10 Quotes about Leadership That Will Deeply Inspire You

quotes about leadership

One of the worst misconceptions a person can have about leadership is that it comes naturally. On the contrary, leadership is hard work. It requires a certain level of self-awareness, discipline, and the ability to relate to the people you’re trying to lead.

This applies to sports coaches, business owners, and life mentors. Whatever kind of leader you are, you have to be a good one. Then, work on being better and better until you’re the absolute best leader you can be.

Here’s a hint to help you do that: the learning never stops. For inspiration to keep growing your leadership abilities, check out the following quotes about leadership.

1. “My Job Is Not to Be Easy on People. My Job Is to Make Them Better” – Steve Jobs

Leadership is hard work in terms of all the effort it takes out of you, but sometimes, also in terms of the calls, you have to make. You’re not always going to be the favorite person in the room.

Your followers and competitors alike will have some sort of criticism to offer from time to time. That’s not the point of doing what you do, though. You’re not at the top to please people or make them comfortable – you’re there to challenge your people to be the best versions of themselves.

2. “Don’t Follow the Crowd, Let the Crowd Follow You” – Margaret Thatcher

To help others be their best, you have to first discover what that means to you. This may lead you to the path less traveled, and that’s okay.

All kinds of leaders throughout history achieved the things they did by challenging the norm. They weren’t afraid to speak up about what mattered to them or stick it to the man when necessary.

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But, keep in mind that your desire to do something different doesn’t always have to be loud and bold. It can start as subtle shifts and suggestions, too.

3. “Go Where There Is No Path and Leave a Trail” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

There is doing something different, and then there’s doing something entirely new.

Leaders are often trailblazers. They find better ways of handling situations within their realm (business, art, sports, etc) and pursue them wholeheartedly. If you happen to stumble upon a path that hasn’t been walked yet, take it as your calling to lead the way.

4. “The Ability to Learn Is the Most Important Quality a Leader Can Have” – Sheryl Sandberg

Whether you’re doing something completely new or trying to make the most of the leadership that’s been handed to you, you have to be willing to learn. Just as leadership is ever evolving, learning, in general, doesn’t stop. The two go hand in hand.

You may be learning more about your followers one day then start seeing your goals in a different light the next. Changes in your industry may influence the decisions you need to make and ideas from someone else might be worth bringing to the group as a whole.

Keep your eyes and ears open for such learning moments and more.

5. “There Are No Office Hours for Leaders” -Cardinal J. Gibbons

In the same way that you should always be willing to learn, you should wrap your mind around the fact that you’re always going to be working. A leader is not lazy, and they don’t take days off.

He or she is constantly finding ways to improve their craft and make the conditions of their followers better. This goes for business achievements, sports performances, perspectives and ideas of those who follow thought leaders, and more. It doesn’t matter who you lead, you’re always on the clock.

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6. “One Voice Can Change a Room” – Barack Obama

Here’s something to consider: maybe you don’t think you’re a leader yet, but you know you have good ideas. Voice them. Make yourself heard in meetings, at practice, online, and in conversation.

Whatever platform is available to you, use it – and use it well. You don’t always have to talk the most or speak the loudest. Just use the time you have to make your words hit home.

7. “Every Time You Have to Speak, You Are Auditioning for Leadership” – James Humes

Going off the point mentioned above, try thinking about leadership as less of a title and more of an ability. If you don’t have a position to lead others yet, show that you have the capacity for it.

Sometimes, this is all you need to create a following. It’s not always about being at the top or having a full team of people behind you. Your voice is enough to get people’s attention when your words spark something in them; it tells other people you’re the leader they need.

8. “Leadership Is the Art of Giving People a Platform for Spreading Ideas That Work” – Seth Godin

As much as people need a leader, they also need to feel heard themselves. This is something not everyone realizes about powerful leadership quotes: they’re never really about you.

Everything always has to be about the people you lead. The more you work to inspire the voices of the people around you and shed light on the things they are capable of, the better of a leader you really are.

Keep this in mind at team events, hiring fairs, and conferences. Maybe even print the quote on your promotional items, which you can click to discover more about.

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9. “When People Talk, Listen Completely” – Ernest Hemingway

Once people start speaking up and coming to you with ideas, be sure to listen. Leaders always have time for their people. You may have to make that time and set a later date, but at least do that.

Then, just listen and listen completely. Listen for the passion in a person’s voice and the struggles they’re bringing to you. Listen for what they’re really trying to say through their body language and behavior, too.

10. “Someone Is Sitting in the Shade Today Because Someone Planted a Tree a Long Time Ago” – Warren Buffett

At the end of the day, leadership is about what you do now to create positive changes in the world later. Sometimes you’re able to realize the fruits of your labor, and other times, it takes a while for certain things to come full circle.

All you really need to worry about, though, is giving your best effort. The rest will work itself out, it always does.

Quotes About Leadership for Work and for Life

There are those who have titles without leadership, and there are those who are leaders without titles. Every once in a while, you come across people at the top of their respective organizations who are true leaders.

One day, you may be one of them yourself, especially with the help of these quotes about leadership. Keep in mind that whatever your goals and aspirations are, though, you can always be a leader.

This is particularly good advice if you’re about to graduate. For more tips and insights on the next steps of your life, click here.