The Best Leadership Quotes and How to Apply Them

Leadership is a famously difficult duty.

Whether you want to become the big shot or you’re already the boss, you have work ahead of you. Let’s look at our most famous leaders and their motivating guidance. These inspiring leadership quotes are sure to illuminate your road ahead.

Leadership is Learning

While leadership styles vary, the core characteristics of effective leadership do not. For example, many famous leaders place an extra emphasis on education.  “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” -John F. Kennedy Knowledge is a magical resource. Why? It can be given away ad infinitum, yet still, be retained by the owner.

Leadership is Action

While leaders shouldn’t be rash, they also can’t afford to be indecisive. Leaders lead. Leaders act.  “The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The leader adjusts the sails.” -John Maxwell Leadership requires action. A leader identifies when the winds are changing, understands how the new gusts affect them, and works towards saving the boat.

Leadership is About Others

What good is a general with no soldiers? A leader takes people and lets them do the most extraordinary things. A good leader is nothing without the people who follow their lead.  “Leadership is the art of giving people a platform for spreading ideas that work.” –Seth Godin Great leaders attract great people, and then let those great people spread their wings (and their ideas).

Leadership is Ethical

Leaders do the right thing, especially when it’s also the hard thing.  “We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.” —Kurt Vonnegut Kurt Vonnegut is suggesting that our personalities are not innate, but rather are learned behaviors formed by habit.

Lead On!

While I’m sure there are dozens of worthwhile leadership qualities–and even more worthy leadership quotes–I think a focus on learning, action, people, and ethics will give you the foundation to be an effective leader. It’s just like John Quincy Adams said: “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”

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