Life Changing Leadership Quotes? – You Decide
Being smart enough to know you’re dumb makes learning easy. There’s a personal light bulb moment reflected in every quote that follows.
Forward trajectory quotes:
- Any fool can start something new. It takes brilliant leaders to stop something old.My life gives testament to the power of purposeful abandonment. A little over 3 years ago, the organization I love died to me. I crossed a line by saying, it’s better to lose it all than continue along the current path.
Stopping things initiated a process that radically changed my life and the organization I still lead. Current attitudes, abilities, processes, or systems are responsible for our present situation. Clinging to them won’t change anything. Timely stops are tangible steps to new starts.
- Don’t demonize the past in order to move into the future.
- Criticism is about what was. Leadership is about what could be.
- Committing to a vision turns paralyzing stress into energizing passion.
- Confusion is the door to learning and the window of vision.
- Making a difference is not a one-time event.
Learning leader quotes:
- Leadership is influence. Listening opens the door of influence.
- Your most powerful tool of influence is your ears not your tongue.
- Too often, we make up our mind and then prove it with the facts.
High performance quotes:
- Aligning personal passion with organizational objectives creates performance sweet spots.
- Ever notice that many of the biggest complainers seem to do the least?
- Success is about striving not arriving.
- Performance reviews that focus on improving weaknesses are a colossal waste of time.
Authentic leader quotes:
- Your leadership potential is rooted in your authentic self.
- People who’ve found their soul can own their superficiality.
- People demanding respect don’t feel respected.
Which quote do you find most applicable to your leadership moment?
How would you modify, amplify, or illustrate these quotes?
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Nice one Dan.
When your time comes you’ll only regret the things you didn’t do, not those you did.
I like it just as it is, it’s not the same impartive as the Just do it, because you need to have something in mind for that. this quote makes you ponder what you are not doing, and challenges you to then do it.
kind wish, Richard
Dan, another great compilation of thought-provokers.
A couple I especially like: Don’t demonize the past to move into the future. Today’s way of doing things was the brilliant idea of someone, possibly someone in the room. Respect that.
Also, success is about striving, not arriving. If you’re looking at the end point, then you’ll only have one really successful day in your life, the day you get there. Being is more important than having, and becoming can be a daily success.
The one that speaks to me the most in this list is: Criticism is about what was. Leadership is about what could be. I think leadership is about helping everyone get better not about finding blame. Leadership is about vision going forward not looking backward in regret.
My two favorite:
“Experience is not what you’ve been through, it’s what you take from it.” – Tyger (I think)
“Learn as if you’ll live forever. Live as if you’ll die tomorrow.” – Gandhi
The power of ears as a tool resonates with me. This is easy to understand, but oh-so-difficult to put into practice — especially in hard-driving cultures where discussion is driven by the loudest one in the room.
The point about “stopping something old” is important as well. The balance of saying “yes” and saying “no” is crucial. Yet being the one who says “no” can be risky in competitive environments where reputations are as labile as the stock market. I believe in “Getting to ‘no’.” and have exercised the discipline regarding both old, worn-out ideas (“we need to continue this event because we’ve always done it”) and even good, new ideas that simply would require too much investment without appropriate return or would create harmful inequities in the name of “always saying ‘yes'” to the client/customer/boss/donor, etc.
This second point is especially important in the non-profit environment. In my experience, non-profits suck at stopping doing things — even when others are clearly doing it better, or more efficiently, or more appropriately. This is driven by the best of motivations — the desire to help this person, this population, today — but it lacks context and accountability.
Now, what do you think?
There is a lot of wisdom in this post, Dan. Thanks for sharing it. The quote that has an immediate application for me is “Don’t demonize the past in order to move into the future.” What I’d add is
to watch out for people who perceive your vision of change as condemnation of their past, especially if you are new on the scene.
Can you explain a little more about what you meant when you said, “A little over 3 years ago, the organization I love died to me.”
Or do you have a blog about that already? I’d love to know more.
Liked most of your quotes but the one best liked is ‘Making a difference is not a one-time event’. It’s a result of persistent good efforts by way of an in-built work style or a professional work habit.
The one quote I shall disagree is ‘Ever notice that many of the biggest complainers seem to do the least?’ The complainers usually have a courage to point out indifference and irregularities which are not per organization policies and procedures.They are good performers and have a basic organization interest to make the work place better with high productivity and fairness in recognition/rewards from management side. Some of them start loosing their interest and compromise to get adjusted to the prevailing work environment and become low performers. Good capable people will leave the organization when they aren’t heard or find the work place not what was projected at the time of their joining.
Yes i agree Dr Asher it is a generalisation and if you learn to work ‘with’ not against these people everything can change for the better.
Only few management really understand this and work on corrective steps based on so called ‘complaints’. My experience says that it’s the leader and his penchant for his people makes a big difference. In fact, the organization culture is the outcome of the way you handle such situations and treat your own people. The well inspired and satisfied lot
can change the fate of an organization. The whole crux is how is the leader at the top and what is his work style.
Hi Dan – I compiled some of the best quotes we got when we interviewed leaders for our Strategic Speed research.
Check them out here: http://www.slideshare.net/ForumCorp/strategy-execution-quotes
Great list Steve, thanks! #9 and #20 rang true.
Thanks! The most interesting thing about quote #9 is it came from a brilliant man … who had literally written several books on balanced scorecard!
Dan has got the microscopes and telescopes out today!
From complainers and performance reviews to finding your soul and passion. Woof! The demonizing seems to have struck a chord.
Might modify ‘success is about striving, not arriving’ –> successful failure is about striving, not arriving.
“If you are a ‘General’ today based on your achievements, what will you become when tomorrow success arrives?”
Consider under “Forward trajectory quotes”
“The only thing more difficult than starting something new in an organization is stopping something old.”
Leaders are self-aware. Everything else comes from that.
Love this post Dan. So many great nuggets in this that have conjured up personal experience stories for most of these. Especially resonated with the 1st one. I’ve had to do this and it was SO HARD for me to make that decision. Stuck between the part of me that was fully committed to something I believed in, completely vested in, yet clashing up against value differences that I could not continue to ignore or deny. We can’t change other people OR their values no matter how badly we want it so we can hold on to our own end of a dream or vision. So the only thing I had the power to change was what I did. I had to jump without a net underneath me.
Fortunately, once the pain of something like that is dealt with for the most part. Consciously faced and grieved. THEN, it paves the way for tapping into the lessons learned. The magical shifts from demonizing something or someone to facing the demons, then uncovering the beauty that lies UNDERNEATH challenging experiences that at the time, may feel and be very negative.
So much I could share but I will end with this so I don’t write a book on your blog! 🙂
Good stuff Dan!
Reblogged this on "Anthony's Networking Machine!!!" and commented:
Every quote here can be related to by someone out there…if not many! These type of quotes make you think for a reason, mainly because they couldnt have been said better. All it takes is that “one” person or to hear that “one” reality-check phrase to completely change one’s mindset and change your life forever! That’s how it happened for me…And I’m sure for many others out there! This blog alone could affect many peoples lives in a positive way! Definitely jump-started my brain this morning! Thank You!
Great post! Only because you asked, here’s a comment you might think of changing: I’d think twice about “Your most powerful tool of influence is your ears not your tongue.”
The ears thing is important, without doubt, but “most powerful tool” might be overstating it. Think Martin Luther King without his tongue. Same with Winston Churchill and many others. In fact, one could argue that Nazi Germany and U.S. slavery endured as long as they did because those who used their ears didn’t actually do the influencing they needed to.
Again, not to discount the importance of listening, but “the most powerful tool” might be a bit of a reach. Does that make sense?
“Aligning personal passion with organizational objectives creates performance sweet spots” – this is what I am banking on being true for the change I am working to effect in my organisation!
You have my best wishes. Change is challenging.
I’m always debated about the border between “leading” someone and “using” someone.
One thing that I do that really helps me in practice is the following: “never ask someone to do something that I don’t want to do”. Then there are roles and responsibilities. “If I was you and someone is going to ask me to do that, then I will do it, and so you have to do it too!”
What do you think about? Is it the right approach or sometimes is it not the best?
“People demanding respect don’t feel respected.”
So freaking true…. Standing on the edge of quitting something you’ve poured your soul into is difficult. Even though I know it needs to be done, there’s a degree of identity tied into it, and a fear of who I will be once it’s done.
Great Quotes… Thanks
“Don’t demonize the past in order to move into the future.” Unfortunately that seems to happen a lot. It’s a shame to think we have to metaphorically “eat our dead” or “disregard our elders” in order to give birth to new creations and ideas.
Thanks for the quotes. I found many of them to be meaningful.
Thanks for sharing. I definitely would have addes that one to the list if i’d known about it. I’ll add it to the post now. 🙂