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  • Writer's pictureBarbara Mayfield, MS, RDN, LD, FAND

Leadership is…

Updated: Dec 4, 2022

Leadership defined

What does leadership mean to you?

The dictionary defines leadership as “the act of leading others.”

Do you aspire to be a leader?

What does it mean “to lead”?

To answer that question, I searched for words of wisdom from writers, philosophers, and leaders from recent and not-so-recent history. Read their thoughts on leading, leaders, and leadership. Which quotes resonate with you?

27 great quotes about leadership

A leader is a dealer in hope. ~ Napoleon Bonaparte

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader. ~ John Quincy Adams

A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way. ~ John Maxwell

A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. He does not set out to be a leader, but becomes one by the equality of his actions and the integrity of his intent. ~ Douglas MacArthur

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

Become the kind of leader that people would follow voluntarily; even if you had no title or position. ~ Brian Tracy

No man will make a great leader who wants to do it all himself, or to get all the credit for doing it. ~ Andrew Carnegie

A good leader is a person who takes a little more than his share of the blame and a little less than his share of the credit.~ John Maxwell

There are two kinds of people, those who do the work and those who take the credit. Try to be in the first group; there is less competition there. ~ Indira Gandhi

You manage things; you lead people. ~ Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper

Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things. ~ Peter F. Drucker

What you do has far greater impact than what you say. ~ Stephen Covey

The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority. ~ Kenneth Blanchard

The supreme quality of leadership is integrity. ~ Dwight Eisenhower

Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality. ~ Warren Bennis

Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers, who can cut through argument, debate, and doubt to offer a solution everybody can understand. ~ General Colin Powell

The most dangerous leadership myth is that leaders are born-that there is a genetic factor to leadership. That's nonsense; in fact, the opposite is true. Leaders are made rather than born. ~ Warren Bennis

Education is the mother of leadership. ~ Wendell Willkie

It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership. ~ Nelson Mandela

Leadership is unlocking people's potential to become better. ~ Bill Bradley

A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus. ~ Martin Luther King Jr.

To handle yourself, use your head; to handle others, use your heart. ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

Treat people as if they were what they ought to be, and you help them become what they are capable of being. ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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

A leader is like a shepherd. He stays behind the flock, letting the most nimble go out ahead, whereupon the others follow, not realizing that all along they are being directed from behind. ~ Nelson Mandela

Mountaintops inspire leaders but valleys mature them. ~ Winston Churchill

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-Exupéry

In upcoming blogs, we will explore what leadership means and ways to effectively lead others. Stay tuned...

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