52 Quotes to inspire you to be a Better Leader

Here is an exhaustive list of 52 Quotes on Leadership from me over the past several years.
These quotes and points are taken from my blog, as well as my twitter, facebook, speaking and other outlets. Thanks to Toni Ridgaway from Sermon Central for aggregating this list of quotes. You can see the original article here.
Most of these leadership quotes and principles also appear in The Catalyst Leader book. Enjoy!

ABOUT YOUNG LEADERS

  1. Today’s 20- and 30-somethings are more willing to collaborate than any other generation before. They trust each other. Really. And they see collaboration as the starting point, not as some grandiose vision of teamwork that is far off in the distance.
  2. For the next generation, it’s way less about who they’re working with and way more about what they’re doing.
  3. Going forward, leaders won’t have followers unless they trust them and see that they are authentic and real. Authenticity is not only important to the next generation, it’s a requirement.
  4. Young leaders are ambitious and passionate about making a difference now. They’re not willing to wait their turn. They want to influence now.
  5. Leaders age 35 and under in general are more about projects than they are about careers, more about movements instead of organizations. So if you want to keep us around in your organization, you’re going to have to pursue us. Show us you are approachable and connected to where we are in life.
  6. Literally, you need to kick them out. Not only give them permission to leave, but actually encourage them to leave and pursue other things. Once it’s time for them to move on, they might need your encouragement to pursue what God might be stirring up in them.
  7. Every young leader I know could use a whole lot more saged leaders in their life.

ABOUT VISION

  1. What keeps you up at night? This one is a familiar question for most leaders. What makes you cry? What makes you mad? What are the things that nag at you? This question has to do with what you are passionate about.
  2. What gets you up in the morning? This one is less familiar to most of us, but probably even more important. What keeps you and your team committed? Engaged and excited? This question has more to do with purpose.
  3. Don’t settle for just going through life enduring the five days of the workweek, to only have as your greatest goal of the week to make it to the weekend. Love what you do, or at least like it. It’s too important not to.
  4. As believers, as followers of Jesus, if we’re not chasing after something that is so much bigger than we are, and there’s no way we could ever accomplish it without God, then we are playing it too safe.

ABOUT DECISION-MAKING

  1. Making decisions as a leader is normal and ordinary and required. It’s why you are a leader. Embrace it.
  2. For big decisions, always sleep on them. The extra time will allow your decision to be made without the spontaneous emotion that comes with a spontaneous response.
  3. Create a culture of action in your organization. Many leaders quickly become overwhelmed with several decisions in front of them and then unintentionally paralyze the organization by avoiding them all.
  4. A lot of us as leaders are willing to allow our team members to make decisions, but want to step in as soon as we see something done differently than we would do. Don’t make that mistake. It is totally demoralizing to your team.

ABOUT CONFLICT

  1. Tension is a powerful platform to clarify what is important. Out of tension many times comes change—change for good.
  2. Generational tension is essential in passing the mantle of leadership. For the Church to move forward in culture, older leaders must pass on their wisdom and legacy to younger leaders.
  3. Leaders lead in the fray. Leading in the safety zone is easy, but true leadership happens in the fray where change is happening and there is a unique tug-of-war happening in that area.
  4. Tension among and within a team is healthy. Unity doesn’t mean there’s no tension. Unity means you are pursuing the same mission in the midst of real and purposeful tension.
  5. As a leader, lean into the tension that constantly exist. As Andy Stanley says, some tensions are meant to be managed, not removed.
  6. Four things poison a team faster than anything else: arrogance, lack of communication, “me-first” vs. “we-first,” and jealousy/cynicism.

ABOUT COMMUNICATING

  1. Keep it simple. Stay focused on a few key points. And use common sense. If it sounds confusing, it probably is. If it sounds cheesy, it probably is.
  2. Tell great stories to validate your points. Unless you are just an amazing communicator, your points probably won’t hold me. So sprinkle in some great stories, good analogies, and current events.
  3. Inspire action. Push me toward doing something, not just hearing something.
  4. Create hooks, repetitions, and memorable phrases. I won’t remember all you said, but I might remember something you said. Our current culture is now built around sound bites—status updates, tweets, texts, etc. So keep it simple, but also keep it short.
  5. Land the plane on time. Don’t just end on time, but actually end with the right timing. Don’t keep circling above the runway—land it now.

ABOUT LEADERSHIP

  1. 12 Characteristics of Leaders
    • Be humble
    • Be authentic
    • Be generous
    • Be Christ-like
    • Be the best at what you do
    • Be consistent
    • Be courageous, willing to go first and take risks
    • Be honest and trustworthy
    • Be thankful
    • Be a learner
    • Be inspiring and vision-giving
    • Be adaptable and open to change
  2. What pastors can learn from business leaders: (a) Collaboration (b) Excellence (c) Execution.
  3. What business leaders can learn from pastors: (a) Relationships first (b) Income for greater purposes (c) Leadership.
  4. You are never too good at what you do or who you are to need honest feedback from yourself, your peers, your family, and your friends. Seek it out constantly.
  5. The more humble you are, typically the more self-aware you are. The more arrogant you are, typically the less self-aware you are.
  6. You’re not that important, and you need to relax. Sometimes the more platform and position we get, the more seriously we take ourselves. Don’t.
  7. No one wants to work FOR or AROUND a leader who doesn’t understand who they really are.
  8. One of the keys for properly channeling your ambition is to have people around you who will tell you what you may not want to hear, trusted friends and advisors who are honest and authentic with you.
  9. As leaders, we are called to a higher standard. And as followers of Christ, an even higher standard. Set your standards so high that it may seem impossible to reach them.
  10. It drives me crazy when I see something done without excellence but with the excuse of “Well, it’s okay because our intentions are good.” Nope. Not good enough. Our God deserves our very best. Always.
  11. Comparing yourself to others just like you won’t challenge you or make you improve. Compare yourself to the best. Both inside and outside your industry. Learn from others who are better.
  12. “Us” is way better than “me” or “you.”
  13. Next time someone says “How have you all accomplished this?…” or “What do you plan to accomplish the rest of this year?…” or “Who is involved in making things happen within your organization?…” or “Talk about the keys to success for you?….” make sure you start your answer with “WE” or “US” or “OUR.”
  14. True influence is about more than just someone listening. It’s about action. And it’s about change. If I simply buy your book and read a few chapters, but don’t put anything into action, are you really influencing me? If I listen to you speak, but make no changes in my life or the way I lead, are you really influencing me? If I follow you on Twitter, but it doesn’t change anything for me, are you really influencing me?
  15. Teams that are excellent at what they do attract people who are excellent at what they do.
  16. A great statement in terms of trust: I’ll do what I said I would do, and if not, I will tell you.
  17. Ultimately, we create a culture of trust by trusting, and trusting more, and trusting even more.
  18. As leaders, if our team fears our response when they mess up, because they’ve seen our response and don’t want to deal with that, we need to change our response.
  19. I would much rather have a horse I have to hold back versus a horse I have to spur to get going.
  20. Whether you like it or not, you are ALWAYS training.

IN GENERAL

  1. The more you have, the harder it is to give it up. Doesn’t matter whether we are talking about money, possessions, toys, influence, team members, projects, or assignments.
  2. You are never really “ready” for anything. Some say that you should wait until you are “mature” enough to pursue certain things in life. But we’re never really ready, are we?
  3. Being remarkable 1. Takes a lot of energy. 2. Is not easy. 3. Requires a constant sense of improvement, innovation, and intuitiveness. 4. Is a clear commission from God. 5. Provides platform, credibility, and respect in the culture at large. 6. Steps up the game of those around you.
  4. We have to fight against the idea of just wearing a wristband and feeling like we’ve done something.
  5. WHO you are working with is just as important as WHAT you are working on.
  6. Love people until they ask why.
Thanks again to Toni Ridgaway from Sermon Central for putting together this list!

Comments

  1. Ok,

    So as a young leader I’m in love with quotes #4, 11, 19 and 36
    #4-Because I do want influence now. I do want to make a difference NOW.

    #11 Because I believe that life is so short. So it makes sense to give ourselves to something that is wayyyyy bigger than us.

    #19 Because I’m looking for that tension. I think our team is on death row when everybody just agrees with me. If you agree with me, why do I need you around me? I can just use me :)

    Not to say the others weren’t great. But those were the ones that stuck out to me :)

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