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Every leader aspires to be someone who inspires teams to achieve extraordinary results. To become a leader, you have to be inspired yourself, and only then can you inspire others. Here are 30 quotes on management and leadership that inspire me and help me inspire others.

1. "Earn your leadership every day." - Michael Jordan.

This quote reminds me that leadership is a daily task, not a one-time thing. It's something that I need to do all the time - whether it's setting direction, being a role model, providing support, or offering praise for a job well done.

2. "To handle yourself, use your head; to handle others, use your heart." - Eleanor Roosevelt

People are emotional beings, and they will always respond to experience-led leadership rather than logical arguments and ideas.

3. "The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires." - William Arthur Ward

When we inspire people, we ignite the belief that people can and will be successful, and when that fire burns brightly, it helps them through dark and difficult days.

4. "Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Inspired leadership is about helping people see their true potential and showing them how they can achieve it. When you can do that, you will create an army of loyal followers.

5. "Keep your fears to yourself, but share your courage with others." - Robert Louis Stevenson

Fear doesn't inspire anyone. It might create temporary motivation, whereas courage is always inspiring. Be courageous, be bold, and it will help you attract and inspire people.

6. "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." - Ronald Reagan

It's all about the people. Our actions can inspire others, but that is nothing compared to the inspiration they feel when seeing themselves doing or achieving it.

7. "Don't tell people how to do things, tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results." - George Patton

When dealing with experts, don't tell them how to do something. Tell them what needs to be done, leave them to decide on "how" as this will inspire them, and help them become self-leading, which is an even higher level of inspiration.

8. "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." - Woodrow Wilson

Often it can be the things that we are trying to achieve that can inspire people. We all want to feel that we have achieved something worthwhile, valuable to others, not just ourselves.

9. "Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing." - Albert Schweitzer

People will listen to what we say, but they will watch what we do. It's our actions that inspire them more than our words.

10. "Leadership is not about titles, positions, or flow charts. It is about one life influencing another." - John C. Maxwell

Titles or positions do not easily influence people. It's the person in the position and the actions they take that count the most.

11. "You have to be burning with an idea, or a problem, or a wrong that you want to right. If you're not passionate enough from the start, you'll never stick it out." - Steve Jobs

Passion is contagious and inspiring, and it starts with you. You can't inspire others when you're not passionate or inspired yourself.

12. "A 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." - Nelson Mandela

Being a leader isn't always about leading the charge. It's also about taking care of others and ensuring that everyone completes the journey.

13. "A leader is a dealer in hope." - Napoleon

Hope is a great inspiration. When we help fire the hope and help people realize their hopes and dreams, it's both motivating and inspiring.

14. "The day the soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help them or concluded that you do not care. Either case is a failure of leadership." - Colin Powell

If your people stop coming to you, not only have you stopped leading them, but you have stopped inspiring them. Create an environment where people feel supported and seek you out for further inspiration.

15. "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." - Klaus Balkenhol

You cannot inspire someone through commands. You inspire by building trust, showing understanding, and supporting them when needed.

16. "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." - Jarod Kintz

Sometimes inspiration comes from having the courage to stand up for what you believe.

17. "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." - Antoine de Saint-Exupary

This is one of my favorite quotes of all time. People become inspired by the destination more than the journey. The more inspiring the goal, the more inspired your teams will be to undertake that journey, even if risky.

18. "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." - Theodore Roosevelt
Theodore Roosevelt

We kill inspiration when we micromanage or take away others' opportunities to show their capability or creativity.

19. "Average leaders raise the bar on themselves; good leaders raise the bar for others; great leaders inspire others to raise their own bar." - Orrin Woodward

When teams become inspired, they don't need leading, and they will often lead themselves—challenging themselves to go even higher.

20. "Don't blow off another's candle for it won't make yours shine brighter." - Jaachynma N.E. Agu

Inspiration requires us to help light more candles, to increase the light. Not to make ours brighter by snuffing others out.

21. "A good leader leads the people from above them. A great leader leads the people from within them." - M.D. Arnold

Inspiration can come from many places, but it's most potent when it comes from within. When it comes from within, people will remain inspired even in our absence.

22. "The very essence of leadership is that you have to have vision. You can't blow an uncertain trumpet." - Father Theodore M. Hesburgh

If you don't know the destination, why would anyone follow you? You need to be clear about where you're going and even clearer why you want to inspire others to come on the journey with you.

23. "It is absolutely necessary...for me to have persons that can think for me, as well as execute orders." - George Washington

When we limit people to just following, we diminish our collective intelligence, capability, and creativity. Great ideas can come from anywhere, and we need to inspire our teams to think, act and contribute.

24. "A man who wants to lead the orchestra must turn his back on the crowd." - Max Lucado

If you're in Leadership for the applause, then you're in it for the wrong reason. Leadership is about getting others' light to shine brightly and being happy with the reflective glow of their achievements.

25. "Become the kind of leader that people would follow voluntarily, even if you had no title or position." - Brian Tracy

If leaders could learn just one thing, I would want it to be this. Yes, you have the position, but you're not a leader if you need to rely on that to lead. True leaders are people that others would follow because they want to, not because they have to.

26. "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." - Martin Luther King, Jr.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Leaders who take a stand or take on complex challenges can inspire much more than those who risk little.

27. "Anyone can hold the helm when the sea is calm." - Publilius Syrus

A good reminder that real Leadership shines when people see you handle a storm. Yes, it would help if you are prepared before the storm hits, but how you handle the storm is the true test of your leadership mettle.

28. "A good leader is a person who takes a little more than his share of the blame and a little less than his share of the credit." - John Maxwell

Nothing inspires like a leader who shares credit, recognizes the team's effort, and gives praise. Everyone wants to feel appreciated when they have done an excellent job. If you're going to inspire people, start by recognizing their efforts as well as their results.

29. "Only one man in a thousand is a leader of men the other 999 follow women." - Groucho Marx

I like this quote, not for its leadership insight, but because it's a reminder that humor and a sense of fun can be inspiring and should be part of a leader's toolset.

30. "In a battle between two ideas, the best one doesn't necessarily win. No, the idea that wins is the one with the most fearless heretic behind it." Seth Godin

The power of inspiration is often underrated, but an inspired team can move mountains, which is why our goal is to create inspired teams.


These brilliantly inspiring people have one thing in common - they had inspiring goals and inspired teams who worked towards those shared goals. As much as leaders want to win, they need motivated teams to drive results.

This is where Empuls helps. Two of the most intrinsic motivation drivers for employees are recognition and rewards. When leaders prioritize employee recognition initiatives, it ignites purpose and potential in their teams. Starting an employee recognition and reward program is easy with Empuls, and your teams will love the social, fun, and frictionless experience it delivers.

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Gordon Tredgold

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Gordon Tredgold is a leadership and engagement expert and speaker from West Yorkshire, UK. His first passion is rugby. He speaks, writes, coaches, and teaches leadership. He makes leadership simple.