10 Quotes about Leadership & How You Can Apply Them

by / ⠀Entrepreneurship / October 29, 2013

Nelson Mandela

It is lonely at the top.

A good leader is a good follower.

Lead by example.

These are some of the clichés we encounter when it comes to leadership. It’s tough to attribute these sayings to one person alone. Just the same, these power phrases exist to motivate us to become good leaders. Sometimes, however, we take these sayings for granted, repeating them over and over until these words lose their meanings. Then they exist only as a bunch of motherhood statements without any rhyme or reason.

Other times, though, these words become potent when we least expect them. We might find ourselves reading them and then upon rumination, rediscover that they are more than just an assemblage of words. They are someone’s experience articulated and shared in the hopes that someone would find them useful and emulate them. To add to your roster of quotes about leadership, here are ten more:

“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.”

Who said it: Lao Tzu, considered the father of philosophical Taoism. He lived in the 6th century BCE in China

A leader should know how to empower the people. In an office setting, managers should not always be breathing down the necks of their subordinates.

After giving them instructions, let your team members do their work, only occasionally putting in some suggestions. In the long run, the employees can efficiently function with minimal supervision from you. This could, in turn, be beneficial to the company as you can focus your attention to more important tasks.

Making them realize that they did the work themselves would lead to feelings of satisfaction which could lead to increased productivity

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

Who said it:  Robert Louis Stevenson, travel writer, poet, and novelist, author of Treasure Island, Kidnapped, and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, among others.

Do not let your reservations and apprehensions show. You must inspire others through your confidence. As a manager, your team is looking at you and taking hints from your actions. If they see you hesitating before a task, their own self confidence might erode.

“Good leadership consists of showing average people how to do the work of superior people.”

Who said it: John D. Rockefeller, American industrialist, philanthropist, founder of Standard Oil Company (one of the world’s first and largest multinational corporations).

A leader should be able to bring out the best in people. You must let them know that they can do something they initially thought they can’t. By doing so, you are helping them believe in themselves. With this increased self-confidence, they will not be afraid to face whatever tasks you will give them.

“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.”

Who said it: Steve Jobs, American entrepreneur, co-founder and CEO of Apple, Inc.

Being an innovator himself, Steve Jobs basically says to not be afraid of changes. What you should be afraid of is declining into a state of atrophy, a state wherein you’ve reached the point of stagnation and you are not evolving. You should not be afraid to learn and try new strategies. The business world is dynamic; those who are not changing will be left behind by the competitors.

“A real leader uses every issue, no matter how serious and sensitive, to ensure that at the end of the debate we should emerge stronger and more united than ever before.”

Who said it: Nelson Mandela, anti-apartheid leader, President of South Africa from 1994-1999

Clashing of ideas should be seen as a chance to create a synthesis and not something that should be avoided. Progress happens when two or more opposing ideas meet, and through these, a better one is created.

You should use every opportunity to resolve every conflict that arises. By ironing out the individual differences, the team can better perform.

“The speed of the leader is the speed of the gang.”

Who said it: Mary Kay Ash, businesswoman, founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics.

You should set the pace for your team, but you should not impose it upon them. Pressuring them would only lead to half-baked work.  Be considerate to the slow learners in your team, but don’t let them tie you down. Urge them on consistently until they can keep up with the rest. Remember that time is money so finishing the job on time is very important.

“The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The leader adjusts the sails.”

Who said it: John Maxwell, speaker, author of more than 60 books on leadership.

A leader must know how to adapt. Complaining about changes or waiting for it to pass you by would only leave you and your team lagging behind.

As mentioned earlier, the business world is ever-evolving. It is more evident now in the age of the Internet. You must always do your research to the latest trends and technology so that you and your team can keep abreast with the times.

“Do what you feel in your heart to be right–for you’ll be criticized anyway.”

Who said it: Eleanor Roosevelt, first lady of the USA from 1933 to 1945.

Being a leader you should be open to criticism. Keep in mind that as someone who leads, you are always in the position to be the taker of the blame when something goes awry. You should take these criticisms objectively. Being onion-skinned would not help. You should not be swayed by popular opinion. If you know that your idea would be for the good of the company, go for it. If it fails, be ready to be accountable.

“You have to have your heart in the business and the business in your heart.”

Who said it: An Wang, computer engineer, founder of the computer company Wang Laboratories

A leader should have the passion and determination to get things done. Halfheartedly leading would leave your team going in circles. You should possess the drive to excel, these drive would rub off on your team.

When you take the meaning of these words to heart, you will be motivated to be a good leader. And having the motivation, combine this with your leadership skills. Your team will perform optimally in no time.

Let us finish this article with one last quote, a self-explanatory saying by the Navy SEAL: “Individuals play the game, but teams beat the odds.

Teoddy Baldomaro is a business writer for Piton-Global, a call center in the Philippines. They offer lead generation, customer service and technical support. You may follow him via Twitter @teoddybaldomaro.

Image Credit: www.sabc.co.za

About The Author

Matt Wilson

Matt Wilson is Co-Founder of Under30Experiences, a travel company for young people ages 21-35. He is the original Co-founder of Under30CEO (Acquired 2016). Matt is the Host of the Live Different Podcast and has 50+ Five Star iTunes Ratings on Health, Fitness, Business and Travel. He brings a unique, uncensored approach to his interviews and writing. His work is published on Under30CEO.com, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, Huffington Post, Reuters, and many others. Matt hosts yoga and fitness retreats in his free time and buys all his food from an organic farm in the jungle of Costa Rica where he lives. He is a shareholder of the Green Bay Packers.