Leaders come in all shapes and sizes, and there are many styles of leadership.
Yet, very few people are actually born to lead. Those who are, are the exceptions.
But while there are literally thousands of leadership courses available, leadership can’t really be taught. Rather, it’s something that must be learned. There’s a big difference, because the only way to make leaning ‘stick,’ is through personal, and relatable experience. It provides the context for everything else.
Can everyone be a leader? A better question may be, ‘Do you have what it takes to be a leader’? You don’t need to be a superhero, run a company, start a movement, or win a marathon to lead.
But there are some well-defined traits that the best leaders share. Traits that inspire people to follow them. After all, without followers, leaders are powerless.
So what do people want to see in their leaders?
Studies and scholarly articles written by prestigious Universities, Business Schools, as well as leading publications like Harvard Business Review, magazines like Forbes, Inc, Entrepreneur, showed that traits such as honesty, integrity, commitment, positive attitude, willingness to delegate, approachability, creativity, ranked high, as did communication and inspiration.
A couple of years back, leadership consultancy firm Zenger Folkman conducted a study. After interviewing over 7200 businesses, they reported that more ‘human’ traits such as empathy, vulnerability, humility, inclusiveness, generosity, balance and patience were also highly valued.
We thought we’d go straight to the horse’s mouth and see what some of the best and brightest minds had to say about the essence of leadership. I hope you not only enjoy reading these 25 quotes, but take their words to heart.
- “Leaders become great not because of their power, but because of their ability to empower others” -John Maxwell
- “The most powerful leadership tool you have is your own personal example. – John Wooden
- “I never thought in terms of being a leader, I thought very simply in terms of helping people. – John Hume
- “One of the most important leadership lessons is realizing you are not the most important or intelligent person in the room.” – Mario Batali
- “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
- “To add value to others, one must first value others.” – John Maxwell
- “I suppose leadership at one time meant muscles; but today it means getting along with people.” – Mahatma Gandhi
- “Doing what is right isn’t the problem. It is knowing what is right.” – Lyndon B Johnson
- “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
- “A leader is not an administrator who loves to run others, but someone who carries water for his people so that they can get on with their jobs.” – Robert Townsend
- “If a rhinoceros were to enter this restaurant now, there is no denying he would have great power here. But I should be the first to rise and assure him that he had no authority whatever.” – G.K. Chesterton
- “Never give an order that can’t be obeyed.” – Gen. Douglas MacArthur
- You do not lead by hitting people over the head — that’s assault, not leadership.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower
- “You cannot be a leader, and ask other people to follow you, unless you know how to follow, too.” – Sam Rayburn“
- When the conduct of men is designed to be influenced, persuasion, kind, unassuming persuasion, should ever be adopted. It is an old and a true maxim, that a “drop of honey catches more flies than a gallon of gall.” – Abraham Lincoln
- “Example is not the main thing in influencing others; it is the only thing.” – Albert Schweitzer
- “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
- “The quality of a leader is reflected in the standards they set for themselves.” – Ray Kroc
- “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
- “How we think shows through in how we act. Attitudes are mirrors of the mind. They reflect thinking.” – David Joseph Schwartz
- “No man will make a great leader who wants to do it all himself or get all the credit for doing it.” – Andrew Carnegie
- “What helps people, helps business.” – Leo Burnett
- “The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, a football field, in an army, or in an office.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower
- “Leadership is not a popularity contest; it’s about leaving your ego at the door. The name of the game is to lead without a title.” – Robin S. Sharma
- “Most businesses think that product is the most important thing, but without great leadership, mission and a team that deliver results at a high level, even the best product won’t make a company successful.” – Robert Kiyosaki
Have a good week!