28 Inspirational Quotes About Leadership and How to Use Them for Homeschooling Teens

March 29, 2021

What is the best definition of Leadership? 

Is it simply having the office or position of a leader?  Or is it the action of leading a group of people or an organization?

Leadership doesn't have anything to do with seniority or position of hierarchy. It also doesn't have anything to do with titles or personal attributes.

I found a good definition of leadership from Kevin Kruse, a contributor at Forbes and the author of "Great Leaders Have No Rules." He said: "Leadership is a process of social influence, which maximizes the efforts of others, toward the achievement of a goal." It is this capacity to lead with influence while empowering others that make the most significant impact. 

True leadership is about inspiring people to do their best. To encourage them to keep learning and achieving. It's about people, not processes. It's actually not about you, but what you do to help others. This is something that my husband is mastering well in his leadership position. There is more success in an organization when you focus more on your people and not managing "all the things." (To read more about this concept, he highly recommends "People Before Things" by Chris Laping. A good read for teens too.)

Following are 28 inspirational quotes about leadership. For your homeschool:  Choose one quote to read each day. Create a conversation with your teen about the meaning of that quote. What skills and characteristics are given as the essentials of leadership? Have your teen respond with how they can use their new wisdom to display good leadership right now.  

"If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader." --John Quincy Adams

"True leadership must be for the benefit of the followers, not to enrich the leader." 

--John C. Maxwell

"Nothing so conclusively proves a man's ability to lead others as what he does from day to day to lead himself." --Thomas J. Watson, Sr.

"There is no more noble occupation in the world than to assist another human being - to help someone succeed." --Alan Loy McGinnis

"We are here to add what we can to, not get what we can from life." 
--Sir William Osler


"A leader is best when people barely know he exists when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves." --Lao Tzu


"We must be silent before we can listen. We must listen before we can learn. We must learn before we can prepare. We must prepare before we can serve. We must serve before we can lead." --William Arthur Ward


"Leadership should be born out of the understanding of the needs of those who would be affected by it." --Marian Anderson


"My research debunks the myth that many people seem to have . . . that you become a leader by fighting your way to the top. Rather, you become a leader by helping others to the top. Helping your employees is as important, and many times more so, than trying to get the most work out of them." --William Cohen


"The most valuable "currency" of any organization is the initiative and creativity of its members. Every leader has the solemn moral responsibility to develop these to the maximum in all his people. This is the leader's highest priority." --W. Edwards Deming


"People do not care how much you know until they know how much you care." 

--John C. Maxwell

"The leaders who work most effectively, it seems to me, never say 'I.' And that's not because they have trained themselves not to say 'I.' They don't think 'I.' They think 'we'; they think 'team.' They understand their job to be to make the team function. They accept responsibility and don't sidestep it, but 'we' gets the credit... This is what creates trust, what enables you to get the task done." --Peter F. Drucker


"The goal of many leaders is to get people to think more highly of the leader. The goal of a great leader is to help people to think more highly of themselves." --J. Carla Nortcutt


"If leadership serves only the leader, it will fail. Ego satisfaction, financial gain, and status can all be valuable tools for a leader, but if they become the only motivations, they will eventually destroy a leader. Only when service for a common good is the primary purpose are you truly leading." --Sheila Murray Bethel


"A person who is worthy of being a leader wants power not for himself, but in order to be of service." --U.S. Senator Sam J. Ervin, Jr.


"The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor but without folly." --Jim Rohn

"Use power to help people. For we are given power not to advance our own purposes nor to make a great show in the world, not a name. There is but one just use of power, and it is to serve people." –U.S. President George Bush


"As leaders shift their focus to customers and quality, they realize that the old authoritarian leadership style does not work anymore. To achieve quality, service, and rapid response, leaders must utilize all available talent. They must find ways to inspire, involve, and empower employees. They must create a work environment that encourages commitment, innovation, and cooperation. Instead of evaluating, leaders now coach. Instead of doing, they delegate. Instead of telling, they facilitate. No one is expected to boss anyone. Everyone is expected to participate." --Dr. Suzanne Willis Zoglio


"He that cannot obey cannot command." --Benjamin Franklin


"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


"Leadership is getting people to help you when they are not obligated to do so." 

--John C. Maxwell

"Outstanding leaders go out of their way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it's amazing what they can accomplish." --Sam Walton


"No leader can possibly have all the answers . . . . The actual solutions about how best to meet the challenges of the moment have to be made by the people closest to the action…the leader has to find the way to empower those frontline people, to challenge them, to provide them with the resources they need, and then to hold them accountable. As they struggle with . . . this challenge, the leader becomes their coach, teacher, and facilitator. Change how you define leadership, and you change how you run a company." --Steve Miller


"To lead the people, walk behind them." --Lao Tzu


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

--Bill Gates


"Leaders don't inflict pain - they share pain." --Max Depree


"Leaders must be close enough to relate to others, but far enough ahead to motivate them." 

--John Maxwell


"People are more inclined to be drawn in if their leader has a compelling vision. Great leaders help people get in touch with their own aspirations and then will help them forge those aspirations into a personal vision." --John Kotter



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