37 Motivational Leadership Quotes for You & Your Clients!

Lead! Get Fired Up! Make a Difference!

I really enjoyed researching and finding these motivational leadership quotes for you. So, check out my hand-picked quotes below - and share your favourites on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn - or with your clients.

Which leadership quotes inspire YOU? Copy out the quote/s that inspire you most and put them on your computer, on your bathroom mirror and in your wallet!

Use these 37 Motivational Leadership Quotes to Inspire both You and Your Clients!

What is Leadership?

  1. "Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality." Warren Bennis
  2. "Leadership is an action, not a position." Donald McGannon
  3. "Leadership is practiced not so much in words as in attitude and in actions." Harold S. Geneen
  4. "The quality of a leader is reflected in the standards they set for themselves." Ray Kroc
  5. "The very essence of leadership is that you have to have vision. You can't blow an uncertain trumpet." Father Theodore M. Hesburgh
  6. "The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things." Ronald Reagan

The Art of Leadership

  1. "The art of leadership is saying no, not yes. It is very easy to say yes." Tony Blair
  2. "Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower." Steve Jobs
  3. "If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader." John Quincy Adams
  4. "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-Exupery
  5. "Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other." John F. Kennedy
  6. "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
  7. "A good leader inspires others with confidence in the leader. A great leader inspires others with confidence in themselves." Unknown
  8. "The high sentiments always win in the end, the leaders who offer blood, toil, tears, and sweat always get more out of their followers than those who offer safety and a good time." George Orwell
  9. "The secret of leadership is simple: Do what you believe in. Paint a picture of the future. Go there. People will follow." Seth Godin
  10. "The key to successful leadership is influence, not authority." Kenneth H. Blanchard

Love Leadership Quotes?

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On Becoming a Successful Leader:

  1. "Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person." Mother Teresa
  2. "Become the kind of leader that people would follow voluntarily, even if you had no title or position." Brian Tracy
  3. "A man who wants to lead the orchestra must turn his back on the crowd." Max Lucado
  4. "Mountaintops inspire leaders but valleys mature them." Winston Churchill
  5. "Leaders aren't born they are made. And they are made just like anything else, through hard work. And that’s the price we’ll have to pay to achieve that goal, or any goal." Vince Lombardi
  6. "Successful leaders see the opportunities in every difficulty rather than the difficulty in every opportunity" Reed Markham
  7. "You have to look at leadership through the eyes of the followers and you have to live the message. What I have learned is that people become motivated when you guide them to the source of their own power and when you make heroes out of employees who personify what you want to see in the organization." Anita Roddick

On Coaching, Business and Leadership:

  1. "We have done lots of research over the past three years, and we have found that leaders who have the best coaching skills have better business results." Tanya Clemens, V.P. of Global Executive & Organizational Development at IBM
  2. "Once seen as the last step for an executive about to fall off the ladder, leadership coaches now help smooth a promotion, teach outsiders about their new culture, and tune up talent." CNN Money
  3. "In a 2004 survey by Right Management consultants, 86 percent of companies said they used coaching to sharpen skills of individuals who have been identified as future organizational leaders." (Excerpt from "What An Executive Coach Can Do For You") Harvard Business School
  4. "I'll bet most of the companies that are in life-or-death battles got into that kind of trouble because they didn't pay enough attention to developing their leaders." Wayne Calloway (former Chairman, Pepsico, Inc.)
  5. "In a recent study, training alone improved leadership skills by 22%. When combined with Executive Coaching, improvement jumps to 77%." Fortune
  6. "Once used to bolster troubled staffers, coaching now is part of the standard leadership development training for elite executives and talented up-and-comers at IBM, Motorola, J.P. Morgan, Chase, and Hewlett Packard. These companies are discreetly giving their best prospects what star athletes have long had: a trusted adviser to help reach their goals." CNN.com

Other Leadership Quotes

  1. "Toxic environments are not the result of spontaneous bad fortune. They are the result of toxic leaders." Panos Mourdoukoutas and M.A. Soupios (in their book, The Ten Golden Rules of Leadership)
  2. "I was never the smartest guy in the room. From the first person I hired, I was never the smartest guy in the room. And that's a big deal. And if you're going to be a leader - if you're a leader and you're the smartest guy in the world - in the room, you've got real problems." Jack Welch
  3. "Only one man in a thousand is a leader of men - the other 999 follow women." Groucho Marx
  4. "I have three precious things which I hold fast and prize. The first is gentleness; the second is frugality; the third is humility, which keeps me from putting myself before others. Be gentle and you can be bold; be frugal and you can be liberal; avoid putting yourself before others and you can become a leader among men." Lao Tzu
  5. "Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things." Peter F. Drucker
  6. "A leader is a dealer in hope." Napoleon
  7. "Earn your leadership every day." Michael Jordan
  8. "The art of communication is the language of leadership." James Humes

Finally, if you liked this article with motivational leadership quotes, you may also like:

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Contributing Author:

Emma-Louise Elsey has been coaching since 2003 and is the Founder of The Coaching Tools Company and Fierce Kindness.com. She's passionate about coaching and personal development. Originally a project and relationship manager for Fortune 500 companies she combined her love of coaching, creativity and systems to create over 100 brandable coaching tools, forms and exercises including 30+ completely free coaching tools. She now serves coaches and the coaching world through her exclusive newsletter for coaches, Coaches Helping Coaches Facebook Group and many other great tools for coaches, plus resources and ideas for your coaching toolbox. The Coaching Tools Company is an official ICF Business Solutions Partner.

Learn more about Emma-Louise & see all their articles here >>

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  1. Bonnie Howard Howell

    Emma Louise,
    Thank you once again for these insightful comments on my favorite topic, leadership. My favorite quote "Leadership is knowing when you wake up in the morning that by the end of the day you'll be called on to solve problems that you didn't even know you had, and getting up anyway" Dr. Bonnie Howell. Who also happens to be one of your biggest fans. Best, Bonnie

  2. Heidi

    I could see a use for these in workshops or other discussion settings, too. For example, a quote I've heard before, and somewhat taken as a given, is Tony Blair's #7 above: "The art of leadership is saying no, not yes. It is very easy to say yes."
    However, I've worked with a person I thought was an excellent leader (in terms of actual results in keeping a team happy & high-functioning within a wider workplace) who struck me as the opposite -- almost never said 'No' as such. She'd say 'Yes' to almost any initiative a team member would suggest for their own zone of responsibility.
    Anything that would involve or impact on other team members or those we served would be met with, 'That sounds interesting/good/possible/etc. -- let's put it on the next meeting's agenda.' We knew that usually meant No, but at least we'd have some voice and if other team members thought the idea had merit it might get a trial and/or be looked further into (by us).
    This kept initiative and mood high and also meant we almost never asked her to do something -- which is probably the main 'No' intended in the quote, so she didn't run into that problem.
    I'm not sure how she managed top-down requests but from the way we received them, it seemed it was, 'Yes, sure! I'll take that up with the team,' because then we'd have a meeting and if it wouldn't fly she'd take it back up the reporting line as appropriate and all would seem very collaborative, while I suspected she had a very clear Yes/No/Definite-Maybe flow diagram of her own in full operation!
    She simply didn't allow her resistance to have the effect of making others feel stopped. I understand she's risen significantly in her career since then, and I'm not surprised.
    I have work to do in both those directions -- saying Yes or No enough and appropriately -- so this mini-discussion with myself has helped 🙂
    Thanks for posting these quotes and being so generous with information on your site.

    • Emma-Louise

      Hi Heidi,
      I really enjoyed reading your thought process/story. Initially I thought you were going to say that the team leader was avoiding saying no (and that it was a bad thing). Instead it seems she was very collaborative - and probably kept people on track and to the agenda. You were obviously impressed by her - and I really liked your analysis! Yes, No, Maybe. And we all have a 'style' too. Lots to think about! Warmly, Emma-Louise


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