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.


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.”


5 ways to Develop Essential Leadership Skills

In today’s fast-paced work environment, you need many competencies to be an effective leader. The current times are extremely competitive, and you always need to be at the top of your game to deliver results.

The good news is, some fundamental skill sets drive your ability to lead. These basics of leadership like communication, people management, and strategy building, are the framework of your management proficiency.

Once you acquire these skills, it’s about continually applying, reskilling, and upskilling them to fit your business scenarios. In this article, we will discuss how you can improve your leadership skills to get the desired results.

However, let’s first understand the basic building blocks of leadership skills.

What are the primary leadership skills?

According to a study by career builder, 26% of managers said they were not ready to lead when they began managing others. Also, 58% said they didn’t receive any training.

Why are such a large number of managers not in sync with organizational expectations?

Many of them may possess the essential leadership qualities. However, they may not have applied the required leadership skills to be successful.

I’m sure you don’t want to be one amongst them. Isn’t it?

So, how can you be ready for the challenges that you may face as a leader? The first step is to be aware of the necessary skills, and the next is to execute them. Let’s discuss the skills first.

You need to focus on two types of skill sets to cultivate effective leadership.

The first ones are related to knowledge in your niche and expertise. These can include your competencies in strategy, planning, and delivery of your organizational objectives.

The second set is your soft skills. These are your personality traits related to your ability to interact and communicate with people.

Strategic thinking:

You need to develop strategies to achieve your organizational goals. If you have clearly defined targets of turnover, profit, and headcount, you get a good idea of where you are heading. However, you need to develop strategies to get the required results.

Strategy building is not simply about following numbers to get outcomes. It is about analyzing complex problems and devising methods to solve them.

How will you design your approach?

You need to gather information from a variety of sources: market intelligence reports, customer feedback, latest technology updates, among others.

Then, you need to analyze the data to know your market and customers. And finally, prepare a strategy to target these areas: you may have to design new projects or upgrade older ones to meet client requirements.

Planning and execution:

Once you have designed strategy, you need to back it up with planning and execution.

You need project management skills like ‘scheduling’ and ‘cost management’ to plan out things. You will need to identify the budget of your projects and the time by which they have to be delivered. Also, you need to plan the number of resources you will need to complete the projects.

You also need to have a risk management plan in place to focus on the weak links in your projects that can prevent timely delivery.

You now have strategies and plans ready to process as per the expectations of the market. What’s next?

You will need to execute your plan with your organizing skills to complete projects on time. You need to develop decision-making and problem-solving skills.

When your plan is getting executed, you need to solve complex issues and make swift decisions. You may also have to quickly go back and make changes in your plan to attain delivery objectives.

People management:

What is the most important resource in your organization?

It’s the people. You can have the best strategy and planning for your organization’s vision. However, it will not suffice until you have employees that align themselves with your goals. Hence, you need people management skills as a leader.

You need to motivate people to achieve organizational objectives. This will require persuasion and influential skills.

How do you influence others?

You will need emotional intelligence to understand varied mindsets and then sync your goals with individual interest by delegating tasks. A clearly defined job helps employees to focus their energies and generate requisite output. With effective delegation, your employees are empowered, and their morale is high.

For instance, you can link incentives of employees to the profit of the organization – if they meet targets, you allocate them a monetary bonus. Such techniques assure that your employees take responsibility for their work.

But, is delegation enough? What if your employees are stuck and projects are not completed on time?

You need to ensure that tasks are accomplished on time by always being in touch with employees. If they are not meeting deadlines, you have to intervene and correct what’s wrong.

Hence, you also need to give feedback as a leader. It will help you to monitor and track the performance of your subordinates.

There are times when outcomes get impacted due to ego clashes between your employees. When people work as a team, there are bound to be differences in opinion. You need to have the skill to find a peaceful solution that satiates all the parties involved. Your conflict resolution skills help to manage a healthy work environment.

Communication skills:

One mandatory skill that all leadership experts will point out, without which you cannot be a leader, will be effective communication. You transfer crucial information, which is necessary for the success of your organization with your communication skills.

Communication skills include your listening, presenting, and speaking skills. You build a rapport with your colleagues and subordinates with these skills.

Another important aspect of productive communication is that it should be timely. For instance, if there is a technical bug in your product, this needs to be escalated to the concerned team quickly. Letting such a product reach the customers can be detrimental to the brand image of your organization.

Communication also plays a crucial role in disruptive times, like natural disasters or PR crises. You need to be proactive and take swift action – get in touch with various stakeholders and keep in touch. Effective communication in difficult situations can subvert the impact of the crisis.

Now that you are aware of the primary leadership skills, you need to build them through constant practice.

Following are 5 steps to develop these skills.

5 Steps to Develop Leadership Skills:

1) Identify your leadership style

First of all, you need to be aware of your leadership style. This will help you analyze your current standing as a leader. It will also check if you are using the right leadership techniques as per your business needs.

Next, you need to set your leadership goals: where do you see yourself as a leader? Which are the leadership styles you admire? How can you apply these styles in your work culture?

Once you have the answer to the above questions, you are aware of two aspects: your current standing as a leader and your expectations from yourself. The difference between these two can help you figure out a plan for developing leadership skills.

For instance, if you are an authoritarian leader, but realize that a transformational leadership style suits your current business scenario, you can switch your method. To make that change, you can do away with micromanagement techniques and develop a collaborative culture in your organization.

2) Find your weak areas:

To develop or improve your leadership skills, you need to know where to focus. You can have excellent technical and functional knowledge, but lack soft skills or vice versa. As a result, you may not be able to get the desired results from your team.

For instance, if there are operational issues in a project, you may be quick to point them out and propose problem-solving methods to resolve them. However, you may not have the ability to motivate people to work towards the suggested solutions.

Sometimes, you can be good at some aspects of a skill but may need to work on it as a whole. In such cases, you only need to work on particular features of a skill.

For example, you may be very good at describing your thoughts in an email, but find it hard to express them effectively while speaking. Hence, you will need to work specifically on public speaking, a subset of communication skills.

Furthermore, you may also take this leadership trait test and narrow down the pain points in your leadership armory.

3) Find resources to fill in the gaps:

By now, you have identified the leadership style that you should adopt, and the areas that you need to work on to develop the necessary skills.

What next? You need resources to fill the gaps in your leadership skills – this is the most crucial step.

Where do you get the information necessary to improve yourself as a leader?

Here are some ways to obtain these resources.

Participate in leadership training courses or workshops, listen to podcasts, attend conferences and get into discussions. Experts in these sessions can help you with tips that can be a game-changer in your journey to excel at leadership.

You can also install software to help you with the tools required for your leadership.

Further, find a mentor, someone who has carried out leadership roles. There is no substitute for experience. You can get a lot of practical methods to develop your leadership skills from your mentor. Be cautious: before you apply these methods, get in touch with your HR, and make sure they are in line with your company policies and protocols.

Last but not least – read. All successful leaders are readers. You should never stop taking in new information. Read business books and magazines. You can also read books on leadership or on specific skill sets you are looking to target.

4) Develop flexibility to adapt:

There is no right way to lead in all circumstances. The one characteristic you need to develop as a leader is to adapt to the situation. You cannot afford to be rigid and expect the same methodologies to work in every case.

For example, you may need to change your leadership style from democratic to autocratic, if there is a sudden surge in millennials joining your organization. Likewise, if there are more experienced people in your project, you may alter your style to laissez-faire.

When you are flexible to changes, you gain situational awareness. You become proactive and anticipate issues before they occur. As a result, you increase productivity and deliver better results. All these factors contribute to developing better management skills in you.

As a flexible leader, you are open to new ideas. You are ready to change your methods and allow information to sink in from all sources. Thus, you welcome change. Also, you develop the ability to change your plan as per the situation.

5) Take additional responsibilities:

To become a great leader, you need to embrace challenges and get out of your comfort zone. Don’t just stick to your job description; take the initiative, and get involved in additional work. This can include having more projects, more departments, or greater involvement in business decisions.

How does taking up more work help you in improving your leadership skills?

The methodologies that are effective in your roles and responsibilities may not give you the desired results in the additional assignments that you take up. This will push you to adapt and learn. The more you do, the more you learn.

Additional responsibilities also expose you to a variety of situations. You test your problem-solving skills and task competencies.The increasing number of interactions alleviates your soft skills.

Can you learn leadership skills in the work environment only?

Not really. You need not wait for standard conventions or official assignments to apply leadership skills. You can use situations that are not related to work – take charge of various organizational events, like team building activities and competitions. You can imbibe analytical and soft skills from these ventures.

Final thoughts:

You need not confine yourself to corporates and workplace environments to cultivate leadership skills. Every time you find a situation that calls for a leader, take up the opportunity, and exhibit your skills. The worst outcomes will only teach you to become a better leader.

Constant learning is also an essential attribute to become a great leader. You need to keep yourself up-to-date with the latest requirements in business and align your leadership attributes accordingly.

What are some leadership skills that you would like to acquire? How are you going to adapt to them? Let us know in the comments below.