Leadership Quotes To Help You Become A Better Leader

by | Apr 28, 2021 | Leadership

I put it to you, Dear Reader, that we all need quotes to live by.
Leadership quotes are reminders of great truths. They can be like a set of guides, mentors, consultants, that help us navigate life and dealing with other human beings.
(I know I’m a coach and my profession is all about dealing with other human beings, but man for the longest time I found that the most difficult thing in the world).

Here are some leadership quotes to live by that I came across recently, and they speak to me and help me figure out what to do in life and leadership – and with other human beings. Perhaps they will speak to you too.

We rise by lifting others – Robert Ingersoll

This quote tells you exactly how a leader actually becomes a leader: we rise by lifting others. Leaders are the ones who are looking not just at “what do I need?” but they mostly look at “what do these people around me need?”. And then they work on addressing those needs. That’s why they get noticed as having “leadership potential”.

It’s not a solo effort.

Life is understood backwards but lived forwards – Soren Kiekergaard

This quote settles me. It reminds me that I do not need to understand and know everything now. It’s also how I do my most successful things: take action going forwards, understand it afterwards (i.e. don’t over think it – that was a hard habit to break).

This leadership quote makes me consider the wisdom we have in childhood, although wisdom might not be the right word. Let me use learning to walk as an example.
Toddlers innately do the most effective thing:

  1. Watch others
  2. Try stuff
  3. Learn from it, keep on trying until they succeed.

Yet as adults we have often forgotten that his is how we learn. No toddler has ever been seen muttering “you fool, you’re too stupid, you can’t do this” while learning to walk.
So perhaps there is a complementary quote out there that captures this innate wisdom from childhood? Maybe that’s what inspired Nike.

People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel. – Maya Angelou.

What I love about this quote is it reminds me about the fundamental truth about human beings: above all else we FEEL. So any leadership style or behaviour that excludes feelings isn’t actually leadership, because leadership is a human thing. Let’s put it this way, who wants to be remember as that uncaring arsehole (who hit all the targets)? Who’s even going to remember that you hit all the targets?

Opportunities multiply as they are seized – Sun Tzu.

I get an image of a rapidly growing spiderweb of options springing up each time we seize an opportunity.
It makes me think that we don’t need to wait for the perfect opportunity, and we don’t nee to wait for lots of them before we start. Pick a decent one, seize it, and more will follow.
This one also gets me into action – and taps in to providence moving to help those who claim what they want.

Be strong enough to stand alone, smart enough to know when you need help, and brave enough to ask for it – Ziad K. Abdelnour

What I like about this quote is that it integrates two seemingly conflicting concepts that managers face: independence and asking for help.
But being a leader, a manager, a human, it’s not a binary system. It’s an integrated and complex system. And this short leadership quote captures the heart of the systems integration: strength, smarts, bravery all working together.

What’s a leadership quote you love that helped you to be a better leader?

“What’s a leadership series? How’s it different to the thought series or coaching tips? Good questions. “ This series gives you tips to take your own leadership to the next level, and ways you can extend your own capabilities. Ready to take your skills to the next level, but aren’t sure where to start? Get in touch with me.

Want to be first in the know?

Sign up here to receive the latest blog posts straight to your inbox