ability or activity of an individual or organization to guide other individuals, teams, or entire organizations
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Leadership is both a research area and a practical skill encompassing the ability of an individual or organization to "lead" or guide other individuals, teams, or entire organizations.

I lead in the way of righteousness, in the midst of the paths of judgment: That I may cause those that love me to inherit substance; and I will fill their treasures. ~ Book of Proverbs 8:20 (KJV)

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  • As we look over the list of the early leaders of the republic, Washington, John Adams, Hamilton, and others, we discern that they were all men who insisted upon being themselves and who refused to truckle to the people. With each succeeding generation, the growing demand of the people that its elective officials shall not lead but merely register the popular will has steadily undermined the independence of those who derive their power from popular election. The persistent refusal of the Adamses to sacrifice the integrity of their own intellectual and moral standards and values for the sake of winning public office or popular favor is another of the measuring rods by which we may measure the divergence of American life from its starting point.
  • He who has never learned to obey cannot be a good commander.
    • Aristotle, in Politics as translated by Benjamin Jowett
  • If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.
  • The born leader is a fiction invented by 'born followers'. Leadership is not a gift at birth; it is an award for growing to full moral stature. It is the only prize that a man must win everyday. The prize is the respect of others, earned by the disciplines that generate self-respect.
    • Colonel Wheeler L. Baker, USMC, Ret., as quoted in The Cadence (2009), yearbook of Hargrave Military Academy, p. F
  • A political leader must keep looking over his shoulder all the time to see if the boys are still there. If they aren’t still there, he’s no longer a political leader.
  • A new leader has to be able to change an organization that is dreamless, soulless and visionless … someone's got to make a wake up call.
    • Warren Bennis, in Reinventing Leadership : Strategies to Empower the Organization (2005), by Warren G. Bennis and Robert Townsend, p. 91
  • Leadership is understanding people and involving them to help you do a job. That takes all of the good characteristics, like integrity, dedication of purpose, selflessness, knowledge, skill, implacability, as well as determination not to accept failure.
    • Admiral Arleigh Burke, quoted in Naval Leadership : Voices of Experience (1998) by Karel Montor, p. 18
  • The object of leadership may be stated as having a system whereby a leader recognizes what is good for the good of the government, for the good of the nation, for the good of humanity, and recognizes the qualities he has and what he can do within his own limitations. He cannot do, and should not attempt to do, the impossible, but he should not fail to attempt something that might be extremely difficult and may be possible.
    • Admiral Arleigh Burke, quoted in Naval Leadership : Voices of Experience (1998) by Karel Montor, p. 18
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
  • 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, as quoted in Managing Software Development Projects : Formula for Success (1995) by Neal Whitten, p. 63
  • "Safety first" has been the motto of the human race for half a million years; but it has never been the motto of leaders. A leader must face danger. He must take the risk and the blame, and the brunt of the storm.
  • A leader has to appear consistent. That doesn't mean he has to be consistent.
  • Persistence in a single view has never been regarded as a merit in political leaders.
  • You must surely know by now, Winters, that a leader’s authority is limited to giving her followers orders that they will actually obey.
  • When...perfect order.. prevails, the world is like a Commonwealth State shared by all, not a dictatorship. Virtuous, worthy, wise and capable people are chosen as leaders... Honesty and trust are promoted, and good neighborliness cultivated... All people respect and love their own parents and children, as well as the parents and children of others... The aged are cared for until death; adults are employed in jobs that make full use of their abilities; and children are nourished, educated, and fostered;...orphans... the disabled and the diseased are all well taken care of.... They hate not to make use of their abilities... they do not necessarily work for their own self-interest... Thus intrigues and conspiracies do not arise, and thievery and robbery do not occur; therefore doors need never be locked.. This is the ideal world – a perfect world of equality, fraternity, harmony, welfare, and justice.
    • Confucius in A Great Utopia, Li-Yun-Da-Tong (Li-Yun-Dah-Tong) Section, the Record of Rites, Book IX, (BC 551 - 479) (full text)
Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things. ~ Peter Drucker
  • I never had much faith in leaders. I am willing to be charged with almost anything, rather than to be charged with being a leader. I am suspicious of leaders, and especially of the intellectual variety. Give me the rank and file every day in the week.
  • The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between the two, the leader must become a servant and a debtor. That sums up the progress of an artful leader.
  • It is not a question of how well each process works, the question is how well they all work together.
    • Lloyd Dobyns and Clare Crawford-Mason, in Thinking About Quality : Progress, Wisdom, and the Deming Philosophy (1994)
  • Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.
  • Successful leaders don’t start out asking, "What do I want to do?" They ask, "What needs to be done?" Then they ask, "Of those things that would make a difference, which are right for me?" They don’t tackle things they aren’t good at. They make sure other necessities get done, but not by them. Successful leaders make sure that they succeed! They are not afraid of strength in others. Andrew Carnegie wanted to put on his gravestone, "Here lies a man who knew how to put into his service more able men than he was himself."
    • Peter Drucker, as quoted in "‘What Needs to Be Done’, Peter Drucker On Leadership", an interview with Rich Karlgaard in Forbes magazine (19 November 2004)
I am firmly convinced that the passionate will for justice and truth has done more to improve man's condition than calculating political shrewdness which in the long run only breeds general distrust. Who can doubt that Moses was a better leader of humanity than Machiavelli? ~ Albert Einstein
  • Now I think, speaking roughly, by leadership we mean the art of getting someone else to do something that you want done because he wants to do it.
  • Character in many ways is everything in leadership. It is made up of many things, but I would say character is really integrity. When you delegate something to a subordinate, for example, it is absolutely your responsibility, and he must understand this. You as a leader must take complete responsibility for what the subordinate does. I once said, as a sort of wisecrack, that leadership consists of nothing but taking responsibility for everything that goes wrong and giving your subordinates credit for everything that goes well.
    • Dwight D. Eisenhower, as quoted in Nineteen Stars : a Study in Military Character and Leadership (1971) by Edgar F. Puryear Jr.
  • The essence of leadership is to get others to do something because they think you want it done and because they know it is worth while doing -- that is what we are talking about.
    • Dwight D. Eisenhower, Remarks at the Republican Campaign Picnic at the President's Gettysburg Farm (September 12, 1956). Source: Eisenhower Presidential Library. Archived from the original on January 25, 2021.
  • Throughout the Old Testament we see God choosing what is weak and humble to represent him (the stammering Moses, the infant Samuel, Saul from an insignificant family, David confronting Goliath, etc.). Paul tells us that God chooses the weak things of the world to confound the mighty. Here, however, we have a striking contradiction. In Constantine God is supposedly choosing an Augustus, a triumphant military leader. This vision and this miracle are totally impossible. But they are not impossible in the context of Christianity that is already off the rails, that thinks of God as the one who directs history and is the motive power in politics.
    • Jacques Ellul, The Subversion of Christianity (1982), G. Bromiley, trans. (1986), p. 123
  • Vivacity, leadership, must be had, and we are not allowed to be nice in choosing. We must fetch the pump with dirty water, if clean cannot be had.
  • If you command wisely, you'll be obeyed cheerfully.
  • When a leader correctly identifies real hurt and insecurity in our country, and instead of addressing it, goes to look for someone to blame, there is perhaps nothing more devastating to a pluralistic society. Leadership knows that most often a good place to start in assigning blame is to look somewhat closer to home. Leadership knows where the buck stops.
    • Jeff Flake, Republican senator from Arizona, in a speech on October 24, 2017, announcing he would not be running for re-election in 2018.
  • Humility helps, character counts. Leadership does not knowingly encourage or feed ugly or debased appetites in us. Leadership lives by the American creed, “E pluribus unum.” From many one. American leadership looks to the world and just as Lincoln did, sees the family of man.
    • Jeff Flake, Republican senator from Arizona, in a speech on October 24, 2017, announcing he would not be running for re-election in 2018.
  • All of the great leaders have had one characteristic in common: it was the willingness to confront unequivocally the major anxiety of their people in their time. This, and not much else, is the essence of leadership.
  • The old man was as American as it got, but in what she thought of as some very recently archaic way. Someone who would’ve been in charge of something, in America, when grown-ups still ran things.
  • Successful people become great leaders when they learn to shift the focus from themselves to others.
  • There are many leaders, not just one. Leadership is distributed. It resides not solely in the individual at the top, but in every person at every level who, in one way or another, acts as a leader to a group of followers - wherever in the organization that person is, whether shop steward, team head, or CEO.
  • Leadership is a quality of those who earn the respect of others through the wisdom of the combination of their words and their actions.
    • Walter Grant IV, past President — University of Redlands Whitehead Leadership Society. As quoted in Leadership Greatness: Best Practices To Become A Great Leader By Tri Junarso
  • What was leadership, after all, but the blind choice of one route over another and the confident pretence that the decision was based on reason.
  • The leader has to be practical and a realist, yet must talk the language of the visionary and the idealist.
    The leader personifies the certitude of the creed and the defiance and grandeur of power. He articulates and justifies the resentment damned up in the souls of the frustrated. He kindles the vision of a breath-taking future so as to justify the sacrifice of a transitory present. He stages a world of make-believe so indispensable for the realization of self-sacrifice and united action.
  • Winston Churchill famously claimed that of all human qualities, courage was the most esteemed, because it guaranteed all others. He was right. Courage—moral courage—is the companion of great leadership...And historically there would have been no social progress if not for the presence of specific humans dissenting and breaking from herd-inspired suspicion and fear.
    Look at today’s politicians... keen to be viewed as the virile leaders of their respective countries; eager to inflate their image by harming migrants and refugees, the most vulnerable in society. If there is courage in that, I fail to see it. Authoritarian leaders, or elected leaders inclined toward it, are bullies, deceivers, selfish cowards. If they are growing in number it is because (with exceptions) many other politicians are mediocre... focused on their own image... too afraid to stand up... If we do not change course quickly, we will inevitably encounter an incident where that first domino is tipped—triggering a sequence of unstoppable events that will mark the end of our time on this tiny planet... My hope lies in... the leaders of communities and social movements, big and small, who are willing to forfeit everything—including their lives—in defence of human rights. Their valour is unalloyed; it is selfless. There is no discretion or weakness here. They represent the best of us... There are grassroots leaders of movements against discrimination and inequalities in every region… the real store of moral courage and leadership among us..
  • The liberalist slogan “You can’t get ahead of the people” is meaningless. From what other position can one lead? From the rear? Rearguard leadership?!! A typical Yankee innovation. I think most of these irresponsible excuse-slogans are based on dread—a secret wish to avoid the discomfiture of people’s war. In all the successful class struggles and colonial wars of liberation, the vanguard elements did get ahead of the people and pull. There is no other way in forward mass movement.
  • The rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. It will not be so among you; but whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be your slave; just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve.
Ultimately a genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus, but a molder of consensus. ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Ye call me chief, and ye do well to call him chief who, for twelve long years, has met upon the arena every shape of man or beast that the broad Empire of Rome could furnish, and has never yet lowered his arm. And if there be one among you who can say that, ever, in public fight or private brawl, my actions did belie my tongue, let him step forth and say it. If there be three in all your throng dare face me on the bloody sand, let them come on! Yet I was not always thus, a hired butcher, a savage chief of still more savage men.
    • Elijah Kellogg, "Spartacus to the Gladiators"; in Wilmot B. Mitchell, Elijah Kellogg: The Man and His Work (1903), p. 206. Written by Kellogg as a student at Andover Theological Seminary in 1840–1843, and published in various books on public speaking and oratory.
  • Two things are absolutely necessary in any leader or any person that aspires, wishes, to be a leader. That is moral compass and second is empathy.
  • None has more contempt for what it is to be a man than they who make it their profession to lead the crowd.
  • Most people are indifferent, unless their self-interest is at stake. Then there are the chronic complainers. [...] Fortunately, there are those in every organization, few but invaluable, who know their responsibilities and seem to thrive on meeting them. They get things done. These are the ones we all rely upon, the people who take care of the rest of us, quiet leaders.
  • Ultimately a genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus, but a molder of consensus.
  • If someone took control of your mind and you were not able to think as yourself any longer, you would no longer be yourself. You'd be something in his command. You as an individual would be dead. That's Anti-Life. In other words, if you gave yourself to some cause, and gave up everything as an individual and you were at the beck and call of some leader, you would be dead as an individual.
  • If the proverbial man of the planet Mars would come to this earth and inquire about the difference between "leader" and "ruler" he would learn that "rulers" are strange people who dressed in ermine, wore crowns, married foreign women, kept strictly to themselves, and had the inclination to administer the country without asking the people about their wishes. A "leader," on the other hand, he would be told, is a regular fellow in a simple uniform who embodies his nation, who tries desperately to create by propaganda complete unison between his ideas and the people. A leader, he might hear, was a local boy who made good, who spoke everybody's language, who never traveled abroad and disliked titles and royal paraphernalia.
  • It was the beginning of the end of the cold war and the dawn of a new geopolitical order. Within that order, the nature of politics and leaders changed. The Trudeau approach to leadership, where a figure is known by style rather than substance, has become entrenched. Marshall McLuhan, that great prophet of the 1960s, predicted "The politician will be only too happy to abdicate in favor of his image, because the image will be so much more powerful than he could ever be." The political leaders of the 1968 generation who have come to power, such as Bill Clinton in the United States or Tony Blair in the United Kingdom, have shown an intuitive fluency with this concept of leadership.
  • A leader is best when people barely know he exists; Not so good when people obey and acclaim him; worst when they despise him; but a good leader who talks little when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say "We did it our selves!"
  • Superior leaders get things done with very little motion. They impart instruction not through many words, but through a few deeds. They keep informed about everything but interfere hardly at all. They are catalysts, and though things would not get done as well if they were not there, when they succeed they take no credit. And, because they take no credit, credit never leaves them.
    • Laozi, as quoted in Growing the Distance: Timeless Principles for Personal, Career, and Family Success (1999) by Jim Clemmer, p. 137
  • Bad leaders make you feel bad about yourself. Good leaders make you feel good about them. The best leaders make you feel good about yourself. The great leaders are like the best conductors — they reach beyond the notes to reach the magic in the players.
    • Blaine Lee, in The Power Principle : Influence With Honor (1998), p. 272
  • I cannot consent to place in the control of others one who cannot control himself.
    • Robert E. Lee, in a comment regarding officers who became inebriated, as quoted in Personal Reminiscences, Anecdotes, and Letters of Gen. Robert E. Lee (1874) by John William Jones, p. 170
  • There go the people. I must follow them, for I am their leader.
    • An unknown comedian is quoted as saying "il faut bien que je les suive, puisque je suis leur chef", Galerie des Contemporains Illustres, vol. 3 (1841), M. Mauguin p. 6; see also Revue Britannique, ser. 6, vol. 30 (1850), p. 342. Attributed to Alexandre Ledru-Rollin, one of the leaders of the February Revolution of 1848 in France, Eugène de Mirecourt, Histoire Contemporaine, No. 79 (1857). James Michael Curley uses this quotation as an epigraph at the beginning of chapter 4 of his autobiography, I'd Do It Again (1957), p. 44, and attributes it to a French Revolutionist. Attribution to Gandhi of "I must follow the people for I am their leader" is made by Leon Howell, "The Delta Ministry", Christianity and Crisis (August 8, 1966), p. 192. Alvin R. Calman, Ledru-Rollin and the Second French Republic (Studies in History, Economics and Public Law), vol. 103, no. 2, (1922), p. 374, says Ledru-Rollin's use of "I am their chief; I must follow them" is probably apocryphal.
  • The final test of a leader is that he leaves behind him in other men the conviction and the will to carry on. ... The genius of a good leader is to leave behind him a situation which common sense, without the grace of genius, can deal with successfully.
No man is great enough or wise enough for any of us to surrender our destiny to. The only way in which anyone can lead us is to restore to us the belief in our own guidance. ~ Henry Miller
  • The art of leading, in operations large or small, is the art of dealing with humanity, of working diligently on behalf of men, of being sympathetic with them, but equally, of insisting that they make a square facing toward their own problems.
    • S. L. A. Marshall in Men Against Fire : The Problem of Battle Command in Future War (1954), p. 160
  • If you're a leader, you don't push wet spaghetti, you pull it. The U.S. Army still has to learn that. The British understand it. Patton understood it. I always admired Patton. Oh, sure, the stupid bastard was crazy. He was insane. He thought he was living in the Dark Ages. Soldiers were peasants to him. I didn't like that attitude, but I certainly respected his theories and the techniques he used to get his men out of their foxholes.
  • Leaders touch a heart before they ask for a hand.
    • John C. Maxwell, in "Leaders Touch a Heart before They Ask for a Hand", in Josh McDowell's Youth Ministry Handbook: Making the Connection (2000), Ch. 14
  • Leaders are not necessarily popular. For soldiers, the choice between popularity and effectiveness is ultimately no choice at all. Soldiers want to win; their survival depends on it. They will accept, and even take pride in, the quirks and shortcomings of a leader if they believe he can produce success.
    • Stanley A. McChrystal, My Share of the Task (2013), p. 392
  • The real leader has no need to lead — he is content to point the way.
    • Henry Miller, "The Wisdom of the Heart" in The Wisdom of the Heart (1941)
  • No man is great enough or wise enough for any of us to surrender our destiny to. The only way in which anyone can lead us is to restore to us the belief in our own guidance.
  • One can lead a nation only by helping it see a bright outlook. A leader is a dealer in hope.
    • Napoleon I of France, in Napoleon : In His Own Words (1916) edited by Jules Bertaut, as translated by Herbert Edward Law and Charles Lincoln Rhodes
Lead, follow or get out of the way! ~ George S. Patton
  • When the word leader, or leadership, returns to current use, it connotes a relapse into barbarism. For a civilized people, it is the most ominous word in any language.
  • Wars may be fought with weapons, but they are won by men. It is the spirit of the men who follow and of the man who leads that gains the victory.
  • Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do, and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.
  • We herd sheep, we drive cattle, we lead people. Lead me, follow me, or get out of my way.
    • George S. Patton, as quoted in Pocket Patriot : Quotes from American Heroes (2005) edited by Kelly Nickell, p. 157
  • He who has God alone for his leader, he alone is free.
    • Philo, Every Good Man is Free, 20
  • Do I look for good managers or good leaders? Let us bury that old distinction. Good managers are good leaders, and good leaders are good managers. But great leaders have a special touch that separates them from managers. Good management gets 100 percent of a team's designed capability. Great leaders seek a higher ground. They take their followers to 110, 120, 150 percent of what anyone thought was possible. Great leaders do not just motivate followers; they inspire them.
    • Colin Powell, It Worked For Me: In Life and Leadership (2012), p. 99
  • "What is a leader?" people ask me. My simple answer: "Someone unafraid to take charge. Someone people respond to and are willing to follow." I believe that leaders must be born with a natural connection and affinity to others, which then must be encouraged and developed by parents and teachers and molded by training, experience, and mentoring. You can learn to be a better leader. And you can also waste your natural talents by ceasing to learn and grow.
    • Colin Powell, It Worked For Me: In Life and Leadership (2012), p. 101
  • Emotional intelligence is the foundation of leadership. It balances flexibility with toughness, vision with passion, compassion with justice.
    • Amit Ray Mindfulness Meditation for Corporate Leadership and Management (2017)
  • You cannot be a leader, and ask other people to follow you, unless you know how to follow, too.
    • Sam Rayburn, The Leadership of Speaker Sam Rayburn, Collected Tributes of His Congressional Colleagues (1961), p. 34. House Doc. 87–247. "A compilation of tributes paid him in the Hall of the House of Representatives, June 12, 1961, and other pertinent material, to celebrate the occasion of his having served as Speaker twice as long as any of his predecessors in the history of the United States: Sixteen years and 273 days" (title page)
  • The future is taking shape now in our own beliefs and in the courage of our leaders. Ideas and leadership — not natural or social "forces" — are the prime movers in human affairs.
  • Could the terrors and crimes of today be possible if both Origins had been balanced? In the hands of woman lies the salvation of humanity and of our planet. Woman must realize her significance... she should be prepared to take responsibility for the destiny of humanity. Mother, the life-giver, has every right to direct the destiny of her children. The voice of woman, the mother, should be heard amongst the leaders of humanity. The mother suggests the first conscious thoughts to her child. She gives direction and quality to all his aspirations and abilities. But the mother who possesses no thought of culture can suggest only the lower expressions of human nature.
    But in her striving toward education, woman must remember that all educational systems are only the means for the development of a higher knowledge and culture. The true culture of thought is developed by the culture of spirit and heart. Only such a combination gives that great synthesis without which it is impossible to realize the real grandeur, diversity, and complexity of human life in its cosmic evolution. Therefore, while striving to knowledge, may woman remember the Source of Light and the Leaders of Spirit—those great Minds who, verily, created the consciousness of humanity. In approaching this Source, this leading Principle of Synthesis, humanity will find the way to real evolution.
Leadership grows from self-confidence. ~ Hannah Louise Shearer
I will not go where the path may lead, but I will go instead where there is no path, and I will leave a trail. ~ Muriel Strode
Knowing your limitations is one thing. Advertising them to a crew can damage your credibility as a leader. ~ Melinda M. Snodgrass
  • Serve To Lead
    • Motto of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, located in Sandhurst, Berkshire, England. RMA Sandhurst has served as the officer training school of the British Army since the former's foundation in 1802.
  • With the changes in technological complexity, especially in information technology, the leadership task has changed. Leadership in a networked organization is a fundamentally different thing from leadership in a traditional hierarchy.
  • The art of leadership is in the ability to make people want to work for you, while they are really under no obligation to do so. Leaders are people, who raise the standards by which they judge themselves and by which they are willing to be judged. The goal chosen, the objective selected, the requirements imposed, are not mainly for their followers alone.
    They develop with consumate energy and devotion, their own skill and knowledge in order to reach the standard they themselves have set.
    This whole-hearted acceptance of the demands imposed by even higher standards is the basis of all human progress. A love of higher quality, we must remember, is essential in a leader.
  • William T. Riker: Wes, responsibility and authority go hand in hand. I know you're responsible, now we've got to teach you a little bit of authority. One of the reasons you've been given command is so you can make a few right decisions, that will establish a pattern of success and help build self-confidence. If you don't trust your own judgment, you don't belong in the command chair.
    Wesley Crusher: But what if I'm wrong?
    William T. Riker: Then you're wrong. It's arrogant to think you'll never make a mistake.
    Wesley Crusher: But what if it's something really important. I mean, not just a mineral survey. What if someone dies because I made a mistake?
    William T. Riker: In your position, it's important to ask yourself one question. What would Picard do?
    Wesley Crusher: He'd listen to everyone's opinion, then make his own decision. But he's Captain Picard.
  • Beverly Crusher: Data, telling us why you're going to fail before you make the attempt is never wise.*
    Data: But is not honesty always the preferred choice?
    Jean-Luc Picard: Excessive honesty can be disastrous, particularly in a commander.
    Data: Indeed?
    Jean-Luc Picard: Knowing your limitations is one thing. Advertising them to a crew can damage your credibility as a leader.
  • I will not follow where the path may lead; instead I will go where there is no path and leave a trail.
    • Muriel Strode, from My Little Book of Prayer, Open Court Publishing (1905). p. 11 (commonly and incorrectly attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson)
  • As we, the leaders, deal with tomorrow, our task is not to try to make perfect plans. Our task is to create organizations that are sufficiently flexible and versatile that they can take our imperfect plans and make them work in execution. That is the essential character of the learning organization.
  • Leadership: whatever happens, you're responsible. If it doesn't happen, you're responsible.
  • One cannot assert authority by accepting one's own fallibility. Simply, people need to be blinded by knowledge - we are made to follow leaders who can gather people together because the advantages of being in groups trump the disadvantages of being alone. It has been more profitable for us to bind together in the wrong direction than to be alone in the right one. Those who have followed the assertive idiot rather than the introspective wise person have passed us some of their genes. This is apparent from a social pathology: psychopaths rally followers.
    • Nassim Nicholas Taleb, The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable (2007) Ch. 12: Epistemocracy, a Dream, p. 192.
  • I suppose men are born with traits that can be cultivated in the direction of leadership. But there is also no doubt that leadership can be cultivated The idea of any man being born an army commander or being born to be a theater commander, such as General Eisenhower, just isn’t so. The characteristics of leadership, necessarily has to have certain decisiveness and confidence come from knowledge based on studies and training. The fundamental thing is your basic knowledge, the development of your mind, and your ability to apply this knowledge as you go along your military career.
    • Lucian Truscott, as quoted in Nineteen Stars: A Study in Military Character & Leadership (CA: Presidio, 1971), by Edgar F. Puryear, Jr.— in answer to the question of whether leaders are born or made posed by author.
  • Character is what you are. Reputation is what others think you are. The reason that some fail to climb the ladder of success, or of leadership if you want to call it that, is that there is a difference between reputation and character. The two do not always coincide. A man may be considered to have sterling character. Opportunity might come to that man; but if he has the reputation for something he is not, he may fail that opportunity. I think character is the foundation of successful leadership.
    • Lucian Truscott, as quoted in Air Force Journal of Logistics, March 22, 2005, Notable quotes
  • Remember, I have not appointed you as commanders and tyrants over the people. I have sent you as leaders instead, so that the people may follow your example. Give the Muslims their rights and do not beat them lest they become abused. Do not praise them unduly, lest they fall into the error of conceit. Do not keep your doors shut in their faces, lest the more powerful of them eat up the weaker ones. And do not behave as if you were superior to them, for that is tyranny over them.
    • Umar as quoted in Omar the Great : The Second Caliph Of Islam (1962) by Muhammad Shibli Numani, Vol. 2, p. 33
  • Narcissism is often the driving force behind the desire to obtain a leadership position. Perhaps individuals with strong narcissistic personality features are more willing to undertake the arduous process of attaining a position of power.
    • Manfred F.R. Kets de Vries and Danny Miller. "Narcissism and leadership: An object relations perspective." Human Relations 38.6 (1985): 583-601
  • 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, attributed, The 101 Greatest Business Principles of All Time
  • In organizations, real power and energy is generated through relationships. The patterns of relationships and the capacities to form them are more important than tasks, functions, roles, and positions.
    • Margaret Wheatley, as quoted in 100 Ways to Motivate Yourself (2004) by Steve Chandler, p. 123
  • A great nation is not led by a man who simply repeats the talk of the street-corners or the opinions of the newspapers. A nation is led by a man who hears more than those things; or who, rather, hearing those things, understands them better, unites them, puts them into a common meaning; speaks, not the rumors of the street, but a new principle for a new age; a man in whose ears the voices of the nation do not sound like the accidental and discordant notes that come from the voice of a mob, but concurrent and concordant like the united voices of a chorus, whose many meanings, spoken by melodious tongues, unite in his understanding in a single meaning and reveal to him a single vision, so that he can speak what no man else knows, the common meaning of the common voice. Such is the man who leads a great, free, democratic nation.
    • Woodrow Wilson, president of Princeton, address, "Abraham Lincoln: A Man of the People", Chicago, Illinois (February 12, 1909); in Arthur S. Link, ed., The Papers of Woodrow Wilson (1975), vol. 19, p. 42
  • If we were at war and wanted to choose a leader most capable of helping us to save ourselves and conquer the enemy, should we choose one whom we knew to be the slave of the belly, or of wine, or lust, or sleep?

Author unknown

  • Some citizens are so good that nothing a leader can do will make them better. Others are so incorrigible that nothing can be done to improve them. But the great bulk of the people go with the moral tide of the moment. The leader must help create that tide.
    • Author unknown. Reported in Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations (1989) as attributed to a nineteenth century Japanese philosopher by John W. Gardner, as quoted by Edward P. Morgan in his syndicated column. The Washington Post (September 29, 1970), p. A18

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