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Famous Leadership Quotes

Here’s a selection of famous leadership quotes shedding more light on the nature of leadership.

They are a mix of leadership quotes from political leaders, spiritual leaders, business leaders and thinkers and writers on leadership.

The value of a quotation can be in its brevity or poignancy, its power or insight. Sometimes however, it may be because of the stature of the person being quoted. Many of these famous leadership quotes say much about the speaker. Indeed, perhaps they’re all the more famous for just that reason – because they are quotes from famous leaders.

Famous Leadership Quotes: Dealing in Hope

“There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”Nelson Mandela

“A leader is a dealer in hope.” Napoleon Bonaparte

“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

“Leadership is the lifting of a man’s vision to higher sights, the raising of a man’s performance to a higher standard, the building of a man’s personality beyond its normal limitations.” Peter Drucker

Famous Leadership Quotes: Responsible for Learning

Leaders “are designers, stewards, and teachers. They are responsible for building organisations where people continually expand their abilities to understanding complexity, clarify vision, and improve shared mental models – that is, they are responsible for learning.” Peter Senge The Fifth Discipline

“Presidents, leaders, to be effective have to represent the whole to the parts and to the world outside. They may live in the centre but they must not be the centre. To reinforce the common sense they must be a constant teacher, ever travelling, ever talking, ever listening, the chief missionary of the common cause.” Charles Handy

“The best leaders are the best notetakers, best askers and best learners – They are shameless thieves” Tom Peters

Famous Leadership Quotes: Kind Words and a Working Life of Thanking People

“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.” Nelson Mandela

Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless. Mother Theresa

“I believe that the mindset that allows you to spend your working life thanking and congratulating people rather than being unpleasant to them is the mainstay of good leadership.” Tim Waterstone

“I am a leader by default, only because nature does not allow a vacuum.” Bishop Desmond Tutu

“The only test of leadership is that somebody follows.” Robert K. Greenleaf

Famous Leadership Quotes: Life is Better for Everyone

It is important that an aim never be defined in terms of activity or methods. It must always relate directly to how life is better for everyone. . . . The aim of the system must be clear to everyone in the system. The aim must include plans for the future. The aim is a value judgment. W. Edwards Deming

“I believe in businesses where you engage in creative thinking, and where you form some of your deepest relationships. If it isn’t about the production of the human spirit, we are in big trouble.” Anita Roddick

“Good leaders make people feel that they’re at the very heart of things, not at the periphery. Everyone feels that he or she makes a difference to the success of the organization. When that happens people feel centered and that gives their work meaning.”Warren Bennis

Famous Leadership Quotes: An Insufficient Mandate.

Principle of insufficient mandate: – “those unable to change themselves cannot change those around them.”

“those who are to change significantly that which they freshly encounter must themselves be changed by the changing of it.” Reg Revans

“Greatness is not in where we stand, but in what direction we are moving. We must sometimes sail with the wind and sometimes against it – but sail we must, and not drift, nor lie at anchor” Oliver Wendell James

“It is not fair to ask of others what you are not willing to do yourself” Eleanor Roosevelt

“Most hierarchies are nowadays so cumbered with rules and traditions, and so bound in by public laws, that even high employees do not have to lead anyone anywhere, in the sense of pointing out the direction and setting the pace. They simply follow precedents, obey regulations, and move at the head of the crowd. Such employees lead only in the sense that the curved wooden figurehead leads the ship.” Laurence Peter, The Peter Principle.”

“You can build a throne with bayonets, but you can’t sit on it for long” Boris Yeltsin

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