Work Culture

10 insightful quotes from true leaders

By on July 21, 2016

Every now and then we come across quotes on leadership from some of the brightest minds. We read, analyse and interpret these according to our own understanding. We either believe that these leaders believed in these statements and that’s how they achieved their current position. Or we see these as guidelines for becoming as great as those who said them.

All of us, at some point, have aspired to be a leader. But what is it that transforms a normal person into an extraordinary leader. Is it a natural talent? Is it a skill that can be learned?

There are different perceptions as to what truly makes a leader. Leadership has been defined differently by many poets, authors, philosophers, business tycoons, political leaders and famous actors. While the path to becoming a leader may be different, the crux of it has remained consistent across everyone’s definition.

There is something to learn from each of these beautiful quotes. They explain how a leader has to conduct himself, what it means to be a leader or the goals that every leader should achieve.


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

Ralph Waldo Emerson – Poet and philosopher


People like to be inspired. They know they are capable of achieving greater heights with the right push. As kids most of us looked up to our parents or teachers for inspiration. As we grow up, we still look for such figures to help us become the best version of ourselves.


“True leaders understand that leadership is not about them but about those they serve. It is not about exalting themselves but about lifting others up.”

Sheri L. Dew – Author

True leaders never glorify their achievements. You have to give more importance to developing your followers and making sure they succeed in all their endeavours.


“In the simplest terms, a leader is one who knows where he wants to go, and gets up and goes.”

John Erskine – Author

Before you guide others, you need to have a clear vision of what you intend to achieve. You make a plan and start working on how best you can achieve your goals.


“Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.”

Jack Welch – former GE CEO, Chairman

As an individual, you are mainly concerned about your own growth and how it will fit into company goals. But when you become a leader, you are responsible for all your followers. The parameters for your success are determined by how many leaders you have created from your followers.


“What you do has far greater impact than what you say.”

Stephen Covey – Author, businessman and speaker

A leader has to lead by example. Everything sounds good in theory. You could impart wisdom on how to perform certain activities and chances are only a few would be able to grasp it. Instead you need to take initiative and show how it is done. It becomes a lot easier for others to see how it is actually done.


“To lead people, walk beside them. As for the best leaders, the people do not notice their existence … When the best leader’s work is done, the people say, ‘We did it ourselves!’”

Lao Tzu – Philosopher

Help others achieve their goals but do not expect recognition for the same. Encourage them to perform better in a way they believe it was due to their efforts. Make them believe in themselves.


“Effective leadership is not about making speeches or being liked; leadership is defined by results not attributes.”

Peter Drucker

You are not there to become popular but to motivate others to perform better. You could be a great orator but unless it is reflected in an increase in productivity you are not a good leader. The organisation seeks results and it is the only measure of success.


“Leadership is hard to define and good leadership even harder. But if you can get people to follow you to the ends of the earth, you are a great leader.”

Indra Nooyi – Chairperson and CEO, PepsiCo

As simple as that. Your leadership can truly be appreciated when your followers trust you explicitly and are willing to follow any path you take.


“As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others.”

Bill Gates – Entrepreneur, philanthropist

It is not sufficient to just instruct others on how to perform better. You must empower them to an extent that are able to take decisions by themselves. This brings in a sense of accountability leading to increase in productivity.


“Don’t let being a woman hold you back from the leader that you’re destined to be.”

Jamie Farsnel – Due

And more importantly, genders does not in any way determine your abilities. If you have the vision and the determination, whether you are a man or a woman, people will willingly follow you.

What other quotes do inspire you? Share with us in the comments.

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