What is Leadership?

There are many definitions of leadership. Here are some of those thoughts.

“Leadership: The art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.”

- Dwight D. Eisenhower

“Leadership can be thought of as a capacity to define oneself to others in a way that clarifies and expands a vision of the future.”

- Edwin H. Friedman

“Leadership is the challenge to be something more than average.”

- Jim Rohn

“Leadership is much more an art, a belief, a condition of the heart, than a set of things to do. The visible signs of artful leadership are expressed, ultimately, in its practice.”

- Max Depree

“I suppose leadership at one time meant muscles; but today it means getting with people.”

- Mohandas Gandhi

“Leadership is diving for a loose ball, getting the crowd involved, getting other players involved. It's being able to take it as well as dish it out. That's the only way you're going to get respect from the players.”

- Larry Bird

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

- Bill Bradley

“Leadership is action, not position.”

- Donald H. McGannon

“Leadership is like beauty: it's hard to define, but you know it when you see it.”

- Warren Bennis

“Leadership involves finding a parade and getting in front of it.”

- John Naisbitt

“The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly.”

- Jim Rohn

“In leadership writ large, mutually agreed upon purposes help people achieve consensus, assume responsibility, work for the common good, and build community.”

- Joseph Rost

“The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority.”

- Kenneth Blanchard

“Leadership is not manifested by coercion, even against the resented. Greatness is not manifested by unlimited pragmatism, which places such a high premium on the end justifying any means and any measures.”

- Margaret Chase Smith

“The very essence of leadership is that you have to have a vision.”

- Theodore Hesburgh

“Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other”

- JFK

“One measure of leadership is the caliber of people who choose to follow you.”

- Dennis A. Peer

“The art of communication is the language of leadership.”

- James Humes

“Leadership demands that we make tough choices.”

- Alan Autry

“It is the responsibility of leadership to provide opportunity, and the responsibility of individuals to contribute.”

- William Pollard

“Leadership in today's world requires far more than a large stock of gunboats and a hard fist at the conference table.”

- Hubert H. Humphrey

“The test of leadership is not to put greatness into humanity, but to elicit it, for the greatness is already there.”

- James Buchanan

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

- Ralph Nader

“All of the great leaders have had one characteristic in common: it was the willingness to confront unequivocally the major anxiety of their people in their time. This, and not much else, is the essence of leadership.”

- John Kenneth Galbraith

“Character matters; leadership descends from character.”

- Rush Limbaugh

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

- Warren G. Bennis

“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

“You don't lead by hitting people over the head - that's assault, not leadership.”

- Dwight D. Eisenhower

“One of the true tests of leadership is the ability to recognize a problem before it becomes an emergency.”

- Arnold H. Glasgow

“The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly.”

- Jim Rohn

“The very essence of leadership is that you have to have vision. You can't blow an uncertain trumpet.”

- Theodore M. Hesburgh

“Sense of humor is part of the art of leadership, of getting along with people, of getting things done.”

- Dwight D. Eisenhower

“Leadership is practiced not so much in words as in attitude and in actions.”

- Harold S. Geneen

“Leadership should be more participative than directive, more enabling than performing.”

- Mary D. Poole

“Leadership should be born out of the understanding of the needs of those who would be affected by it.”

- Marian Anderson

“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 them or concluded that you do not care. Either case is a failure of leadership.”

- Colin Powell

“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 front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership.”

- Nelson Mandela

“One of the true tests of leadership is the ability to recognize a problem before it becomes an emergency.”

- Arnold H. Glasgow

“Divorced from ethics, leadership is reduced to management and politics to mere technique.”

- James MacGregor Burns

“In leadership writ large, mutually agreed upon purposes help people achieve consensus, assume responsibility, work for the common good, and build community.”

- Joseph Rost

 

Who is a Leader?

Many people have attempted to describe the qualities of a leader. Here are some of those descriptions.

“A new leader has to be able to change an organization that is dreamless, soulless and visionless … someone’s got to make a wake up call.”

- Warren Bennis

“The final test of a leader is that he leaves behind him in other men, the conviction and the will to carry on.”

- Walter Lippman

“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 R. Gergen

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”

- John Quincy Adams

“A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don’t necessarily want to go, but ought to be.”

- Rosalynn Carter

“Leaders are more powerful role models when they learn than when they teach.”

- Rosabeth Moss Kantor

“Good leaders must first become good servants.”

- Robert Greenleaf

“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.”

- Steve Jobs

“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.”

- John C Maxwell

“A great leader's courage to fulfill his vision comes from passion, not position.”

- John C Maxwell

“A good leader inspires people to have confidence in the leader, a great leader inspires people to have confidence in themselves”

“All of the great leaders have had one characteristic in common: it was the willingness to confront unequivocally the major anxiety of their people in their time. This, and not much else, is the essence of leadership.”

- John Kenneth Galbraith

“The leader is one who mobilizes others toward a goal shared by leaders and followers... Leaders, followers and goals make up the three equally necessary supports for leadership.”

- Gary Wills

“A leader leads by example, whether he intends to or not.”

- Author Unknown

“Leaders don't create followers, they create more leaders.”

- Tom Peters

“The greatest test of respect comes when a leader creates major change in an organization”

- John C. Maxwell

“Whoever is providing leadership needs to be as fresh and thoughtful and reflective as possible to make the very best fight.”

- Faye Wattleton

“There's nothing more demoralizing than a leader who can't clearly articulate why we're doing what we're doing.”

- James Kouzes and Barry Posner

A leader or a man of action in a crisis almost always acts subconsciously and then thinks of the reasons for his action.”

- Jawaharlal Nehru

“Time is neutral and does not change things. With courage and initiative, leaders change things.”

- Jesse Jackson

“The leaders who work most effectively, it seems to me, never say “I.” And that's not because they have trained themselves not to say “I.” They don't think “I.” They think “we”; they think "team." They understand their job to be to make the team function. They accept responsibility and don't sidestep it, but “we” gets the credit. This is what creates trust, what enables you to get the task done.”

- Peter F. Drucker

“Humans are ambitious and rational and proud. And we don't fall in line with people who don't respect us and who we don't believe have our best interests at heart. We are willing to follow leaders, but only to the extent that we believe they call on our best, not our worst.”

- Rachel Maddow

“Leaders aren't born they are made. And they are made just like anything else, through hard work. And that's the price we'll have to pay to achieve that goal, or any goal.”

- Vince Lombardi

“The final test of a leader is that he leaves behind him in other men the conviction and the will to carry on.”

- Walter Lippmann

“The manager asks how and when; the leader asks what and why.”

- Warren G. Bennis

“The manager accepts the status quo; the leader challenges it.”

- Warren G. Bennis

“A leader must have the courage to act against an expert's advice.”

- James Callaghan

“Men make history and not the other way around. In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better.”

- Harry S. Truman

“The task of the leader is to get his people from where they are to where they have not been.”

- Henry Kissinger

“The final test of a leader is that he leaves behind him in other men, the conviction and the will to carry on.”

- Walter Lippman

“Most important, leaders can conceive and articulate goals that lift people out of their petty preoccupations and unite them in pursuit of objectives worthy of their best efforts.”

- John Gardner

“A good leader is a person who takes a little more than his share of the blame and a little less than his share of the credit.”

- John C. Maxwell

“A leader or a man of action in a crisis almost always acts subconsciously and then thinks of the reasons for his action.”

- Jawaharlal Nehru

“Leaders shouldn't attach moral significance to their ideas: Do that, and you can't compromise.”

- Peter F. Drucker

“The leaders who work most effectively, it seems to me, never say “I.” And that's not because they have trained themselves not to say “I.” They don't think “I.” They think “we”; they think "team." They understand their job to be to make the team function. They accept responsibility and don't sidestep it, but “we” gets the credit. This is what creates trust, what enables you to get the task done.”

- Peter F. Drucker

“Good leaders must first become good servants.”

- Robert Greenleaf

 

Inspirational Quotes

"There are risks and cost to a program of action--but they are far less than the long-range risks and cost of comfortable inaction."

- John F. Kennedy

"Why go into something to test the waters? Go into it to make waves."

- Michael Nolan

"The future is not a gift, it is an achievement."

- Henry Lauder

"The secret of success is constancy of purpose."

-Benjamin Disraeli

"The greatest test of respect comes when a leader creates major change in an organization."

- John C. Maxwell

"Build for your team a feeling of oneness, of dependence upon one another, and of strength to be derived by unity."

-Vince Lombardi

"The world cares very little about what a man or woman knows; It is what the man or woman is able to do that counts."

-Booker T. Washington