Picture a leader in your mind. What qualities come to mind? Someone charismatic? Someone fearless? Someone who tells others what to do? If these are the type of people who come to mind, then it’s time to reassess who you’re following.

True leaders are self-aware, courageous, good communicators, and perhaps most importantly they care about, motivate, and inspire others to lead.

Self-awareness and humility. A leader who recognizes their personal strengths and weaknesses is much better than a self-proclaimed leader who feels they’re always right. Having humility and the grace to admit fault are essential qualities of a true leader.

Courageous. Leaders can’t just go with the crowd, they need to stand up for what is right. They need to deal with conflicts and be able to act with integrity.

Good communicators. Whether using synchronous or asynchronous communication leaders need to know how to express their goals, be empathetic, and motivate their team.

The most defining characteristic of a true leader is that they inspire others to be leaders, to stand for their principles, and to care for others.

Here is a collection of inspiring leadership quotes put together for current leaders and those who aspire to lead.


Quotes About Leadership and How To Be a Good Leader


Bill Bradley

“Leadership is unlocking people’s potential to become better.”

– Bill Bradley

Bill Bradley on Leadership Quotes

Bill Bradley’s quote encapsulates the essence of leadership as a catalyst for personal growth and development. It emphasizes the role of leaders in empowering individuals to reach their full potential by providing guidance, support, and opportunities for advancement.


Ralph Nader

“The function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers.”

– Ralph Nader

Ralph Nader on Leadership Quotes

Ralph Nader’s quote succinctly encapsulates the essence of true leadership: fostering an environment where individuals are empowered to cultivate their own leadership qualities rather than simply following directives. It emphasizes the importance of nurturing and developing the potential of others, thereby creating a ripple effect of capable leaders who can contribute to positive change and progress in society.


Douglas MacArthur

“A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. He does not set out to be a leader, but becomes one by the equality of his actions and the integrity of his intent.”

– Douglas MacArthur

Douglas MacArthur on Leadership Quotes

Douglas MacArthur’s quote highlights the multifaceted qualities of genuine leadership: the ability to stand firm in one’s convictions, the bravery to navigate difficult choices, and the empathy to understand and address the concerns of others. It emphasizes that authentic leadership emerges not from a desire for power, but from the consistent demonstration of honorable conduct and principled intentions.


Peter F. Drucker

“Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.”

– Peter F. Drucker

Peter F. Drucker on Leadership Quotes

Peter F. Drucker’s quote succinctly differentiates between management and leadership, illustrating that while management focuses on efficiency and effectiveness in executing tasks correctly, leadership centers on discerning and prioritizing the most impactful actions aligned with the organization’s goals and values. It emphasizes the importance of strategic vision and decision-making in leadership, beyond mere operational execution.



“Wise leaders generally have wise counselors because it takes a wise person themselves to distinguish them.”

– Diogenes

Diogenes on Leadership Quotes

Diogenes’ quote underscores the significance of wise counsel in leadership, highlighting that discerning and seeking advice from knowledgeable individuals reflects the wisdom of the leader. It emphasizes the notion that wise leaders surround themselves with insightful advisors, recognizing the importance of diverse perspectives in making sound decisions and navigating complexities effectively.


Vince Lombardi

“Praise in public, criticize in private.”

– Vince Lombardi

Vince Lombardi on Leadership Quotes

Vince Lombardi’s quote encapsulates a fundamental principle of effective leadership and interpersonal communication. It emphasizes the importance of offering praise openly to acknowledge and motivate individuals, while addressing criticism privately to maintain dignity and respect. This approach fosters a positive and supportive environment, encouraging growth and improvement without diminishing morale or undermining confidence.


Theodore Roosevelt

“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

Theodore Roosevelt on Leadership Quotes

Theodore Roosevelt’s quote encapsulates a key aspect of effective leadership: the ability to delegate tasks to capable individuals and trust in their abilities to accomplish them without micromanagement. It underscores the importance of selecting competent team members and allowing them the autonomy to fulfill their responsibilities. This approach fosters a culture of empowerment and productivity, enabling both the leader and the team to achieve success collaboratively.


Robert Louis Stevenson

“Keep your fears to yourself, but share your courage with others.”

– Robert Louis Stevenson

Robert Louis Stevenson on Leadership Quotes

Robert Louis Stevenson’s quote encapsulates the essence of leadership and support. It suggests that while it’s natural to experience fear, especially in challenging situations, true leadership lies in not burdening others with those fears. Instead, leaders should inspire and uplift others by sharing their courage, strength, and optimism. This approach fosters resilience and unity, enabling individuals to face obstacles with determination and confidence.


Ronald Reagan

“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

Ronald Reagan on Leadership Quotes

Ronald Reagan’s quote captures the essence of effective leadership by highlighting the importance of empowering and inspiring others. It suggests that true leadership isn’t defined by individual achievements, but rather by the ability to motivate and guide people to accomplish extraordinary feats together. This perspective emphasizes the leader’s role in fostering collaboration, trust, and shared purpose, ultimately leading to collective success and fulfillment.


Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“Treat people as if they were what they ought to be, and you help them become what they are capable of being.”

– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Goethe on Leadership Quotes

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s quote encapsulates the transformative power of positive regard and encouragement. It suggests that by recognizing and nurturing the potential within others, we can inspire them to fulfill that potential and become their best selves. This approach emphasizes the importance of fostering a supportive environment where individuals feel valued and empowered to grow, ultimately leading to personal development and achievement.


Andrew Carnegie

“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

Andrew Carnegie on Leadership Quotes

Andrew Carnegie’s quote underscores the essence of effective leadership: the willingness to delegate, collaborate, and share credit. It suggests that true leadership isn’t about personal glory or individual achievements but rather about empowering others and fostering a collective sense of accomplishment. This perspective emphasizes the importance of humility, teamwork, and recognition of the contributions of others in achieving common goals.