University of Oregon Logo
Register | Log in
Holden Leadership Center

Leadership Quotes Links

Ask Oxford - 100 classic quotations

Yale Book of Quotations - A book of quotations from the Yale University Press

The Columbia World of Quotations - A large, searchable database of quotations

Leadership Now - A great resource for leadership quotations

Think Exist - A large selection of quotations

The Quotations Page - Another great source for quotations

Quote DB - A large searchable selection of quotations that have been rated by users.

Great Leadership Quotes

Albert Einstein

" Nothing that I can do will change the structure of the universe. But maybe, by raising my voice I can help the greatest of all causes -- goodwill among men and peace on earth. "

Albert Schweitzer

" There is no higher religion than human service. To work for the common good is the highest creed. "

Alice Walker

" Nobody is more powerful as we make them out to be. "

Althea Gibson

" No matter what accomplishments you make, somebody helps you. "

Angela Davis

" Walls turned sideways are bridges. "

Anne Frank

" How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment to improve the world. "


" A real leader faces the music, even when he doesn't like the tune. "


" Change is inevitable. Progress is optional. "


" The most important thing with communication is to hear what is not being said. "


" Success comes before work only in the dictionary. "

Audre Lorde

" What I care to be powerful--to use my strength in the service of my vision--then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid. "

Babe Ruth

" The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don't play together, the club won't be worth a dime. "

Benjamin Franklin

" When you're finished changing, you're finished. "

Beverly Daniel Tatum

" To work effectively as an agent of change in a pluralistic society, it is necessary to be able to connect with people different from oneself. "

Buddhist proverb

" If we are facing in the right direction, all we have to do is keep on walking. "

C.H. Parkhurst

" Purpose is what gives life meaning. "

Cherrie Moraga

" Remember you live in a community. You have a responsibility to be accountable to your family and your community as well as yourself. "

Colman Cox

" When enthusiasm is inspired by reason; controlled by caution; sound in theory; practical in application; reflects confidence; spreads good cheer; raises morale; inspires associates, arouses loyalty; and laughs at adversity, it is beyond price. "

Daniel Goleman, Primal Leadership

" Leaders who can stay optimistic and upbeat, even under intense pressure, radiate the positive feelings that create resonance. By staying in control of their feelings and impulses, they craft an environment of trust, comforts and fairness. And that self-management has a trickle down effect from the leader. "

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

" Take the first step in faith. You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step. "

Dwight D. Eisenhower

" Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it. "

Eleanor Roosevelt

" To handle yourself, use your head; to handle others, use your heart. "

English Proverb

" A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor. "

Franklin D. Roosevelt

" A good leader can't get too far ahead of his followers. "

H. Gordon Selfridge

" The boss drives people; the leader coaches them. The boss depends on authority; the leader on good will. The boss inspires fear; the leader inspires enthusiasm. The boss says I; The leader says WE. The boss fixes the blame for the breakdown; the leader fixes the breakdown. The boss says, GO; the leader says Lets GO! "

Harold J. Seymour

" Leaders are the ones who keep faith with the past, keep step with the present, and keep the promise to posterity. "

Henry Ford

" Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success. "

Henry Ford

" You can't build a reputation on what you are going to do. "

Jack Welch

" If the rate of change on the outside exceeds the rate of change on the inside, the end is near. "

James Dean

" Dream as if you will live forever, live as if you will die today. "

John Erksine, The Complete Life

" In simplest terms, a leader is one who knows where he wants to go, and gets up, and goes. "

John F. Kennedy

" Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other. "

John P. Kotter

" One of the most common ways to overcome resistance to change is to educate people about it beforehand. Communication of ideas helps people see the need for and the logic of a change. The education process can involve one-on-one discussions, presentations to groups, or memos and reports. "

John P. Kotter

" Motivation and inspiration energize people, not by pushing them in the right direction as control mechanisms do but by satisfying basic human needs for achievement, a sense of belonging, recognition, self-esteem, a feeling of control over one's life, and the ability to live up to one's ideals. Such feelings touch us deeply and elicit a powerful response. "

Josh Billings

" Be like a postage stamp - stick to one thing until you get there. "

Kouzes & Posner, The Leadership Challenge

" Leaders must know where they are going if they expect others to willingly join them on the journey. "

Kouzes & Posner, The Leadership Challenge

" Leaders go first. "

Kouzes & Posner, The Leadership Challenge

" Challenge is the opportunity for greatness. People do their best when there is an opportunity to change how things currently stand. Maintaining the status quo facilitates mediocrity. Those who embrace this practice do not wish to rest on their laurels. They motivate others to exceed their limits and look for innovative ways to improve the organization. "

Kouzes & Posner, The Leadership Challenge

" Leaders encourage others to continue the quest and inspire others through courage and hope. Leaders give heart by visibly recognizing others' contributions to the common vision. With a thank you note, a smile, an award, and public praise, the leader lets others know how much they mean to the organization. "

Lao Tzu

" A leader is best when people barely know he exists, not so good when people obey and acclaim him, worse when they despise him. But of a good leader who talks little when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say, we did it ourselves. "

Mahatma Gandhi

" We must become the change we wish to see in the world. "

Mahatma Ghandi

" A principle is a principle and in no case can it be watered down because of our incapacity to live it in practice. We have to strive to achieve it, and the striving should be conscious, deliberate and hard. "

Margaret Cho

" I think that failure is just as important as success. In a way, failure is a kind of success if you can look at it in the right way, if you can accept it and enjoy it in the right way. "

Margaret Mead

" Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed it's the only thing that ever has. "

Mark Twain

" It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog. "

Maya Angelou

" Human beings are more alike than unalike, and what is true anywhere is true everywhere. "

Michael Jordan

" I've missed over 9,000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times I've been trusted to take the game-winning shot . . . and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed. "

Michelle Obama

" Service is a limitless opportunity, it is the reason why we breathe. "

Mother Teresa

" We can do no great things--only small things with great love. "

Napoleon Bonaparte

" A leader is a dealer in hope. "

Nolan Ryan

" Enjoying success requires the ability to adapt. Only by being open to change will you have a true opportunity to get the most from your talent. "

Oprah Winfrey

" All you need to do is know who you are. "

Paul Bear Bryant

" If anything goes bad, I did it. If anything goes semi-good, we did it. If anything goes real good, then you did it. That's all it takes to get people to win football games for you. "

Pearl Bailey

" Everybody wants to do something to help, but nobody wants to be the first. "

Peter Drucker

" Effective leadership is not about making speeches or being liked; leadership is defined by results not attributes. "

Proverbs 29:18

" Where there is no vision, the people perish. "

Richard Couto

" Whatever their source, leadership begins with clarity about values what one stands for and the roots of those values are imparted by a sense of family, community, and culture. "

Shirley Chisholm

" Don't list to those who say YOU CAN'T. List to the voice inside yourself that says, I CAN. "

Stephen Covey

" Effective leadership is putting first things first. Effective management is discipline, carrying it out. "

Steve Jobs

" You have to be burning with an idea, or a problem, or a wrong that you want to right. If you're not passionate enough from the start, you'll never stick it out. "

Theodore Roosevelt

" 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. "

Vince Lombardi

" Individual commitment to a group effort - that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work. "

Walter Lippmann

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

Warren Bennis

" 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. "

Winston Churchill

" We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give. "


" Do, or do not. There is no try. "