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers— Ralph Nader

80. We cannot lead anyone farther than we have been ourselves. — John C. Maxwell

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

82. One of the most important things for any leader is to never let anyone else define who you are. And you define who you are. I never think of myself as being a woman CEO of this company. I think of myself as a steward of a great institution. — Ginni Rometty

83. I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. — Maya Angelou

84. The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things. — Ronald Reagan

85. Leading people is the most challenging and, therefore, the most gratifying undertaking of all human endeavours. — Jocko Willink

86. Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success.— Dale Carnegie

87. Leadership is a privilege to better the lives of others. It is not an opportunity to satisfy personal greed— Mwai Kibaki

88. There is no investment you can make which will pay you so well as the effort to scatter sunshine and good cheer through your establishment. — Orison Swett Marden

89. You have to be burning with an idea, or a problem, or a wrong that you want to right. If you’re not passionate enough from the start, you’ll never stick it out. — Steve Jobs

90. The single biggest way to impact an organization is to focus on leadership development. There is almost no limit to the potential of an organization that recruits good people, raises them up as leaders and continually develops them. — John Maxwell

Funny Leadership Quotes

91. Leadership is your ability to hide your panic from others. —Laozi

92. The man who smiles when things go wrong has thought of someone to blame it on. — Robert Bloch

93. By working faithfully eight hours a day you may eventually get to be boss and work twelve hours a day. — Robert Frost

94. People who think they know everything are a great annoyance to those of us who do. — Isaac Asimov

95.There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves. — Will Rogers

96. People ask the difference between a leader and a boss. The leader leads, and the boss drives. — Theodore Roosevelt

See Also: 105 Quotes From Famous People Who Succeeded In Life And Career

97. I would rather be an artist than a leader. Ironically, a leader has to follow the rules…  — Criss Jami

98. Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren’t!— Margaret Thatcher

99. The problem with being a leader is that you’re never sure if you’re being followed or chased. — Claire A. Murray

100. Life is like a dogsled team. If you ain’t the lead dog, the scenery never changes.— Lewis Grizzard

101. Leadership involves finding a parade and getting in front of it. — John Naisbitt

102. Some people say, ‘Never let them see you cry.’ I say, if you’re so mad you could just cry, then cry. It terrifies everyone. ― Tina Fey

103. Success in almost any field depends more on energy and drive than it does on intelligence. This explains why we have so many stupid leaders. ― Sloan Wilson

104. The very essence of leadership is that you have to have vision. You can’t blow an uncertain trumpet. — Theodore Hesburgh

105. Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work. — Thomas A. Edison

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

107. I suppose leadership at one time meant muscles, but today it means getting along with people. —Mohandas K. Gandhi

109. I suppose leadership at one time meant muscles, but today it means getting along with people. — Mahatma Gandhi

110. Success in almost any field depends more on energy and drive than it does on intelligence. This explains why we have so many stupid leaders — Sloan Wilson

111. Never follow someone else’s path unless you’re in the woods and you’re lost and you see a path then by all means you should follow that. — Ellen Degeneres

112. The key to being a good manager is keeping the people who hate me away from those who are still undecided — Casey Stengel

113. There are two kinds of people, those who do the work and those who take the credit. Try to be in the first group; there is less competition there. ― Indira Gandhi

114. The question, ‘Who ought to be boss?’ is like asking, ‘Who ought to be the tenor in the quartet?’ Obviously, the man who can sing tenor. — Henry Ford

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

Chika Udeh
Chika holds a B.A in English language/History and has over 5 years experience in content development and journalism. She loves playing with writing, wordsmiths, and storytelling in all its forms, and when she is not writing about famous people and events that matter, she is probably listening or dancing to some cool jams.


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