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Wise Words on Leading Others

A collection of clever quotations that highlight timeless lessons.


Large manuals are great for gaining knowledge and building skills, but sometimes the biggest lessons come in the smallest packages. These succinct quotes from celebrated thinkers and well-known leaders from around the globe and throughout history provide powerful insights that can benefit both seasoned leaders and individuals tackling the challenge for the first time.


“True leadership stems from individuality that is honestly and sometimes imperfectly expressed….Leaders should strive for authenticity over perfection.”
— Sheryl Sandberg, COO, Facebook

“The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority.”
— Ken Blanchard, management expert and author

“The art of communication is the language of leadership.”
— James Humes, former presidential speechwriter

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
— Maya Angelou, poet, performer and activist

“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”
— Eleanor Roosevelt, former First Lady of the United States

“I start with the premise that the function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers.”
— Ralph Nader, political activist

“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, ancient Chinese philosopher and writer

“Leadership is not about being in charge. It’s about caring for those you are in charge of.”
—Simon Sinek, leadership expert, speaker and author

“A leader takes people where they would never go on their own.”
— Hans Finzel, author, speaker and leadership mentor

“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.”
— Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, French writer

“If you can’t communicate, it’s like winking to a girl in the dark.”
— Warren Buffet, business magnate and investor

“If I have seen further [than others], it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”
— Isaac Newton, mathematician, astronomer and physicist