20 Quotes on Leadership That’ll Make You a Better Manager

October 14, 2016

Abraham Lincoln had a great quote on leadership that any boss would benefit from reading.

Arguably nobody changed the world more than Sir Isaac Newton. The renowned physicist fundamentally changed the way we view the universe and our place within it, which seems like a pretty big deal.

How was he able to accomplish so much? When asked, Newton said he was able to get so much done because he was “standing on the shoulders of giants.”

In other words, he used everything that had already been learned as a starting point, and then worked to push it further. Any people manager at any organization should do the same – rather than start from zero, first gain the wisdom already out there on leadership, and than expand upon that.

To help you accomplish that, we collected a list of 20 quotes on leadership from 20 transformational people. By heeding their advice, you as a leader can stand on their shoulders, and become that much better of a boss.

The quotes are:

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. “Leadership is the art of giving people a platform for spreading ideas that work.” – Seth Godin

3. “We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.” – Kurt Vonnegut

4. "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

5. "To add value to others, one must first value others." – John Maxwell

6. "The task of the leader is to get their people from where they are to where they have not been." – Henry Kissinger

7. "The quality of a leader is reflected in the standards they set for themselves." – Ray Kroc

8. "The growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership." – Harvey S. Firestone

9. "The function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers." – Ralph Nader

10. "Effective leadership is not about making speeches or being liked; leadership is defined by results, not attributes." – Peter F. Drucker

11. "Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it." – Dwight D. Eisenhower

12. "Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other." – John F. Kennedy

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

14. "Earn your leadership every day." – Michael Jordan

15. "Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power." – Abraham Lincoln

16. “He who has never learned to obey cannot be a good commander.” – Aristotle

17. "My job is not to be easy on people. My job is to take these great people we have and to push them and make them even better." – Steve Jobs

18. “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 

19. “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 

20. "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

*Image by Gage Skidmore