40 Leadership Quotes to Inspire You & Your Team

Never underestimate the power of words. The right statement could help a team get stronger, grow closer, and work harder. But it’s up to a leader to know what to say when things get rocky or when the team is at a loss. And while a leader is looked to in these crucial moments to take charge and provide direction, it’s impossible to lead without a team. Leadership quotes can be a great way to inspire and motivate your team.

If you want to lead others, you have to motivate, demonstrate, and inspire them. In the workplace, good leadership skills are crucial if you want your team to thrive and your business to succeed. 

Knowing what to say in order to help you and your team can make a big difference. And many leaders learned from others how to inspire and direct. There is a lot to be gained from past leaders and a lot of wisdom that carries over. Some of these quotes might help you find a solution to a problem or find the motivation missing to come out on top. 

Use these leadership quotes to help you be a better leader, and help your team succeed. 

For The Leader

  1. “The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” —William Arthur Ward, author and motivator
  1. “Power isn’t control at all–power is strength, and giving that strength to others. A leader isn’t someone who forces others to make him stronger; a leader is someone willing to give his strength to others that they may have the strength to stand on their own.” —Beth Revis, author
  1. “Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence, and making sure that impact lasts in your absence.” —Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook
  1. “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
  1. “The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint to keep from meddling with them while they do it.” —Theodore Roosevelt, 26th president of the United States
  1. “It’s hard to lead a cavalry charge if you think you look funny on a horse.” —Adlai E. Stevenson II, former Governor of Illinois
  1. “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, activist and first President of South Africa
  1. “A leader isn’t someone who forces others to make him stronger; a leader is someone willing to give his strength to others so that they may have the strength to stand on their own.” —Beth Revis, author
  1. “A man who wants to lead the orchestra must turn his back on the crowd.” —Max Lucado, author
  1. “You don’t lead by pointing and telling people some place to go. You lead by going to that place and making a case.” —Ken Kesey, author
  1. “The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.” —Henry Ford, founder of the Ford Motor Company
  1. “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” —Thomas Edison, entrepreneur who has been described as America’s greatest inventor
  1. “So often people are working hard at the wrong thing. Working on the right thing is probably more important than working hard.” —Caterina Fake, co-founder of Flickr
  1. “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, author
  1. “The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between, the leader is a servant.” —Max DePree, businessman and author
  1. “Leadership is lifting a person’s vision to high sights, the raising of a person’s performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations.” —Peter Drucker, Management consultant, educator, and author
  1. “Outstanding leaders go out of their way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it’s amazing what they can accomplish.” —Sam Walton, businessman
  1. “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, industrialist and philanthropist
  1. “As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others.” Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft
  1. “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” —John F. Kennedy, 35th President of the United States

There are a lot of takeaways from these quotes. You have to believe in yourself and your skills as a leader. The more confident you feel in your mastery of the task, the more your team can believe in you and stand behind you. There is greater power in doing. Lead from behind and avoid overmanaging your team. But the key is in the combination and what so many have in common.

A team is what makes the leader. There are many different kinds of leaders, and you have to know how to play to your strengths in order to bring out the strengths in others. 

For The Team

  1. “You have to be burning with an idea, or a problem, or a wrong that you want to right. If you’re not passionate enough from the start, you’ll never stick it out.” —Steve Jobs, co-founder, Chairman, and CEO of Apple
  1. “In the end, it is important to remember that we cannot become what we need to be by remaining what we are.” —Max DePree, businessman and author
  1. “Forget past mistakes. Forget failures. Forget everything except what you’re going to do now and do it.” —William Durant, co-founder of General Motors
  1. “Don’t worry about failure; you only have to be right once.” —Drew Houston, founder and CEO of Dropbox
  1. “The real test is not whether you avoid this failure, because you won’t. It’s whether you let it harden or shame you into inaction, or whether you learn from it; whether you choose to persevere.” —Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States
  1. “The big secret in life is that there is no big secret. Whatever your goal, you can get there if you’re willing to work.” —Oprah Winfrey, talk show host, producer, actress, and philanthropist, recognized as one of the most influential women in the world
  1. “You get in life what you have the courage to ask for.” —Nancy D. Solomon, CEO and founder of WomenThink Global
  1. “The most dangerous poison is the feeling of achievement. The antidote is to every evening think what can be done better tomorrow.” —Ingvar Kamprad, founder of IKEA
  1. “If you really look closely, most overnight successes took a long time.” —Steve Jobs, co-founder, Chairman, and CEO of Apple
  1. The worst walls are never the ones you find in your way. The worst walls are the ones you put there.” Ursula K. Le Guin, author
  1. “Success seems to be connected with action. Successful people keep moving. They make mistakes, but they don’t quit.” —Conrad Hilton, Founder of Hilton Hotels
  1. “It is the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) that those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.” —Charles Darwin, naturalist and biologist
  1. “The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.” —Phil Jackson, professional basketball player and coach
  1. “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, concerned citizens can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has.” —Margaret Mead, cultural anthropologist
  1. “You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” —Eleanor Roosevelt, former First Lady of the United States
  1. “Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.” —Mark Twain, author
  1. “Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships.” —Michael Jordan, professional basketball player and businessman
  1. “If you take out the team in teamwork, it’s just work. Now who wants that?”Matthew Woodring Stover, author
  1. “You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” —Maya Angelou, author and activist
  1. “There is nothing more beautiful than someone who goes out of their way to make life beautiful for others.” Mandy Hale, author

Inspiring a team of individuals to work toward a common goal is the definition of leadership. And when a team is motivated, inspired, and passionate about the work, it shows. A successful company is rarely one person. A lot of moving parts are required to make a business run properly, and that includes all the staff and supplementary assistance. 

Think of all the people it takes to make the cup of coffee you order in the morning. Someone had to plant and harvest the beans, grind them down, package them and ship them to a company that sold them and brewed the coffee to pour into the cup you received. When working together, people can accomplish incredible things. And people work well when being led by someone who understands their potential. 

Lead Your Way

These quotes are not rules but guides. There is no one way to lead, and often the best style will change from group to group. You have to listen and understand your employees to help them work better. Don’t sell them or yourself short. And don’t assume that going it alone is best.

Leadership can feel lonely, and it’s important to remember that teamwork is essential within leadership. Understanding how others work and guiding them to exceed expectations is how great things get done. 

Use these words to help jumpstart your desire to lead well and your staff’s desire to exceed what’s expected. It’s impossible to truly know what we’re capable of until we try. And it won’t always work the first time, but if you are leading with compassion and an open mind, you’ll be able to learn, improve, and grow into a better leader and business.