52 Powerful Quotes on Leadership, Action and Motivation

September 16, 2011 by
Filed under: Leadership, Mentoring, Positive Attitude, Quotes and Sayings 

Why do we like quotes so much? A good reason for many of us is that you don’t have to read a book to get to the point. Quotes can be very short, straight to the point and thought provoking. Sometimes, there’s just so much wisdom and life experiences in one short sentence that you can almost sense and understand what the author has gone through to reach the point they are attempting to make! Here are some quotes that have thought provoking to me in my own leadership journey. Do you recognize any of these?


  1. “I am more afraid of an army of 100 sheep led by a lion than an army of 100 lions led by a sheep.” —Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord
  2.  “A leader has to be able to change an organization that is dreamless, soulless and visionless … someone’s got to make a wakeup call.” —Warren Bennis
  3.  “Although some people think that life is a battle, it is actually a game of giving and receiving.” —Florence Scovel Shinn
  4.  “A boss creates fear, a leader, confidence. A boss fixes blame, a leader corrects mistakes. A boss knows all, a leader asks questions. A boss makes work drudgery, a leader makes it interesting.” —Russell H. Ewing, Author
  5. “A frightened captain makes a frightened crew.” —Lister Sinclair, Playwright/Broadcaster
  6.  “As you enter positions of trust and power, dream a little before you think.” —Toni Morrison, Author
  7. “Becoming a leader is synonymous with becoming yourself. It is precisely that simple, and it is also that difficult.” —Warren Bennis
  8. “A life of reaction is a life of slavery, intellectually, and spiritually. One must fight for a life of action, not reaction.” —Rita Mae Brown, Mystery Author
  9.  “A teacher affects eternity. He can never tell where his influence stops.” —Henry B. Adams, American Historian
  10. “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader.” —John Quincy Adams
  11.  “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear” —Ambrose Redmoon, American Philosopher
  12. “Difficulties are meant to rouse, not discourage.” —William Ellery Channing, Psychologist
  13. “There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.” —Peter Drucker
  14.  “Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishments.” —Jim Rohn, Author/Motivator
  15. “Don’t be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson
  16. “Everyone lives by selling something.” —Robert Louis Stevenson
  17.  “I have more fun, and enjoy more financial success, when I stop trying to get what I want and start helping other people get what they want.” —Spencer Johnson, Business Author
  18. “A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable but more useful than a life spent in doing nothing.” —George Bernard Shaw
  19.  “I must follow the people. Am I not their leader?” —Benjamin Disraeli
  20. “If the rate of change on the outside exceeds the rate of change on the inside, the end is near” —Jack Welch
  21. “If you don’t think about the future, you won’t have one.” —Henry Ford
  22. “Most people succeed because they are determined to. People of mediocre ability sometimes achieve outstanding success because they don’t know when to quit.” —George Allen, Football Coach
  23.  “It takes a tremendous act of courage to admit to yourself that you are not defective in any way whatsoever.” —Cheri Huber, Author/Zen Philosopher
  24. “Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task.” —William James
  25. “It’s so hard when contemplated in advance and so easy when you do it.” —Robert Pirsig, Philosopher/Author
  26. “Leaders don’t create followers, they create more leaders.” —Tom Peters
  27. “Most of the successful people I’ve known are the ones who do more listening than talking.” —Bernard Baruch
  28.  “Ninety-nine percent of failures come from people who have a habit of making excuses.” —George Washington Carver
  29. “No pessimist ever discovered the secrets of the stars, or sailed to an uncharted land, or opened a new heaven to the human spirit.” —Helen Keller
  30. “Nothing great was ever created without enthusiasm.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson
  31.  “One measure of leadership is the caliber of people who choose to follow you.” —Dennis A. Peer, Management Consultant
  32. “Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.” —John Quincy Adams
  33. “Nothing so conclusively proves a man’s ability to lead others as what he does from day to day to lead himself.” —Thomas J. Watson, Former CEO, IBM
  34.  “People can be divided into two classes: those who go ahead and do something, and those people who sit still and inquire, why wasn’t it done the other way?” —Oliver Wendell Holmes
  35. “Question: How many legs does a dog have if you call the tail a leg? Answer: Four; calling a tail a leg doesn’t make it a leg.” —Abraham Lincoln
  36. “Show me a man who cannot bother to do little things and I’ll show you a man who cannot be trusted to do big things.” —Lawrence D. Bell, Founder, Bell Aircraft
  37. “Start by doing what’s necessary, then what’s possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” —St. Francis
  38. “The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good people to do what he wants done, and self-restraint to keep from meddling with them while they do it.” —Theodore Roosevelt
  39. “The best way out is always through.” —Robert Frost
  40.  “The first law of success is concentration, to bend all the energies to one point, and to go directly to that point, looking neither to the right, nor to the left.” —William Matthews, Journalist
  41. “The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality.” —Max DePree, Business Consultant/Author
  42. “The leadership instinct you are born with is the backbone. Then you develop the funny bone and the wishbone that go with it.” —Elaine Agather, CEO, JPMorgan Bank
  43. “The older I get the more wisdom I find in the ancient rule of taking first things first. A process which often reduces the most complex human problem to a manageable proportion.” —Dwight D. Eisenhower
  44. “The reason most major goals are not achieved is that we spend our time doing second things first.” —Robert J. McKain, Management Consultant
  45. “The best way to predict the future is to create it.” —Peter Drucker
  46. “The first duty of a leader is optimism. How does your subordinate feel after meeting with you? Does he feel uplifted? If not, you are not a leader.” —Field Marshal Montgomery
  47.  “Those that are most slow in making a promise are the most faithful in the performance of it.” —Jean-Jacques Rousseau
  48. “Too many people are thinking of security instead of opportunity. They seem to be more afraid of life than death.” —James F. Bymes, Secretary of State
  49. “What would be the use of immortality to a person who cannot use well a half an hour?” —Ralph Waldo Emerson
  50. “When I’m getting ready to persuade a person, I spend one-third of the time thinking about myself, what I’m going to say, and two-thirds of the time thinking about him and what he is going to say.” —Abraham Lincoln
  51. ”Always think of what you have to do as easy and it will be.” —Emile Coue, Psychologist
  52. “People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.” –Zig Ziglar

Hope you enjoyed reading some of these quotes! If so, and you’d like to comment, please do so. If not, then let us know and why!

What are some of your favorite leadership, action and motivation quotes?



16 Intelligent Opinions, Leave Yours on 52 Powerful Quotes on Leadership, Action and Motivation

  1. sabir momin on Wed, 26th Sep 2012 11:15 am
  2. i think your confident is your success

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  3. Sue on Thu, 6th Jun 2013 7:17 am
  4. Very well said on the reason we love quotes and I agree. We can learn the thought of an entire book by comparing it to a remarkable quote.

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  13. Festus on Tue, 13th Oct 2015 10:42 am
  14. Great quotes coming from great people. I so much love this particular one “The best way to pre­dict the future is to cre­ate it.” —Peter Drucker

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  15. Nakul on Mon, 13th Mar 2017 7:42 am
  16. “The first law of suc­cess is con­cen­tra­tion, to bend all the ener­gies to one point, and to go directly to that point, look­ing nei­ther to the right, nor to the left.” — This is the best bold suggestion I’ve ever heard.

    It is so much important that we must avoid the distractions and go straight right away to achieve dreams.

    Thanks for sharing .. 🙂
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  17. Hafsa Khalid on Fri, 14th Apr 2017 6:50 am
  18. “Lead­ers don’t cre­ate fol­low­ers, they cre­ate more lead­ers.” —Tom Peters, This is really true Don’t be Boss be a leader good post thanks for sharing so many Quotations.
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  19. HowToBeIt on Sun, 30th Apr 2017 12:48 pm
  20. It’s not about how long does motivation lasts, it’s all about how easily it’s obtained before doing the important things… such as working out or preparing for exams etc.

    For some people it’s obtained without any effort… an addict requires do not need to motivate themselves before fulfilling their addiction.

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  23. Hilda Y on Fri, 12th May 2017 2:07 am
  24. Yes, we all love quotes. My favourite ones from your list are # 30 from Ralph Waldo Emerson “Nothing great was ever created without enthusiasm”. I love it because is about joyful creativity, doing what you love. My second favourite is # 7 from Warren Bennis “Becoming a leader is synonymous with becoming yourself. It is precisely that simple, and it is also that difficult”. I love this quote because he is teaching about the importance of self-awareness, self-acceptance, self-worth and self-love. I agree with W. Bennis is simple but not easy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  25. glammy on Fri, 30th Jun 2017 12:09 am
  26. This is Amazing blog …. For more Motivational and inspirational Quotes , videos , speeches, books visit http://www.motivatorsplatform.com I am also follow this website .

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  27. Brian Carter on Thu, 13th Jul 2017 11:27 am
  28. Great quotes coming from great people. I so much love this particular one “The best way to pre­dict the future is to cre­ate it.” —Peter Drucker

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