10 leadership quotes to keep in your back pocket

Leadership is an abstract skill that looks different in practice for every person. However, what most people agree on is how important it is when it comes to tackling projects and building teams.

Leadership comes easy to some but not to others. But one thing is certain: every single person in a leadership role has room to improve. To help you on your journey to becoming a better manager, we’ve put together a list of 10 great quotes to take with you along the way.

1. “Communication is the most important skill any leader can possess.”- Richard Branson, English entrepreneur and founder of the Virgin Group.

A leader needs to make sure there is a permanent channel of communication open between them and their teams. Not only that, but they need to make sure there is steady communication between team members because, without this, it’s impossible to keep everyone moving in the same direction.

2. “The key to successful leadership is influence, not authority.”- Kenneth Blanchard, American author.

Leaders with an authoritarian approach are rarely able to connect with the people on their team. To have success, prove that you’re able to trust your team when you delegate something to them. Trust is a two-way street, so keep it up and you will be able to see tangible results.

3. “My job as a leader is to make sure everybody in the company has great opportunities, and that they feel they’re having a meaningful impact.” – Larry Page, American businessman and co-creator of Google.

To get the most out of your teams, give them some direction. To do this, you need: 

  • a clear goal.
  • a defined process that they know how to participate in.
  • all team members to recognize and be aware of the importance of their contributions.
4. “Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships.” – Michael Jordan, American basketball legend.

Make your team feel comfortable bouncing ideas off of each other, sharing goals, and generally working together. It’s important to take a step back and look at the bigger picture, not any individual battles. 

5. “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.”- Henry Ford, American entrepreneur, developer of the first mass assembly line, and founder of Ford Motor Company.  

Staying curious and hungry for knowledge is important for any professional (or person for that matter), but especially for team leaders. Make sure everyone involved has all the resources they need to continue to reskill and upskill themselves.

Pacific, serious game on leadership

6. “We need to accept that we won’t always make the right decisions, that we’ll screw up royally sometimes — [then] understand that failure is not the opposite of success, it’s part of success.” – Arianna Huffington, American writer and co-founder of The Huffington Post. 

Sometimes the difference between success and defeat is how you look at things. But, even if something doesn’t work out, you can apply what you learned to the next try. Take a step back and look at what went wrong and what went right, and when talking about it with your team, don’t forget to finish on a positive note. 

7. “Effective leadership is not about making speeches or being liked; leadership is defined by results, not attributes.” – Peter Drucker, an Austrian lawyer, professor, and philosopher.

There are many proven ways to get better results out of your team:

  • Defining and tracking objectives
  • Delegating tasks in a way that plays to people’s strengths 
  • Giving your employees recognition when they do well
8. “Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.” – George Patton, US Army general. 

The most important thing for you, as a leader, is that the job gets done well. It doesn’t matter how your employee arrives there, as long as they do. By giving them the leeway to do it themselves, they’ll be more engaged, which is likely to lead to better results.

9. “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” – Mahatma Gandhi, Indian thinker and political leader.

Arguably the most famous of his many quotes, this one underlines the importance of leading by example. Words are useless if not backed up by action, and a leader must go into every day with this mindset. Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback from your team and change your approach.

10. “Too many companies believe people are interchangeable. Truly gifted people never are. They have unique talents. Such people cannot be forced into roles they are not suited for, nor should they be. Effective leaders allow great people to do the work they were born to do.” – Warren Bennis, an American scholar, regarded as a pioneer in the field of leadership studies.    

Never underestimate your employees’ talent. Be flexible, listen to them, and allow them to express themselves openly. It all boils down to putting them in a position to succeed, and if you can do this, you’ll unlock each one’s full potential. 

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