The best quotes about leadership to inspire your own

Are you in leadership? If you are in any role helping or being in charge of others, you can be defined as a leader. If so, you might be looking to better your leadership style. Here, we’ve compiled a  list of quotes about leadership so that you can learn from the best on bettering your role.

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” – Unknown

Economist Dr. Robert Brusca says leadership, from the executive branch to the local school system, drives change in the economy, and that a lack of it is putting us all at risk by “throwing money at problems,” and “by not leading by example early.” He said if politicians don’t shape expectations for us all, it will hurt the economy greatly. A recent survey even found people would favor a robot boss over a human one. But robots don’t lead families or nations. You do.

So what can you do to lead? While those entering the real world look at graduation quotes, you can look at some expectations set from effective leaders below, with these leadership quotes:

Leadership quotes to inspire your own

1. “What you do has far greater impact than what you say.” – Stephen Covey, author, and educator

Like Brusca and Covey say: Lead by example. If you want a coworker to keep their cool with a difficult client, try showing them how by taking deep breaths, going away to get water for the client or taking over when tensions rise. Your coworker will learn, and be grateful far more than if you tell them to keep cool. Do this over and over, repetition is an invaluable skill.

 2. “You don’t have to hold a position in order to be a leader.” – Henry Ford, founder of the Ford Motor Company

Start now. You don’t have to be a teacher or a C-Suite executive to be a leader. You can lead by example at any time. Speak up in meetings. Don’t criticize or complain, but work to solve problems. And if you can do something, from picking up a coworker’s lunch trash or writing a clarifying email, then do it. Action is effective. Others will notice it.

3. “Leadership is solving problems. The day soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help or concluded you do not care. Either case is a failure of leadership.” – General Colin Powell, former U.S. Secretary of State

If you’re in a leadership role, be open. Let your students, employees, children or teammates come to with issues. Listen. Make eye contact, face them frontward and take good notes. When they pause or seem emotional, ask them clarifying questions. Then work on solutions. People trust you to fulfill their needs.

4. “A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don’t necessarily want to go, but ought to be.” – Rosalynn Carter, former First Lady of the United States

Some situations call for leaders to take control. Don’t be afraid to make your team reevaluate and go in a whole new direction or pace. Jason Ballard, CEO of 3D home builder Icon was led by his Episcopal bishop to not pursue the ministry but to help the world by building his company. With renewed focus, he quit his original business and started partnering and building the printer company that would make the world’s first 3D home and subsequent ones for just a few thousand dollars for the homeless.

5. “Today a reader, tomorrow a leader.” –Margaret Fuller, writer, and journalist

Read up. Studies show that those who read are more empathic and better at solving problems. Read trade journals, poetry, news articles or anything that will help you see the world from a new perspective.

6. “All of the great leaders have had one characteristic in common: it was the willingness to confront unequivocally the major anxiety of their people in their time. This, and not much else, is the essence of leadership.” –John Kenneth Galbraith, Canadian economist, and diplomat

Tap into people’s anxiety. Tap into your own. Own it. If you’re scared of crossing the street, do it 100 times. If your people are scared of being alone trying to fix software, sit with them till they get it. John F. Kennedy tapped into America’s fear of falling apart over ideology and urged them to come together by doing for the country even small civil acts. He eased anxiety through character.

7. “A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.” – Martin Luther King Jr., civil rights activist

In combination with leadership quotes 4 and 6, the best leader figures out the way to go from analyzing their people’s anxieties, and taking them where to go. Figure out what must be done and a better way to do it. This is the hallmark of innovative companies, like Apple, innovative people, like Maya Angelou, and great world-changing movements.

Leadership is a lifelong learning process, sometimes one you may be dropped into unexpectedly. But it can change your life and even the world. The best leaders (as seen in the above leadership quotes) show over tell, start where they’re at, confidently solve problems, drive forward, read up, confront their people’s anxiety, and mold consensus. You can too.