Platitudes have never helped me in my continuing evolution as a leader, so I decided to put together some substantive quotes from undeniable experts on the nature of leadership.
Leadership. That mysterious skill that nobody can quantify but everyone can feel. Where do you learn it? Who can you trust to teach it to you? How can you test it? If you go to Amazon and search for leadership books, you’ll find there are countless “experts” who share their opinions (including me). It’s hard to hear any clarity with so many voices in the conversation shouting “I know the answer!” Platitudes have never helped me in my continuing evolution as a leader, so I find myself scoffing at glossy leadership memes.
But here are things we can all agree on:
- You can sense a good leader when he/she is in the room.
- You can sense a vacuum of good leadership when there isn’t one in the room.
- We all want to be around good leadership.
- Leaders are the most highly valued people in human society.
- Leadership is challenging to do well.
I decided to put together some substantive quotes from undeniable experts on the nature of leadership.
Quote #1: Lao-Tse
“To lead people, walk beside them …
As for the best leaders, the people do not notice their existence.
The next best, the people honor and praise.
The next, the people fear; and the next, the people hate …
When the best leader’s work is done the people say,
We did it ourselves!”
Interpretation: Do not seek praise, do not seek power… seek to inspire, educate and empower your team.
Quote #2: John F. Kennedy
“Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.”
Interpretation: In your communication, leave room for what you do not know. Ask for advice from experts. Continue to seek mentorship even if you’re at the top. Refine yourself.
Quote #3: General Bernard Montgomery
“My own definition of leadership is this: The capacity and the will to rally men and women to a common purpose and the character which inspires confidence.”
Interpretation: Capacity for purpose. The will to rally others. Character beyond reproach. This last one is what most politicians seem to lack most… I’m looking at you Donald.
Quote #4: Colin Powell
“Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.”
Interpretation: It never helps anyone to freak out. Stay positive, look for opportunities, stay present. The more optimistic you can be (authentically), the more your team will band together and become stronger.
What are some of your favorite Leadership Quotes? Leave yours in the comments below!
Also by Dale Thomas Vaughn
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