49 Quotes About Being a Leader Not a Follower


Being a successful leader means that you embrace certain ideals that go against the norm. These quotes about being a leader and not a follower highlight some of the core characteristics needed to be successful.

“A good leader leads the people from above them. A great leader leads the people from within them.”

“A great person attracts great people and knows how to hold them together.”

“A leader is a dealer in hope.”

“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.”

“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.”

“A leader takes people where they would never go on their own.”

“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.”

“A man always has two reasons for doing anything: a good reason and the real reason.”

“A man who wants to lead the orchestra must turn his back on the crowd.”

“Always remember, Son, the best boss is the one who bosses the least. Whether it’s cattle, or horses, or men; the least government is the best government.”

“Anyone can hold the helm when the sea is calm.”

“Average leaders raise the bar on themselves; good leaders raise the bar for others; great leaders inspire others to raise their own bar.”

“Become the kind of leader that people would follow voluntarily, even if you had no title or position.”

“Being responsible sometimes means pissing people off.”

“Do you know that one of the great problems of our age is that we are governed by people who care more about feelings than they do about thoughts and ideas?”

“Don’t blow off another’s candle for it won’t make yours shine brighter.”

“Don’t tell people how to do things, tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results.”

“Don’t waste your energy trying to educate or change opinions; go over, under, through, and opinions will change organically when you’re the boss. Or they won’t. Who cares? Do your thing, and don’t care if they like it.”

“Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing.”

“I cannot give you a formula for success, but I can give you the formula for failure, which is: try to please everybody.”

“I cannot trust a man to control others who cannot control himself.”

“If you really want the key to success, start by doing the opposite of what everyone else is doing.”

“If you spend your life trying to be good at everything, you will never be great at anything.”

“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.”

“If you would convince a man that he does wrong, do right. But do not care to convince him. Men will believe what they see. Let them see.”

“In the end, it is important to remember that we cannot become what we need to be by remaining what we are.”

“It’s hard to lead a cavalry charge if you think you look funny on a horse.”

“Keep your fears to yourself, but share your courage with others.”

“Leaders must be close enough to relate to others, but far enough ahead to motivate them.”

“Leadership is an action, not a position.”

“Leadership is not about titles, positions, or flow charts. It is about one life influencing another.”

“Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.”

“Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.”

“My job is not to be easy on people. My job is to take these great people we have and to push them and make them even better.”

“Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.”

“People buy into the leader before they buy into the vision.”

“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.”

“Remember, teamwork begins by building trust. And the only way to do that is to overcome our need for invulnerability.”

“Show me the man you honor and I will know what kind of man you are.”

“Surround yourself with great people; delegate authority; get out of the way”

“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.”

“The challenge of leadership is to be strong but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not a bully; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly.”

“The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things.”

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

“The very essence of leadership is that you have to have vision. You can’t blow an uncertain trumpet.”

“There is a difference between being a leader and being a boss. Both are based on authority. A boss demands blind obedience; a leader earns his authority through understanding and trust.”

“When you put together deep knowledge about a subject that intensely matters to you, charisma happens. You gain courage to share your passion, and when you do that, folks follow.”

“Wisdom equals knowledge plus courage. You have to not only know what to do and when to do it, but you have to also be brave enough to follow through.”

“You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.”

Choosing to follow first is what is required to leader later.

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