Categories
Self-Improvement

Top 100 Leadership Quotes on Leadership qualities to Inspire You

Why quotes?

Words are powerful. You express yourself through them.

Express what? Feelings, emotions, thoughts?  

Yeah! But where do words get the power they have?

Is it the vocabulary or the combination of letters that form words, that give them the strength they have?

Nah, there’s something more.

You read words that express something, and call them scrap. Then you read some other words, take a print out and pin it on your desk to read them every day.

Why?

It’s the experiences that words bring with them that inspire you.

Quotes are a summary of experiences. When you read a quote, you get an overview of the actions great people have taken in a difficult situation; or, they suggest the steps you should take to become great. That’s why you feel motivated by reading quotes.

Why leadership quotes?

As a leader, you are bound to have ups and downs. What if you are feeling low and need a source of inspiration for yourself? Leadership quotes can give you the motivation to fight back when you are down. They can help you remind the basics, as well as expose you to new learning.  

Leadership quotes have the power to bridge the gap between where you currently stand as a leader and where you want to be. They give you the path followed by successful leaders, and help you know the qualities exhibited by them.

If you still aren’t getting it right, you may not be applying the essential qualities of a great leader. Hence, I have divided the following 100 inspirational quotes based on these qualities. You can use these quotes to brainstorm and enhance your leadership potential with a new energy.

Leadership quotes on Empathy

“Leadership is about empathy. It is about having the ability to relate to and connect with people for the purpose of inspiring and empowering their lives.” – Oprah Winfrey

“Empathy is about being concerned about the human being and not just about their output.” – Simon Sinek

“When you show deep empathy toward others, their defensive energy goes down, and positive energy replaces it. That’s when you can get more creative in solving problems.” – Stephen Covey

“As a leader, you should always start with where people are before you try to take them where you want them to go.” –  Jim Rohn

“The only way to change someone’s mind is to connect with them from the heart.” – Rasheed Ogunlaru

“In a high-IQ job pool, soft skills like discipline, drive, and empathy mark those who emerge as outstanding.” – Daniel Goleman

“Empathy is seeing with the eyes of another, listening with the ears of another and feeling with the heart of another.” – Alfred Adler

“There are two sides to every issue.” – Ayn Rand

“I believe empathy is the most essential quality of civilization.”– Roger Ebert

Leadership quotes on Communication

“Ninety percent of leadership is the ability to communicate something people want.”  – Dianne Feinstein

“Leadership is a way of thinking, a way of acting and, most importantly, a way of communicating.” – Simon Sinek

“Developing excellent communication skills is absolutely essential to effective leadership. The leader must be able to share knowledge and ideas to transmit a sense of urgency and enthusiasm to others. If a leader can’t get a message across clearly and motivate others to act on it, then having a message doesn’t even matter.” – Gilbert Amelio

“The art of communication is the language of leadership” – James Humes

“Regardless of the changes in technology, the market for well-crafted messages will always have an audience.” – Steve Burnett

“Leaders who make it a practice to draw out the thoughts and ideas of their subordinates and who are receptive even to bad news will be properly informed. Communicate downward to subordinates with at least the same care and attention as you communicate upward to superiors.” –  L. B. Belker

“You can have brilliant ideas, but if you can’t get them across, your ideas won’t get you anywhere.” –  Lee Iacocca

“Frown on lapses of information. When people admit that they didn’t keep you informed, let them know that you don’t want this kind of protection. A couple of strong reactions by the manager, and a subordinate learns to make sure the boss gets the word—all of it.” – Thomas L. Quick

“Precision of communication is important, more important than ever, in our era of hair trigger balances, when a false or misunderstood word may create as much disaster as a sudden thoughtless act.” – James Thurber

Leadership quotes on Resilience and Decisiveness

“‎Hold yourself responsible for a higher standard than anybody else expects of you. Never excuse yourself. Never pity yourself. Be a hard master to yourself-and be lenient to everybody else.” – Henry Ward Beecher

“The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” – Nelson Mandela

“It’s fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.” – Bill Gates

“You don’t learn to walk by following the rules. You learn by doing, and by falling over.” – Richard Branson

“One of the tests of leadership is the ability to recognize a problem before it becomes an emergency.” – Arnold H. Glasgow, American Psychologist

“Leaders make the right decisions, even when those decisions are unpopular” – Anonymous

“Inability to make decisions is one of the principal reasons executives fail. Deficiency in decision-making ranks much higher than the lack of specific knowledge or technical know-how as an indicator of leadership failure.” – John C. Maxwell

“Before you make a leadership decision, put yourself in the other person’s position.” – Billy Cox

Leadership quotes on Integrity

“It is true that integrity alone won’t make you a leader, but without integrity you will never be one.”  – Zig Ziglar

“Integrity is the most valuable and respected quality of leadership. Always keep your word.” — Brian Tracy

“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

“In looking for people to hire, look for three qualities: integrity, intelligence, and energy. And if they don’t have the first, the other two will kill you.” — Warren Buffett

“Integrity is crucial for business success – once you can fake that, you’ve got it made.” – Henry Ford

“If you believe in unlimited quality and act in all your business dealings with total integrity, the rest will take care of itself.” – Frank Perdue

“If ethics are poor at the top, that behavior is copied down the organization.” – Robert Noyce

“If you have integrity, nothing else matters. If you don’t have integrity, nothing else matters.” – Alan K. Simpson

“Real integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody’s going to know whether you did it or not.” – Oprah Winfrey

Leadership quotes on enthusiasm

“Enthusiasm is the mother of effort, and without it nothing great was ever achieved.”  – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“There is a real magic in enthusiasm. It spells the difference between mediocrity and accomplishment.” – Norman Vincent Peale

“No person who is enthusiastic about his work has anything to fear from life.” – Samuel Goldwyn

“Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“The real secret of success is enthusiasm.” – Walter Chrysler

“Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill

“If you don’t feel enthusiasm for the work you are doing, then you probably should be doing something else as enthusiasm is a key to success. “ – Catherine Pulsifer

“Your enthusiasm will inspire others to move forward with actions that bring rewarding achievements.” – Steve Brunkhorst

“If you act enthusiastic, you become enthusiastic – and it spreads like wildfire!”  – Mary Kay Ash

Leadership quotes on Vision

“A leader has the vision and conviction that a dream can be achieved. He inspires the power and energy to get it done.”  – Ralph Lauren

“A leader’s role is to raise people’s aspirations for what they can become and to release their energies so they will try to get there.” – David Gergen

“The very essence of leadership is [that] you have a vision. It’s got to be a vision you articulate clearly and forcefully on every occasion. You can’t blow an uncertain trumpet.” – Theodore Hesburgh

“To grasp and hold a vision, that is the very essence of successful leadership—not only on the movie set where I learned it, but everywhere.” – Ronald Reagan

“Leadership is all about vision and responsibility, not power.” – Seth Berkley

“Where there is no vision, there is no hope.”  – George Washington Carver

“Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.” – Warren Bennis

“Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion.” – Jack Welch

“Management has a lot to do with answers. Leadership is a function of questions. And the first question for a leader always is: ‘Who do we intend to be?’ Not ‘What are we going to do?’ but ‘Who do we intend to be?’ – Max DePree

Leadership quotes on Creativity

“A business has to be evolving, it has to be fun, and it has to exercise your creative instincts.”  – Richard Branson

“The secret of success in business is creativity.” – Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

“Innovation and creativity are the juiciest parts of running a business.” – Barbara Corcoran

“The role of a creative leader is not to have all the ideas; it’s to create a culture where everyone can have ideas and feel that they’re valued.” – Ken Robinson

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

“Good leadership can help creative people stay on the path to excellence no matter what business they are in.” – Ed Catmull

“For success of any mission, it is necessary to have creative leadership. Creative leadership is vital for government, non-governmental organizations as well as for industries.”  – APJ Abdul Kalam

“Creative leaders inherently know when rules need to be challenged, and they can see when a more flexible approach should be taken.” – John C. Maxwell

“Creativity is just connecting things.” – Steve Jobs

Leadership quotes on Charisma


“Being charismatic doesn’t make you a leader. Being a leader makes you charismatic.” – Seth Godin

“Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence and making sugar your presence lasts in your absence.” – Sheryl Sandberg, COO Facebook

“In order to have a charismatic leader, you have to have a charismatic program. Because if you have a charismatic program, then if you can read you can lead. When the leader gets killed while you’re reading from page 13 of your charismatic program, you can bury the man with honors, then continue the plan by reading from page 14. Let’s keep on.” – John Henrik Clarke

“If you have a charismatic cause you don’t need to be charismatic leader.” -James C. Collins

“When you put deep knowledge about a subject that intensely matters to you, charisma happens. You gain courage to share your passion, and when you do that, folks follow.” – Jerry I Porras

“Charisma is a sparkle in people that money can’t buy. It’s an invisible energy with visible effects.”  – Marianne Williamson

“Charisma knows only inner determination and inner restraint. The charismatic leader gains and maintains authority solely by proving his strength in life.” – Max Weber

“Charisma is the intangible that makes people want to follow you, to be around you, to be influenced by you.” – Roger Dawson

Leadership quotes on Empowerment

“Leadership is about empowering others to achieve things they did not think possible.” – Simon Sinek

“Leadership is not about control but service. It’s not about power but empowerment.” – Myles Munroe

“Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.” – Jack Welch

“Leaders instill in their people a hope for success and a belief in themselves. Positive leaders empower people to accomplish their goals.” -Unknown

“As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others.” – Bill Gates

“Leadership is the ability to guide others without force into a direction or decision that leaves them still feeling empowered and accomplished.” – Lisa Cash Hanson

“Great leaders harness personal courage, capture the hearts and minds of others and empower new leaders to make the world a better place.” – Maxine Driscoll

“People want guidance, not rhetoric. They need to know what the plan of action is and how it will be implemented. They want to be given responsibility to help solve the problem and the authority to act on it.” – Howard Schultz, Starbucks

“My job as a leader is to make sure that everybody in the company has great opportunities and that they feel they’re having meaningful impact to the good of the society. – Larry Page, Google

Leadership quotes on Competence

“I never dreamed about success. I worked for it.” – Estee Lauder

“Building a business and becoming a billionaire is it’s not championship. It’s the competence; the competence in your sector with other companies not looking to have some kind of records in this issue”. – Carlos Slim

“Trust is equal parts character and competence. You can look at any leadership failure, and it’s always the failure of one or the other.” – Stephen Convey

“The test of true competence is the end result.” – L. Ron Hubbard

“Leadership is solving problems. The day soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help or concluded you do not care.” – Colin Powell, former U.S. Secretary of State.

“When your confidence goes up, your competence goes up at the same time.”- Zig Ziglar.

“A competent leader can get efficient service from poor troops, while on the contrary an incapable leader can demoralize the best of troops.” – General John J. Pershing

“The moment a leader stays away from his core competencies, his effectiveness as a leader diminishes.” – Andy Stanley

“Success demands a high level of logistical and organizational competence.” – George S. Patton

Final thoughts:

The above quotes can be a great source of strength for you to develop leadership qualities. However, you need to apply these in your day-to-day work to achieve success.

Reading and getting inspired by them is just half work done. The next step is to practice these quotes and achieve your leadership potential. Remember-

“Words without actions are like a bird without wings; they remain wherever they are.”

Categories
Self-Improvement

Your Ultimate Guide to Servant Leadership

The other day, our team received a congratulatory email from Dave, our manager, for completing a crucial project. A little later, John, who had worked on tough assignments for the project, thanked Dave for praising his efforts. He was delighted for not being forgotten, even after a couple of months of leaving the organization.

I was pleasantly surprised to know that my leader carried his relationship with his employees with such grace.

Dave was a true servant leader. He was genuinely interested in the welfare of his employees, often inquired about our well being, and ensured we reach our career objectives, even if this means we may move on. With his serving attitude, he always got the best out of us.

Let’s discuss the servant leadership style to know how leaders like Dave operate and bring success to an organization.

What is servant leadership?

Leadership, for some people, is all about enforcing power. Whatever the issue, they believe sheer strength and brute force can solve it.

These leaders stay at the top in an organization to accumulate power and follow the traditional leadership pyramid model, as explained in the following figure.

As can be seen, the leader is right at the top in such a model, followed by employees, customers, and investors.

Servant leaders, on the other hand, have a serve-first attitude. These leaders help people develop and perform to the best of their abilities. They achieve this by putting the needs of others first. Unlike traditional leaders, they do not try and accumulate power. On the contrary, they share it with other people.

 As a result, they turn the traditional leadership model completely upside down. This model puts leaders at the bottom of the hierarchy and others, i.e., employees, customers, and investors at the top. Here is what the servant leadership model looks like:

Although servant leadership is a universal concept, it was Robert K. Greenleaf, who coined the term in his essay that he published in 1970.

According to him, servant leadership starts with the natural feeling that one wants to serve first; then, conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. And finally, the best test of servant leadership style is to check if those whom you serve grow as an individual.

To understand servant leadership better, let’s have a look at the attributes of a servant leader.

The characteristics of a servant leader

According to Larry C. Spears, President, and CEO at the Greenleaf Center for Servant-Leadership, Regent University, there are ten basic characteristics of servant-leader

Let’s discuss them one by one.

Listening:

As a servant leader, you follow two-way communication. You not only communicate by saying, but by listening to others as well. When you listen, you can find out the areas of concern, and also the suggestions that can help with better results.

Listening ability also allows you to understand the desires and aspirations of the people around you. As a result, you are able to make better decisions in the interest of your team.

Empathy:

You need to be able to connect to people and understand their feelings to be a servant-leader. When you can relate to the circumstances of others, you can handle them better. Empathy also helps you understand the challenges faced by the stakeholders in your business.

Worried that people may not reciprocate? Here’s why they will:

You genuinely care for people and try and solve their problems by being empathetic. As a result, people endorse and support your ideas and align themselves to attain the objectives you set.

Healing:

Everyone, including you, goes through rough patches. However, you are expected to deliver accurate results all the time. Hence, you need to have the power to repair the damage caused by poor performances. To achieve this, traditional leaders rely on punishments and penalties.

However, as a servant-leader, you lift the spirits of employees. You understand that a poor show is no one’s choice, and instead of pressurizing, you start healing.

And then, magic happens!

Like therapy relieves the pain of wounds; similarly, healing amends the emotional state of people. As a result, they work with greater zeal and enthusiasm to achieve desired goals.

Awareness:

You need to be aware of yourself and the needs of others to be a servant-leader. When you are self-aware you gain clarity on the issues of ethics and values. You also gain an understanding of how these apply to the situation you are in.

Awareness of others’ needs gives you a holistic view. In case of a problem, you can examine all aspects before you attempt to solve it.  

Persuasion:

“Persuasion can take many forms, but the result is still the same – a willing partnership designed to accomplish a shared vision of purpose”  – Dr. Ed Rough in Leadership is Persuasion).

As a servant-leader, you convince people, rather than coerce them, to follow a particular path. You use persuasion, not your authority, to motivate people to take action. You do not dominate people and throw orders at them, but inspire and build trust. You arrive at decisions with consensus.

Conceptualization:

As a servant-leader, you need to hit the balance between the vision of your organization and the day-to-day operations. Traditional leaders are fixated only on immediate goals; however, you need to shift focus to involve the bigger picture to use the power of conceptualization.

Find it hard to implement? Here’s a quick tip:

You need to think beyond numbers and the operational grinds of the tasks in hand. This can involve helping your team with tools and training that they’ll use not only immediately, but also in the longer run.

Foresight:

To be a servant-leader, you should have the capacity to predict the results of your decisions before you make them. Foresight is your ability to learn lessons from your past and take steps in the present that prevents undesired outcomes for the future.

The skill of having foresight has a lot to do with your intuitive mind. However, remember that intuition is a mix of experience and common sense.

Have a look at this video to understand how foresight helps Jeff Cohen, CMO Seller Labs, develop better customer products & solutions.

Stewardship:

Peter Block, the author of Stewardship, defines a steward as ‘someone who holds something in trust for another.’

As a servant-leader, you need to get out of the ‘hit the targets at any cost’ mentality and adapt to a steward’s mentality, i.e., you need to think beyond personal achievements and rewards for the bigger cause.

How do you go about bringing this change in your attitude? Here’s a suggestion:

Make sure every decision you take has something for your employees, customers, investors, and all stakeholders; they should prosper with the service you offer. Do not take decisions that benefit only yourself.

Commitment to the growth of others:

If you want to hit the sweet spot in your journey as a servant-leader, THIS IS IT – you need to get passionately involved in the growth of other people. You should not keep the best opportunities for yourself, allow others to grab them too.

Remember, the most important resource that you work with is people. You need to overcome the fear that they will move on or outshine you. Instead, practice commitment for their growth- take suggestions before making decisions, give them training opportunities for growth, promote them for better roles.

Building a Community:

To be a servant-leader, you need to understand the importance of communities in shaping humans; the way they positively influence lives. Hence, you have to build a community within your organization.  

Build a community! Do you think it will have no impact on your company? Not really, it can actually change the fortunes of your business. Here’s how:

Your employees can easily feel detached and focus on individual goals. When you inspire them to take the goals of others and organization into account, you form a community. As a result, genuine lasting bonds develop.

Now, you are aware of the characteristics of a servant-leader. The next step is to apply these to your business. The following are a few methods you can use.

How to apply servant leadership in your organization?

Do you believe the servant leadership model will work best only in non-profit organizations or humanitarian institutes? Think again!

According to a study by Roger William University, servant leadership is effective in a competitive, for-profit, service organization.

Following are a few practical methods you can use to develop servant leadership in your company :

Change the mindset :

You cannot apply servant leadership unless you have the right mindset. You need to have a ‘serve-first’ attitude rather than ‘lead-first’ to be a servant-leader.

You serve your staff, which in turn serves and benefits your organization. Need an example to understand better?

Southwest airlines’ leadership is a classic case of the servant-leadership model. Founder Herb Kelleher’s philosophy of putting employees first, helped Southwest create employee-friendly policies.

The outcome?

A highly engaged workforce with low turnover resulted in 35 plus consecutive years of profit – quite a feat – in the turbulent airline industry.

How do you build a people-first mindset in your organization? Following are a few tips:

  • Develop a cultural department that evolves the policy of ‘everyone matters.’  This department can form committees to solve employee and client issues.
  • Arrange for regular one-to-one private counseling sessions with your employees. Such forums encourage open discussions and help in identifying their needs.
  • Appreciate people for their work and commitment through monetary benefits. Make sure awards and appreciation recognize every piece of great work.
  • Celebrate anniversaries of clients, investors and stakeholders, and birthdays of employees. Organize family gatherings of your staff. Such events help in building a healthy workplace environment.

Ensure availability of resources:

You need to make sure that everyone has the tools and knowledge they need to meet their objectives. Without the necessary resources, your team will not be able to complete their assignments efficiently and accurately. You have to identify the challenges and roadblocks your employees are facing.

Wondering how are you going to find out the areas where people need assistance? Here are a couple of methods that can be useful :

As a servant-leader, you need to figure out ways to help people open up on the issues they are facing. One-on-one meetings are a great tool to let your team have an open discussion on the bottlenecks. Such meetings are also useful in resolving conflicts and interpersonal issues.

Traditional leaders, at times, expect one employee to do the work of two. However, to be a servant-leader, you need to hit the ‘appropriate workload balance’ culture in your organization. Include a new team member if there are tight deadlines, and employees are finding it hard to meet them.

While it’s important to be there for your employees, hit the right balance between providing them the essential resources, and making them think about solutions themselves.

If you are always there to help your employees, some of them may stop solving problems on their own. Hence, don’t avoid making tough decisions or giving negative feedback when this is needed.

Offer opportunities for personal development :

You need to take care of your employees beyond their jobs to be a successful servant-leader. If you restrict yourself only to the professional aspects, your staff is bound to work only for personal goals. However, if you provide opportunities for personal growth, they will align themselves with organizational objectives.

How can you help employees in their personal development?

Having a learning and development support department exhibits career growth assistance for your employees. You can include mentoring programs, training sessions, guest speakers, and external certifications as support functions in this department. This upskills your employees and upgrades your company to the latest requirements of businesses.

Do not restrict yourself to just work-related offerings as opportunities for personal development. How about running a program to lose weight? Or a policy on providing interest-free loans to your employees for personal needs?

These, and many such employee-centric policies, may not meet any immediate corporate needs, but leads to higher employee engagement and trust, and fosters stronger relationships with team members and other stakeholders.

A healthy work environment, built by an authentic interest in the personal development of employees, can upscale customer satisfaction levels as well. As a result, service ratings and customer loyalty increases, which can improve the credibility of your organization’s brand.

Final thoughts:

With a lot of successful stories of servant leadership in the corporate set-up, there is no reason why you cannot apply it in your organization.

However, make sure you analyze your situation before you apply the servant leadership model. For instance, consider applying servant-leadership alongside styles like transformational leadership, where you develop an inspiring vision of the future and motivate people to deliver it.

Also, keep in mind that servant leadership requires time to achieve positive results. Hence, if your organization is going through a financial crisis or there are other reasons why you need a quick turnaround, this leadership style should not be used. You need to be swift and decisive in such a case.

No matter what goals you have, as a leader, you need to consider servant-leadership as a compelling option for delivering results.

How are you going to apply servant leadership in your organization? Have you exhibited any of the servant leadership qualities in your business? Let us know in the comments below.