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Leadership Quotes

Inspiration from some leadership experts

We have selected some inspirational and knowledgeable quotes which apply to the FASTLEAD program modules from some of the great minds. We hope that they will inspire our future leaders.

Leading vs Managing Others

Management controls performance in people because it impacts skills; it’s a matter of monitoring, analyzing and directing. Leadership creates performance in people because it impacts willingness; it’s a matter of modeling, inspiring, and reinforcing. - Stan Slap


Effective leadership is putting first things first. Effective management is discipline, carrying it out. - Stephen Covey


A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves. - Lao Tzu


The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between, the leader is a servant.- Max DePree


It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the frontline when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership. - Nelson Mandela


Managing Up

I think you have to work with people, and when I talk about managing relationships, don’t think the derogatory ‘‘managed relationships’’. It is a question of sharing emotion and feelings. - Anil Ambani

If you think your boss is stupid, remember: you wouldn't have a job if he was any smarter. - John Gotti


If the boss is a jerk, get over it. First of all, don’t you think there’s a good chance that your boss’s boss knows what’s going on? If so, just keep your head down and do the work. Usually, if you put in maximum effort and produce excellent results, someone in the company is going to take notice. Either you will get promoted or your jerky boss will get the heave-ho. It happens all the time. - Suze Orman


Practice Golden-Rule 1 of Management in everything you do. Manage others the way you would like to be managed. - Brian Tracy


Don't blame the boss. He has enough problems. - Donald Rumsfeld


Engaging and Motivating Others

Remember the Golden Rule? “Treat people as you would like to be treated.”  The best managers break the Golden Rule every day. They would say don't treat people as you would like to be treated. This presupposes that everyone breathes the same psychological oxygen as you. For example, if you are competitive, everyone must be similarly competitive. If you like to be praised in public, everyone else must, too. Everyone must share your hatred of micromanagement. - Marcus Buckingham


When rewards come from an external source instead of an internal source, they’re unreliable, which means they’re dangerous if you grow to depend on them. - Stan Slap


Leaders must be close enough to relate to others, but far enough ahead to motivate them. - John C. Maxwell


I have yet to find the man, however exalted his station, who did not do better work and put forth greater effort under a spirit of approval than under a spirit of criticism. – Charles Schwab


The five most important words a leader can speak are - 'I am proud of you'

The four most important are - 'What is your opinion?'

The three most important are - 'If you please'

The two most important are - 'Thank You'

And the most important single word of all is - 'You'. - Denis Waitley


Setting Performance Expectations

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 Drucker


Good leadership consists in showing average people how to do the work of superior people. - John D. Rockefeller


Feedback is the breakfast of champions. - Ken Blanchard


What's measured improves.-  Peter F. Drucker


Excellence is the gradual result of always striving to become better. - Pat Riley


Influencing without Authority

If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart. - Nelson Mandela


In the past a leader was a boss. Today's leaders must be partners with their people...they no longer can lead solely based on positional power. - Ken Blanchard


No man is good enough to govern another man without that other’s consent. - Abraham Lincoln


A great leader’s courage to fulfill his vision comes from passion, not position. - John Maxwell


You don’t lead by pointing and telling people some place to go. You lead by going to that place and making a case. -  Ken Kesey


Self Awareness

What first separates a leader from a normal human being? A leader knows who they are as a human being. - Stan Slap


Checking the results of a decision against its expectations shows executives what their strengths are, where they need to improve, and where they lack knowledge or information. - Peter Drucker


The greatest barrier to self-understanding is our fear of knowing the truth within ourselves, but when we do understand ourselves, we greatly enhance what we are capable of. - Carla H. Krueger


People need to know that they have all the tools within themselves. Self-awareness, which means awareness of their body, awareness of their mental space, awareness of their relationships - not only with each other, but with life and the ecosystem. - Deepak Chopra


Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves. -  C.G. Jung


Effective Communication

To effectively communicate, we must realise that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others. - Tony Robbins


Communication must be HOT. That’s Honest, Open and Two-way. - Dan Oswald


The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said. - Peter Drucker


What you do has far greater impact than what you say. - Stephen Covey


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


Emotional Intelligence

I suppose leadership at one time meant muscles; but today it means getting along with people. – Mahatma Gandhi


It isn't stress that makes us fall - it's how we respond to stressful events. -  Wayde Goodall


Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In that response lies our growth and our freedom. – Victor Frankl


Speak when you are angry and you’ll make the best speech you’ll ever regret - Dr. Laurence J. Peter


It's amazing how once the mind is free of emotional pollution, logic and clarity emerge…Yet, it's our emotions and imperfections that makes us human. - Clyde DeSouza


Coaching and Developing Others

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


Talent is the multiplier. The more energy and attention you invest in it, the greater the yield. The time you spend with your best is, quite simply, your most productive time. –  Marcus Buckingham


The conventional definition of management is getting work done through people, but real management is developing people through work. - Agha Hasan Abedi


You can tell a man is clever by his answers. You can tell a man is wise by his questions. -Naguib Mahfouz


The ultimate leader is one who is willing to develop people to the point that they eventually surpass him or her in knowledge and ability. - Fred A. Manske Jr


Conflict Management

I have one major rule: Everybody is right. More specifically, everybody — including me — has some important pieces of truth, and all of those pieces need to be honored, cherished, and included in a more gracious, spacious, and compassionate embrace. – Ken Wilber


In crisis management, be quick with the facts, slow with the blame. – Leonard Saffir


Conflict can and should be handled constructively; when it is, relationships benefit. Conflict avoidance is *not* the hallmark of a good relationship. On the contrary, it is a symptom of serious problems and of poor communication. –  Harriet B. Braiker


We don't get harmony when everybody sings the same note. Only notes that are different can harmonize. The same is true with people. – Steve Goodier


You cannot fix a problem in the world unless you've already resolved the underlying conflict within yourself. – Auliq Ice


Focusing the Team

Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results. – Andrew Carnegie


If you are building a culture where honest expectations are communicated and peer accountability is the norm, then the group will address poor performance and attitudes. -  Henry Cloud


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 G. Bennis


Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat. – Sun Tzŭ


Leadership is the activity of influencing people to cooperate towards some goal which they come to find desirable and which motivates them over the long haul. – Orway Tead


Time management

Not managing your time and making excuses are two bad habits. Don't put them both together by claiming you 'don't have the time’. - Bo Bennett


The whole point of getting things done is knowing what to leave undone. - Lady Stella Reading


Never mistake activity for achievement. - John Wooden


Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four hour days. – Zig Ziglar


By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail. – Benjamin Franklin




If you want to do a few small things right, do them yourself. If you want to do great things and make a big impact, learn to delegate. - John C. Maxwell


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


Tell me, and I'll forget. Show me, and I'll remember. Involve me, and I'll learn. – Marla Jones


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


Only do what only you can do. - Paul Sloane


Leading through Change

Nothing so undermines organizational change as the failure to think through the losses people face. - William Bridges


For organizations and employees alike, the only real security is the ability to grow, change and adapt. - Kearney


When you train your employees to be risk averse, then you’re preparing your whole company to be reward challenged. - Morgan Spurlock


The price of doing the same old thing is far higher than the price of change. - Bill Clinton


Difficult times disrupt your conventional ways of thinking and push you to forge better habits of thought, performance and being. – Robin S. Sharma


What are your favourite leadership quotes? Please send them through to us to see them on this page! Email


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