Sweet 16 Potent Leadership Quotes – You Decide
It’s easy to confuse and difficult to clarify. Confusion drives us toward clarity. Clarity allows us to act.
I’m looking for your perspective and insights on this set of Leadership Freak quotes. Will you grab one or more and expand, correct, clarify, and/or modify it.
The Sweet 16:
- Don’t let the stupid things others do be the reason you do stupid things.
- When we believe that we matter and what we do matters, we lead from within.
- Dream, imagine, think, and plan all you want. Nothing happens until you take the first step.
- Fearing failure is a sure way to fail.
- If you plan to grow a business, plan to grow people.
- Don’t narrow the dream, expand the team. From: “Dream Builders”
- It’s amazing how a good word motivates better than a criticism. See the bad, say the good.
- The advantage of a poor memory is I’m constantly coming up with new ideas!
- Hey give yourself permission to make a difference. If not you, who?
- If you hide your failures, you’ll fail. From: “Open Leadership – The Failure Imperative”
- If you can reach your vision with your current resources, you need a bigger vision!
- You don’t see you like others see you. From: “Spotting Blind Spots”
- Enjoying approval is healthy. Needing it is sick.
- What’s worse than failure? Succeeding at what doesn’t matter.
- The more leaders focus on “what” the more effective they are.
- People that can’t decide what they like end up liking nothing.
“Don’t let the stupid things others do be the reason you do stupid things.”
Self-sabotage includes short-sighted behaviors excused by our frustration with irritants like failed systems and incompetent people. Unmanaged frustration seldom succeeds.
What do these leadership quotes make you think? (Expand, correct, clarify, modify)
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Dan, the comments will fly today – good work.
I love the first one, which you’ve already expanded on. I told my kids, “Act like people you want to be like.” When you other people’s stupid acts drive yours, you’re acting like people you don’t like.
Re #3, I’m reminded of several sayings: You eat an elephant one bite at a time, but you’ll never eat it without taking the first bite; a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step . . . We’ve all heard them. But, props to J.R.R. Tolkein, (pardon the looseness of the quote) “It’s a dangerous business stepping out your front door . . .” because you never know where the journey will take you or how it will change you.
“Act like people you want to be like” Thanks for that.
I’ll add, I want to be like people who like me. Not all of course but I tend to be influenced by people who like me rather than those who don’t. Which leads me to say, like the people you want to influence..
Well, you made me think, Thank you.
If you hide your failure, you will fail. I agree and appreciate this thought. I also agree that unmanaged frustration seldom succeeds. These leadership quotes make me to think about experience, direction, strategy and different ways of failing. I think we should learn more what causes failure than what causes success. I always think about fear and courage in leadership vision. Fear is good as long as it directs and makes your focus clearer. It is not good, when it distracts your direction and lessens your effort. Courage is outcomes of truth and strong self esteem. Fearful people do not have courage. People with moral values have courage to think, act and achieve.
“I think we should learn more what causes failure than what causes success.” — Another nugget. Thanks.
I can see the value of learning what causes failure because often it means identifying things go stop. Stopping is powerful because it gives us room to start.
Thanks for consistently sharing your insights.
My favorite all time Leadership Quote:
“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people together to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.” -Antoine de Saint-Exupery
The applications are endless…
Wow… that quotes makes me ache inside. Thank you.
I love this quote! MMF
Yes! A wise quote from a man who courageously lived his words!
Dan, I believe that your blog would be enriched if comments were displayed directly beneath your post and could be seen by scrolling down. Fred Wilson’s blog is a good example. I think you would get a lot more comments and healthy debate which would increase the value and enjoyment of reading your blog. Leadership includes encouragement of listening to and engaging with others, not just talking at them.
I see your point. I wish I was a techie who could make those adjustments. I’m using a free wordpress template and the free wordpress hosting service. I’ve about reached my technical ability. Thanks for the suggestion and if anyone can put feet to Melissa’s suggestion, I’m open.
BTW: I’m all about the discussion. It’s a central motivator for writing this blog.
5.If you plan to grow a business, plan to grow people.
As a whole, people want to be a part of something and they are eager to be involved in new experiences. I think often times Leaders try to control too much instead of loosening the reins and taking the time to coach and mentor those eager employees. Mentoring and coaching may take time and money in the short run, but it pays dividends a thousand times over in the long run.
Thanks for some brain candy.
You made me think about the passion in people’s hearts that frequently gets snuffed out by organizations and lousy leaders.
It’s all about the people. People, not systems, make things happen.
When we believe that we matter and what we do matters, we lead from within…Johnny the Bagger by Ken Blanchard and Barbara Glanz provides a stunning example of leadership through service. This amazing young man helped to turn a grocery store around by believing that he could make a difference. The book is an enjoyable, quick read that helps to clarify the leadership quote above. nanC
Thanks for giving a shout out to the Blanchard team and their new book.
Hi Dan –
Very thought provoking material today.
Fear is such a powerful force in society lately. Sometimes we forget that courage is not the absence of fear, but rather, being afraid, knowing our fear, and choosing to act anyway.
Thanks for posting.
Delighted to see you back today. Thank you.
“Negative” emotions like fear and anger have their place…It think mostly as motivators. I wonder about the connections between fear, anger, and love?
#17. If you wait until you get directions from others, you could wait a long time.
#4. Fearing failure is a sure way to fail.
Most leaders fear failing. It’s not the emotion of fear that determines whether we will fail or not, but what we do with the fear. Does it paralyze? Or do we choose to move forward anyway? Fear of failure leads to failure if it prevents us from action.
Your last sentence adds clarity and real punch to the problem of fearing failure. Good stuff.
Leading is all about action…what’s getting done.
I’m glad you chimed in today.
I look forward to your posts. The format works so well and the content always stimulates thoughts and ideas. Today’s post is great. I am forwarding it to a select group.
I am passionate about my own leadership and helping others to clarify and amplify their leadership vision, voice and style. Here is one of my favorite quotes…”Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” – Howard Thurman
What a powerful quote you added. Joseph Campbell said, “Follow your bliss.” You might say follow what energizes you.
Thanks for the good word and for passing LF to others. I appreciate it.
It’s funny, because I am a “quotes guy,” but none of these really grabbed me. I would have simply read the list and moved on to other things.
An exercise we did with 30 people and Max DePree’s little book “Leadership is an Art” had them read the book overnight and then share their two favorite leadership quotes. We got 50 different ones that were selected!
My favorite: “We cannot become what we want to be by remaining what we are.”
Dan, it is a good list. But it just does not seem all that inspriing. And yes, I have a cup of coffee this morning!
Hi Dr. Scott,
Thanks for dropping in. I notice you’ve been around a few times and I hope you keep coming back.
Thanks also for leaving a useful quote. I find wisdom and simplicity go hand in hand.
Without failure, there is no change, growth, learning, or innovation. Recent research shows that individuals who have a healthy relationship with failure, have a greater capacity to succeed.
What might that look like?
When failure happens, blame does not.
When failure happens, the perspective is “how fascinating” rather than “how awful”.
When failure happens, it’s not hidden.
When failure happens, it is not the end, it is does not halt action. Rather it is fodder for action.
You gave us a bucket load of insight. Thank you.
My favorite is: “Individuals who have a healthy relationship with failure, have a greater capacity to succeed.” So true!
I’m glad you shared your thoughts today.
I really enjoy your train of thought with this one. It really is about learning to deal with failure. As a parent, teacher, coach…I see too often when kids are not allowed to learn how to fail. It is a learned behavior, after all, and those who do everything they can to avoid failure, stunt the capacity for success. Great food for thought! MMF
Thanks Dan. I’m enjoying your posts and appreciate the invitation to participate. Megan I don’t know about you, but I sure wish schools could change their relationship with failure too–imagine the impact of that!
Reblogged this on Jots & Thoughts and commented:
i passed these on to my brother, who needs some serious motivation!
Something new and interesting to read and digest. Yet not all quotes are really appealing. I liked No. 6 & 11. Don’t limit your dreams if you can spot dream builders, people with a positive attitude and the will to contribute with operational freedom and the encouragement to try out new innovative things with a rationale.Again, your vision has to be great and challenging type, which compels you to stretch your limits and build on your capabilities to build the future of your choice and of mega size.
Great things what good leaders should consider to remain successful in the long-run.
Dear Dr. Asher,
Great seeing you today. Thanks for stopping in.
You make me think about the power of vision. Leaders can’t lead without a vision because they don’t know where they’re going.
#1 kind of reminds me of something I heard growing often up – tell me who you run with and I’ll tell you what you are. Who we choose as friends, co-workers, and even acquaintances can define other’s perceptions of us.
In a sense, the people around us make us and followers make leaders.
4. Fearing failure is a sure way to fail.
While each and every goal, idea, plan, operation, mission, opportunity, and road to success will have different outcomes the one common factor in all is failure. Failure is ALWAYS an option, regardless of what Hollywood and motivational speakers want to convey to the contrary. In benign situations (the typical situations we all find ourselves in on a daily basis) a leader should plan for the worst case scenario as a viable option; the proverbial “Plan B”. It’s an extension of the old Boy Scout motto, “Be Prepared”. Fearing failure should not be the focus toward achieivng a goal as that only serves to cloud objectivity in trying to avoid it, but respecting failure as an outcome can serve to provide a collective incentive toward seeking alternative outcomes.
Apollo 13, the popular example cited for use of the phrase, “Failure is not an option.” oddly exhibited the contrasting idea that failure WAS an option. For the crew and mission control the common goal was to get the crew home alive and well. But… the avoidence of death was more urgent and immediate for the crew themselves, and not the technicians at Mission Control. Hence, for the crew the situation placed them with the overriding goal of not dying. For Mission Control the goal was not letting the crew die; the technicians themselves not being in immediate danger. This allowed Mission Control to focus more objectivity and applied thought toward the problem of keeping the crew alive and less about the fear of failure as a motivation.
A prepared leader will embrace failure as an option, but not as an alternative.
Great seeing you again. Right on… “Failure IS an option”
Leaders who tell others failure is not an option create environments where people don’t try. They play it safe.
Thanks for driving home an important idea.
#11 If you can reach your vision with your current resources, you need a bigger vision!
or If you can reach your vision with your current resources, congrats you probably actually have your mission!
or If you can reach your vision with your current resources, you need a bigger telescope.
This one does overlap with others of course.
If you are on the cusp of attaining your ‘vision’, your process of identifying your vision and the way points toward it may need a new perspective with emphasis on a more distant event horizon. Often, left brainers may opt for a more constrained ‘brainstorm’ thinking they have developed a vision when it may be more of the mission or goal setting. Nothing wrong with that at all and in fact is needed…after a clearer vision is seen.
The other issue with the original statement is ‘current resources’ which is very rational, grounded and financially perhaps with less to no risk. Current resources can imply doing the same thing with the same people and getting the same results–there is no discomfort in that and certainly no motivation to change. Current resources may lead to a plateauing effect which then moves into stagnation. A different approach may be with 10% less/more resources what might we do? Again there is a perceptual box there that needs to be evaluated and perhaps deconstructed.
And Dan…#8!? New ideas…new friends…new clothes…I hear Talking Heads—this is not my beautiful house, this is not my beautiful wife..where does this road lead to?
Doc you remind me of a joke: First anniversary, my wife and I found a great restaurant. We went back the next year. On our twentieth anniversary we went back out of nostalgia. On our 40th anniversary we went back because it was nice and close. On our 60th we went because we’d never eaten there before and everyone says it’s so nice.
Thanks for making me laugh.
There are many politicians that should read quote number 1!
“Don’t let the stupid things others do be the reason you do stupid things.”
Fearing failure is a sure way to fail.
I’m nearing 40 years old. This one simple phrase, if I lived it years ago, could have altered my entire life. Upside – It is altering the rest of my life.
As a Man Thinketh, so shall he be. Mindset is everything. I will fail and I will succeed from the failures. Thank you failure!
What’s worse than failure? Succeeding at what doesn’t matter.
At end of a productive day I always try to see if my successes took us closer to the goal, unfortunately sometimes they didn’t or even worse, they moved us backwards…interesting introspection…you can feel good about something you did, but did that something actually mattered? Is “my” success equal to “our” success?
Thanks again for the valuable thoughts.
From Russ Ackoff’s “Management f-Laws – how organizations really work” and “Systems Thinking for Curious Managers with 40 New Management f-Laws” here are a few examples:
* The size of a CEO’s bonus is directly proportional to how much more the company would have lost had it not been for him or her.
* The less managers expect of their subordinates, the less they get.
* The “sine qua non” [indispensable and essential action, condition, or ingredient] of leadership is talent, and talent cannot be taught.
* Managers who don’t know how to measure what they want settle for wanting what they can measure.
Both of these books can be bought on Amazon.com or from the publisher Triarchy Press. Ackoff explains each of his Management f-Laws. Both books are fun reads, especially if you like a writer who manipulates the English language to his own advantage.
Enjoy and hope you are progressing in your recuperation.
Thanks for this list. I am challenged by great quotes and there are several in your list. The one that compels me to comment is #7 “See the bad. Say the good.” This could be my life’s mantra. On the heels of reading several great resources for positive psychology: John Gottman, Dr. Martin Seligman, Chip and Dan Heath (the authors of Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard). This one simple instruction changes everything. People respond to positive…even if there is plenty reason for negativity. It is concrete and applicable in an immediate way. Thanks for this…
My day got away from me and I ran out of time to do much of a comment. However, my fave is this: 14.What’s worse than failure? Succeeding at what doesn’t matter..
And another personal favorite is a Brian Tracy quote: Only 3 percent of adults have written goals, and everyone else works for them.
Great collection of quotes today!
– If you can reach your vision with your current resources, you need a bigger vision!
This is great… and SO painfully frustrating. You know you’re trying to improve if it’s a struggle to get there. Nothing of any significance was ever accomplished without a little blood/sweat/tears.
“Dream. Believe. Act. Achieve.” is my company’s tag line. it was really important to me to get action in as without it coaching, dreaming and imagining stop there and never come to fruition.
Also, your comments do come up beneath your blog for me- I just scroll down.
Thanks, as ever, for your thoughts :o)
# 3 …take the first step. So true. We have to see ourselves doing what we propose. With the small step we start learning right away and engage in finding out how our ideas will work. Test and learn!
I didn’t look at the previous comments because I don’t want to taint mine. So, forgive me if I’m repetitive. In my view, I would combine quotes 3 and 4.
3. Dream, imagine, think, and plan all you want. Nothing happens until you take the first step.
4. Fearing failure is a sure way to fail.
I think they are both saying something really important: nothing comes from inaction. In a world where many are comfortable with the “hero” concept, most think that great leaders simply become who they are because of an exceptional strand of DNA. None of the great people we admire got where they are by just doing nothing. Often times, greatness starts with curiosity, followed by investigation, analysis, testing, and practice. They cycle continues over and over till you become a Steve Jobs, or a Reed Hastings, or Bernard Arnault. Somewhere in that cycle, passion comes in to help you deal with the most difficult times in your journey of discovery.
So my takeaway here is that when you become overwhelmed with all the things you realize you don’t know or haven’t experienced, don’t let the fear of failure set in. You need to accept your fate and move from asking a lot of questions to asking the right ones. You won’t get all the answers you think you need, but you should have just enough to move on to the next stage in your growth ambition.
Failure and ambiguity are such beautiful concepts. Embrace them and you’ll be the exceptional person you always wanted to be.
These are great. I’m particularly interested in #9 “Hey give yourself permission to make a difference. If not you, who?” I really react to the word “permission” (including when my clients use it). It definitely shows that people feel constrained–often by forces that they themselves have invented. What if we thought about it as “You owe it to yourself to make a differencet.” or “You have an obligation to make a difference.” Anyway, I love the quote and think it reveals something really interesting about power and dynamics in today’s organizations. That’s for a thought provoking post!
Just because a monkey picks up a gun doesn’t mean that you should load it for him.
Execution is absolutely essential. Dan, you have nailed one of the great barriers to actual accomplishment.
However, I would note that this statement implies a linear process where we engage in creative thinking, then move on to execution. I believe that the process of doing involves a continuing dance between creative and critical thinking.
After all, most of our visions which form during the creative stages change and morph, due to new information or discoveries, or as we gain additional insight from trying to execute a not-quite-perfect plan..
In other words, create/act is a continuous and repetitive process.
I’d also suggest changing the wording of the sentence to “Dream, imagine, think, and plan … then do it.”
For some folks, that “all you want” is a bottomless pit. I know, because I used to be one of them and still suffer occasional relapses into what can only be called “stalling”.
Thanks for a thoughtful and enjoyable start to my Saturday:)
Oops – should have included that I am referring to No. 3: 3.Dream, imagine, think, and plan all you want. Nothing happens until you take the first step.
Got so excited about posting I was beside myself:)
Catching up on my reading from last week and I’m so glad I didn’t miss this. Hope you don’t mind me saying so, but I enjoy reading the comments your posts generate almost as much as your posts. Many are obviously so thoughtful.
My favorite: If you plan to grow a business, plan to grow people. In my experience, too few managers want to make an effort to bring out the best in their employees so that the organization is better than the sum of it’s parts. A great team succeeds due to supportive strengths working for a common vision; not by being a bunch of little soldiers.
My Favorite is #9 ‘Hey give yourself permission to make a difference. If not you, who?’
This reminds me of Albert Einstein quote: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”
More often than not people are too scared to take a different path/approach. We all flow with the norm, after all we are almost too certain about the outcome, hence we barely dare to make a difference.
Mostly we assume & sometimes hope that the difference we seek should be taken by others while we wait to see the outcome.
Men who have birth new ideas,
Companies who have revolutionized product innovations,
Organisations Redefining the Term ‘Business Flexibility’ & Innovative Management in a Diversifying World,
Technology experts introducing a more friendly & easy to use system/tools e.t.c have all achieved these because they decided to make a difference.
It’s high time we all broke free from the bondage of the ‘norm’ & give ourselves the permission to make a difference.
The said permission is not limited and for as long as we take it, we would always make the difference.