Quotable Quotes for Family Leaders



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Quotable Quotes

for Family Leaders



Compiled from various sources, including famous-quotes-and-quotations.com, heartquotes.net/Leadership.html, nwlink.com/~donclark/leader/leadqot.html, and wisdomquotes.com/cat_leadership.html
The best leaders ask the best questions.

~Unknown
It is good when the team believes in the leader. It is great when the leader believes in the team!

~Jim Maxwell
Chance comes to a prepared mind.

~Unknown
When good people want to move mountains, mountains become molehills.

~Unknown
Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.
~ Peter F. Drucker
Don't tell people how to do things, tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results.
~ George S. Patton
Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.
~ Dwight Eisenhower
A leader is a dealer in hope.
~ Napoleon Bonaparte
The leadership instinct you are born with is the backbone. You develop the funny bone and the wishbone that go with it.
~ Elaine Agather
Delegating work works, provided the one delegating works, too.
~ Robert Half
Only one man in a thousand is a leader of men -- the other 999 follow women.
~ Groucho Marx
The very essence of leadership is that you have to have vision. You can't blow an uncertain trumpet.
~ Theodore M. Hesburgh
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
A man who wants to lead the orchestra must turn his back on the crowd.
~ James Crook
People cannot be managed. Inventories can be managed, but people must be led.
~ H. Ross Perot
Do you wish to rise? Begin by descending. You plan a tower that will pierce the clouds? Lay first the foundation of humility.
~ St. Augustine
Pull the string, and it will follow wherever you wish. Push it, and it will go nowhere at all.
~ Dwight D. Eisenhower
Life is like a dogsled team. If you ain't the lead dog, the scenery never changes.
~ Lewis Grizzard
A leader is best when people barely know he exists, not so good when people obey and acclaim him, worse when they despise him. But of a good leader who talks little when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: We did it ourselves.
~ Lao-Tzu
It is a terrible thing to look over your shoulder when you are trying to lead -- and find no one there.
~ Franklin D. Roosevelt
What you cannot enforce, do not command.
~ Sophocles
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
A study at Cornell University's Johnson Graduate School of Management found that compassion and building teamwork will be two of the most important characteristics business leaders will need for success a decade from now.
~ Doc Childre and Bruce Cryer, From Chaos to Coherence

Self-security will be a hallmark of the leaders and exceptional organizations of the future. Self-security in an individual or a system brings a high ratio of coherence. Leaders or organizations with self-security can push power and authority downstream and develop centers of innovation and excellence at all levels of the organization.


~Doc Childre and Bruce Cryer, From Chaos to Coherence

Leaders grow; they are not made.


~ The Peter F. Drucker Foundation for Nonprofit Management, The Leader of the Future, (c) 1996

To work in the world lovingly means that we are defining what we will be for, rather than reacting to what we are against.


~ Christina Baldwin

The only test of leadership is that somebody follows.


~ Robert K. Greenleaf
Leadership is not so much about technique and methods as it is about opening the heart. Leadership is about inspiration—of oneself and of others. Great leadership is about human experiences, not processes. Leadership is not a formula or a program, it is a human activity that comes from the heart and considers the hearts of others. It is an attitude, not a routine.
~ Lance Secretan, Industry Week, 10/12/98

More than anything else today, followers believe they are part of a system, a process that lacks heart. If there is one thing a leader can do to connect with followers at a human, or better still a spiritual level, it is to become engaged with them fully, to share experiences and emotions, and to set aside the processes of leadership we have learned by rote.

Blessed is the leader who seeks the best for those he serves.
~ Unknown

Leadership is not magnetic personality—that can just as well be a glib tongue. It is not "making friends and influencing people"—that is flattery. Leadership is lifting a person's vision to higher sights, the raising of a person's performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations.


~ Peter F. Drucker

American philanthropic custom owes much to leadership by business and professional people.


~ Robert L. Payton

A leader is best when people barely know he exists, not so good when people obey and acclaim him, worse when they despise him....But of a good leader who talks little when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say, "We did it ourselves.


~ Lao Tzu

An army of a thousand is easy to find, but, ah, how difficult to find a general.


~ Chinese proverb

Be gentle and you can be bold; be frugal and you can be liberal; avoid putting yourself before others and you can become a leader among men.


~ Lao Tzu

Leadership is action, not position.


~ Donald H. McGannon

Leadership is getting people to work for you when they are not obligated.


~ Fred Smith

A real leader faces the music, even when he doesn't like the tune.


~ Anon

Leadership should be more participative than directive, more enabling than performing.


~ Mary D. Poole

Leadership should be born out of the understanding of the needs of those who would be affected by it.


~ Marian Anderson

The main characteristics of effective leadership are intelligence, integrity or loyalty, mystique, humor, discipline, courage, self sufficieny and confidence.


~ James L. Fisher

Leaders are the ones who keep faith with the past, keep step with the present, and keep the promise to posterity.


~ Harold J. Seymour

Effective leadership is not about making speeches or being liked; leadership is defined by results not attributes.


~ Peter Ferdinand Drucker

When the leadership is right and the time is right, the people can always be counted upon to follow—to the end and at all costs.


~ Harold J. Seymour

A true leader always keeps an element of surprise up his sleeve, which others cannot grasp but which keeps his public excited and breathless.


~ Charles deGaulle

A good leader inspires others with confidence in him; a great leader inspires them with confidence in themselves.


~ Unknown

A good leader can't get too far ahead of his followers.


~ Franklin D. Roosevelt

Forethought and prudence are the proper qualities of a leader.


~ Tacitus

Leadership is getting someone to do what they don't want to do, to achieve what they want to achieve.


~ Tom Landry

Leadership is much more an art, a belief, a condition of the heart, than a set of things to do. The visible signs of artful leadership are expressed, ultimately, in its practice.


~ Max DePree

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

Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.


~ John F. Kennedy

No organization is stronger than the quality of its leadership, or ever extends its constituency far beyond the degree to which its leadership is representative.


~ Edgar Powell

Leadership is the special quality which enables people to stand up and pull the rest of us over the horizon.


~ James L. Fisher

Leadership: the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.


~ Dwight D. Eisenhower

Good leaders develop through a never-ending process of self-study, education, training, and experience.


~ Manual on military leadership

He who cannot agree with his enemies is controlled by them.


~ Chinese proverb

Leadership is action, not position.


~ Donald H. McGannon

There are many elements to a campaign. Leadership is number one. Everything else is number two.


~ Bernd Brecher

A good leader is not the person who does things right, but the person who finds the right things to do.


~ Anthony T. Dadovano

I am more afraid of an army of 100 sheep led by a lion than an army of 100 lions led by a sheep.


~ Talleyrand

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

Great necessities call forth great leaders.


~ Abigail Adams

Leaders don't force people to follow—they invite them on a journey.


~ Charles S. Lauer

I start with the premise that the function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers.


~ Ralph Nader

Leadership has a harder job to do than just choose sides. It must bring sides together.


~ Jesse Jackson

~ Knute Rockne - Professional Football Coach

I have to get the most energy out of a man and have discovered that it cannot be done if he hates another man. Hate blocks his energy and he isn't up to par until he eliminates it and develops a friendly feeling...(towards all his teammates.)

The first step to leadership is servanthood.


~ John Maxwell

The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality

~Max DePree (The Art of Leadership)

You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing you think you cannot do.


- Eleanor Roosevelt

Leadership in today's world requires far more than a large stock of gunboats and a hard fist at the conference table.


- Hubert H. Humphrey

All of the great leaders have had one characteristic in common: it was the willingness to confront unequivocally the major anxiety of their people in their time. This, and not much else, is the essence of leadership.


- John Kenneth Galbraith, U.S. economist “The Age of Uncertainty”

The real leader has no need to lead - he is content to point the way.


- Henry Miller

It's amazing how many cares disappear when you decide not to be something, but to be someone.


- Coco Chanel

Most of the ladies and gentlemen who mourn the passing of the nation's leaders wouldn't know a leader if they saw one. If they had the bad luck to come across a leader, they would find out that he might demand something from them, and this impertinence would put an abrupt and indignant end to their wish for his return.


- Lewis H. Lapham
Leadership consists not in degrees of technique but in traits of character; it requires moral rather than athletic or intellectual effort, and it imposes on both leader and follower alike the burdens of self-restraint.
- Lewis H. Lapham

I am a leader by default, only because nature does not allow a vacuum.


- Bishop Desmond Tutu

If one is lucky, a solitary fantasy can totally transform one million realities.


- Maya Angelou

The final test of a leader is that he leaves behind him in other men the conviction and the will to carry on. . . . The genius of a good leader is to leave behind him a situation which common sense, without the grace of genius, can deal with successfully.


- Walter Lippmann

There is no such thing as a perfect leader either in the past or present, in China or elsewhere. If there is one, he is only pretending, like a pig inserting scallions into its nose in an effort to look like an elephant.


- Liu Shao-ch'i

If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun.


- Katharine Hepburn

E pluribus unum. (Out of many, one.)


- Motto for the Seal of the United States. Adopted 20 June 1782, recommended by John Adams, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, 10 Aug. 1776, and proposed by Swiss artist Pierre Eugene du Simitière. It had originally appeared on the title page of the Gentleman's Journal (Jan. 1692).

If we cannot end now our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity.


- John F. Kennedy (1917-63), U.S. Democratic politician, president. Speech, 10 June 1963, American University, Washington, D.C., on Russo-American relations.

In organizations, real power and energy is generated through relationships. The patterns of relationships and the capacities to form them are more important than tasks, functions, roles, and positions.


- Margaret Wheatly Leadership and the New Science

Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with the important matters.


- Albert Einstein

Life is change. Growth is optional. Choose wisely.


- Karen Kaiser Clark

The quality of leadership, more than any other single factor, determines the success or failure of an organization.


- Fred Fiedler & Martin Chemers Improving Leadership Effectiveness

Don't be afraid to take a big step when one is indicated. You can't cross a chasm in two small steps.


- David Loyd George

There is no contest between the company that buys the grudging compliance of its work force and the company that enjoys the enterprising participation of its employees

- Ricardo Sempler 

Excellence is not an accomplishment. It is a spirit, a never-ending process.


- Lawrence M. Miller

You will do foolish things, but do them with enthusiasm.


- Colette

The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you.


- Max DePree

When what you are doing isn't working, you tend to do more of the same and with greater intensity.


- Dr. Bill Maynard & Tom Champoux Heart, Soul and Spirit

Every organization must be prepared to abandon everything it does to survive in the future.


- Peter Drucker

A friend of mine characterizes leaders simply like this: "Leaders don't inflict pain. They bear pain."


- Max DePree

Ah well! I am their leader, I really ought to follow them!


- Alexandre Auguste Ledru-Rollin

Dictators ride to and fro upon tigers which they dare not dismount. And the tigers are getting hungry.


- Winston Churchill

A new leader has to be able to change an organization that is dreamless, soulless and visionless ... someone's got to make a wake up call.


- Warren Bennis

I used to think that running an organization was equivalent to conducting a symphony orchestra. But I don't think that's quite it; it's more like jazz. There is more improvisation.


- Warren Bennis

When the effective leader is finished with his work, the people say it happened naturally.


- Lao Tse

I start with the premise that the function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers


- Ralph Nader

Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity


- George Patton

To lead people, walk beside them ...


As for the best leaders, the people do not notice their existence.
The next best, the people honor and praise.
The next, the people fear;
and the next, the people hate ...
When the best leader's work is done the people say,
"We did it ourselves!"
- Lao-tsu

Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes... but no plans.


- Peter Drucker

Good plans shape good decisions. That's why good planning helps to make elusive dreams come true.-


Lester R. Bittel The Nine Master Keys of Management

Never mistake knowledge for wisdom. One helps you make a living; the other helps you make a life.


- Sandra Carey

Understanding human needs is half the job of meeting them.


- Adlai Stevenson

Leadership is understanding people and involving them to help you do a job. That takes all of the good characteristics, like integrity, dedication of purpose, selflessness, knowledge, skill, implacability, as well as determination not to accept failure.


- Admiral Arleigh A. Burke

Lead and inspire people. Don't try to manage and manipulate people. Inventories can be managed but people must be lead.


- Ross Perot

We must become the change we want to see.


- Mahatma Gandhi

Drowning in data, yet starved of information


- Ruth Stanat in The Intelligent Organization

A competent leader can get efficient service from poor troops, while on the contrary an incapable leader can demoralize the best of troops.


- General of the Armies John J. Pershing

The quality of a person's life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor.


- Vincent T. Lombardi

Where there is no vision, the people perish.


- Proverbs 29:18

I have lived some thirty years on this planet, and I yet to hear the first syllable of valuable or even earnest advice from my seniors.


- Henry David Thoreau

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


- Mother Theresa

An empowered organization is one in which individuals have the knowledge, skill, desire, and opportunity to personally succeed in a way that leads to collective organizational success.


- Stephen R. Covey, Principle-centered Leadership

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


- Abraham Lincoln

One can never consent to creep when one feels an impulse to soar.


- Helen Keller

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

The very essence of leadership is its purpose. And the purpose of leadership is to accomplish a task. That is what leadership does--and what it does is more important than what it is or how it works.


- Colonel Dandridge M. Malone

We know not where our dreams will take us, but we can probably see quite clearly where we'll go without them.


- Marilyn Grey

It is not a question of how well each process works, the question is how well they all work together.


- Lloyd Dobens and Clare Crawford-Mason Thinking About Quality

Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.


- Muriel Strode

The leader has to be practical and a realist, yet must talk the language of the visionary and the idealist.


- Eric Hoffer

In war, three quarters turns on personal character and relations; the balance of manpower and materials counts only for the remaining quarter.


- Napoleon I

To manage a system effectively, you might focus on the interactions of the parts rather than their behavior taken separately.


- Russell L. Ackoff

The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.


- Albert Einstein

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


- Walter J. Lippmann

Leadership should be born out of the understanding of the needs of those who would be affected by it.


- Marian Anderson

You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing that we call 'failure' is not the falling down, but the staying down.


- Mary Pickford

People are more easily led than driven.


- David Harold Fink

Leadership has a harder job to do than just choose sides. It must bring sides together.


- Jesse Jackson

What is character but the determination of incident? What is incident but the illustration of character?


- Henry James

The trouble is, if you don't risk anything, you risk even more.


- Erica Jong

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

The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality.


- Max DePree The Art of Leadership

Processes don't do work, people do.


- John Seely Brown

Leadership is practiced not so much in words as in attitude and in actions.


- Harold Geneen

The task of the leader is to get his people from where they are to where they have not been.


- Henry Kissinger

The quality of a leader is reflected in the standards they set for themselves.


- Ray Kroc, Founder of McDonald's

Jingshen is the Mandarin word for spirit and vivacity. It is an important word for those who would lead, because above all things, spirit and vivacity set effective organizations apart from those that will decline and die.


- James L. Hayes Memos for Management: Leadership

Uncertainty will always be part of the taking charge process.


- Harold Geneen

Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.


- Thomas Alva Edison

You can use all the quantitative data you can get, but you still have to distrust it and use your own intelligence and judgment.


- Alvin Toffler

Remember that it is far better to follow well than to lead indifferently.


- John G. Vance

The only real training for leadership is leadership.


- Anthony Jay

Quality has to be caused, not controlled.


- Philip Crosby Reflections on Quality

Probably my best quality as a coach is that I ask a lot of challenging questions and let the person come up with the answer.


- Phil Dixon

Don't be afraid of the space between your dreams and reality. If you can dream it you can make it so.


- Belva Davis

The future is taking shape now in our own beliefs and in the courage of our leaders. Ideas and leadership -- not natural or social 'forces' -- are the prime movers in human affairs.


- George Roche, A World Without Heroes

The art of leading, in operations large or small, is the art of dealing with humanity, of working diligently on behalf of men, of being sympathetic with them, but equally, of insisting that they make a square facing toward their own problems.


- S. L. A. Marshall Men Against Fire

And when we think we lead, we are most led.


- Lord Byron

Never hire or promote in your own image. It is foolish to replicate your strength and idiotic to replicate your weakness. It is essential to employ, trust, and reward those whose perspective, ability, and judgment are radically different from yours. It is also rare, for it requires uncommon humility, tolerance, and wisdom.


- Dee W. Hock, Fast Company

All serious daring starts from within.


- Eudora Welty

... As we, the leaders, deal with tomorrow, our task is not to try to make perfect plans.


...Our task is to create organizations that are sufficiently flexible and versatile that they can take our imperfect plans and make them work in execution. That is the essential character of the learning organization.
- Gordon R. Sullivan & Michael V. Harper

In matters of style, swim with the current;


In matters of principle, stand like a rock.
- T. Jefferson

If you think you can do a thing or that you cannot do a thing, in either case you are right.


- Henry Ford

When nothing is sure, everything is possible.


- Margaret Drabble

Think of managing change as an adventure. It tests your skills and abilities. It brings forth talent that may have been dormant. Change is also a training ground for leadership. When we think of leaders, we remember times of change, innovation and conflict. Leadership is often about shaping a new way of life. To do that, you must advance change, take risks and accept responsibility for making change happen.


- Charles E. Rice, CEO of Barnett Bank

Give us the tools, and we will finish the job.


- Winston Churchill

Not everything that is faced can be changed.


But nothing can be changed until it is faced.
- James Baldwin

dlai Stevenson: It's hard to lead a cavalry charge if you think you look funny on a horse.

Albert Einstein: Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocrities. The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence.

Carl Sagan: But the fact that some geniuses were laughed at does not imply that all who are laughed at are geniuses. They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown.

Dwight D. Eisenhower: You do not lead by hitting people over the head - that's assault, not leadership.

Edwin H. Friedman: Leadership can be thought of as a capacity to define oneself to others in a way that clarifies and expands a vision of the future.

Elizabeth Dole: What you always do before you make a decision is consult. The best public policy is made when you are listening to people who are going to be impacted. Then, once policy is determined, you call on them to help you sell it.

Eric Hoffer: In times of change, learners inherit the Earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.

Ernest Becker: It is not so much that man is a herd animal, said Freud, but that he is a horde animal led by a chief.

Faye Wattleton: The only safe ship in a storm is leadership.

Faye Wattleton: Whoever is providing leadership needs to be as fresh and thoughtful and reflective as possible to make the very best fight.

Henrik Ibsen: A community is like a ship; everyone ought to be prepared to take the helm.

Isaac Newton: If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the shoulder of giants.

James Callaghan: A leader must have the courage to act against an expert's advice.

James Kouzes and Barry Posner: There's nothing more demoralizing than a leader who can't clearly articulate why we're doing what we're doing.

James Kouzes and Barry Posner: You must unite your constituents around a common cause and connect with them as human beings.

Jesse Jackson: Time is neutral and does not change things. With courage and initiative, leaders change things.

John Gardner: Most important, leaders can conceive and articulate goals that lift people out of their petty preoccupations and unite them in pursuit of objectives worthy of their best efforts.

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

Kenneth Blanchard: The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority.

Margaret Chase Smith: Leadership is not manifested by coercion, even against the resented. Greatness is not manifested by unlimited pragmatism, which places such a high premium on the end justifying any means and any measures.

Noam Chomsky: It is the responsibility of intellectuals to speak the truth and expose lies.

Peter Drucker: The leaders who work most effectively, it seems to me, never say "I." And that's not because they have trained themselves not to say "I." They don't think "I." They think "we"; they think "team." They understand their job to be to make the team function. They accept responsibility and don't sidestep it, but "we" gets the credit…. This is what creates trust, what enables you to get the task done.

Peter F. Drucker: Leaders shouldn't attach moral significance to their ideas: Do that, and you can't compromise.

Peter Senge: Systems thinking is a discipline for seeing wholes. It is a framework for seeing interrelationships rather than things, for seeing patterns of change rather than static "snapshots." It is a set of general principles -- distilled over the course of the twentieth century, spanning fields as diverse as the physical and social sciences, engineering, and management.... During the last thirty years, these tools have been applied to understand a wide range of corporate, urban, regional, economic, political, ecological, and even psychological systems. And systems thinking is a sensibility -- for the subtle interconnectedness that gives living systems their unique character.

Ralph Nader: I start with the premise that the function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers.

Robert Coles: Abraham Lincoln did not go to Gettysburg having commissioned a poll to find out what would sell in Gettysburg. There were no people with percentages for him, cautioning him about this group or that group or what they found in exit polls a year earlier. When will we have the courage of Lincoln?

Robert Greenleaf: Good leaders must first become good servants.

Robert Louis Stevenson: Keep your fears to yourself, but share your inspiration with others.

Rosabeth Moss Kantor: Leaders are more powerful role models when they learn than when they teach.

Rosalynn Carter: 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.

Susan B. Anthony: Cautious, careful people, always casting about to preserve their reputation and social standing, never can bring about a reform. Those who are really in earnest must be willing to be anything or nothing in the world's estimation, and publicly and privately, in season and out, avow their sympathy with despised and persecuted ideas and their advocates, and bear the consequences.

Theodore Hesburgh: The very essence of leadership is that you have to have a vision.

Tom Peters: If you're not confused, you're not paying attention.

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

Vince Lombardi: Leaders aren't born they are made. And they are made just like anything else, through hard work. And that's the price we'll have to pay to achieve that goal, or any goal.

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

Warren Bennis: The manager asks how and when; the leader asks what and why.

Warren G. Bennis: The most dangerous leadership myth is that leaders are born -- that there is a genetic factor to leadership. This myth asserts that people simply either have certain charismatic qualities or not. That's nonsense; in fact, the opposite is true. Leaders are made rather than born.

Winston Churchill: The price of greatness is responsibility





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