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25 Quotes to Inspire You to Become a Better Leader

Dave KerpenMarch 18, 2013

Great quotes inspire us to change, to grow, and to become our best selves. I researched thousands of quotes from successful leaders for my last book, to capture one for each chapter, covering 11 simple concepts to become a better leader. My recent LinkedIn post explaining the 11 concepts became the 2nd most read article in LinkedIn history (at 1.3 million views!) So, I’m sharing my favorite quotes here- those which inspired me enough that I published them in the book, along with the runners up. Here are my 25 favorite likeable leadership quotes. I hope they inspire you as much as they have inspired me:

Listening

1) “When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen.” – Ernest Hemingway

2) “The most basic of all human needs is the need to understand and be understood. The best way to understand people is to listen to them.” – Ralph Nichols

Storytelling

3) “Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world today.” -Robert McKee

4) “If you tell me, it’s an essay. If you show me, it’s a story.” —Barbara Greene

Authenticity

5) “I had no idea that being your authentic self could make me as rich as I’ve become. If I had, I’d have done it a lot earlier.” -Oprah Winfrey

6) “Authenticity is the alignment of head, mouth, heart, and feet – thinking, saying, feeling, and doing the same thing – consistently. This builds trust, and followers love leaders they can trust.” -Lance Secretan

Transparency

7) “As a small businessperson, you have no greater leverage than the truth.” -John Whittier

8) “There is no persuasiveness more effectual than the transparency of a single heart, of a sincere life.” -Joseph Berber Lightfoot

Team Playing

9) “Individuals play the game, but teams beat the odds.” -SEAL Team Saying

10) “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” – Helen Keller

Responsiveness

11) “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” -Charles Swindoll

12) ‘”Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” – Bill Gates

Adaptability

13) “When you’re finished changing, you’re finished.” -Ben Franklin

14) “It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” –Charles Darwin

Passion

15) “The only way to do great work is to love the work you do.” -Steve Jobs

16) “I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.” -Albert Einstein

Surprise and Delight

17) “A true leader always keeps an element of surprise up his sleeve, which others cannot grasp but which keeps his public excited and breathless.” -Charles de Gaulle

18) “Surprise is the greatest gift which life can grant us.” – Boris Pasternak

Simplicity

19) “Less isn’t more; just enough is more.” -Milton Glaser

20) “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” -Leonardo daVinci

Gratefulness

21) “I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.” -Gilbert K Chesterton

22) “The essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude.” -Friedrich Nietzsche

Leadership

23) “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” — Peter F. Drucker

24) “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” —John Quincy Adams

25) “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” —John F. Kennedy

Those are my favorite leadership quotes. Now it’s your turn. Which of these quotes speak most to you? What are your favorite leadership quotes? And which qualities make you a likeable leader? Let me know in the comments below- and here’s to all of us becoming better leaders!

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Dave Kerpen is the leader of two companies, as CEO of Likeable Local and Chairman of Likeable Media. He is also the New York Times bestselling author of two books, Likeable Social Media and Likeable Business.

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