Words are powerful. They inspire us, launch us into action, and they drive us to create the changes we want to see in the world.

The power words carry are one of the reasons we love quotes so much. When worded just right, a sentence can become a mantra, an ethos, an endless source of power.

As business owners and entrepreneurs, most of us were driven to create something we believe needs to exist. That drive requires ingenuity, creativity, and above all leadership.

leadership quotes

Leadership is a complex topic. What does it mean to be a good leader? How to good leaders know when to lead and when to step back? What is the difference between seeking power and being an effective leader?

The following quotes explore the many facets and obstacles related to being a strong leader.

Most Inspiring Quotes About Leadership

“Leaders establish trust with candor, transparency, and credit.”
Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric

“A leader is best when people barely know he exists…when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will all say: We did it ourselves.”
Lao-Tzu, an ancient philosopher and founder of Taoism

“Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence and making sure that impact lasts in your absence.”
Sheryl Sanberg, COO of Facebook

“I think it’s very important to have a feedback loop, where you’re constantly thinking about what you’ve done and how you could be doing it better. I think that’s the single best piece of advice: constantly think about how you could be doing things better and questioning yourself.”
— Elon Musk, founder of PayPal and Tesla, in an interview with Mashable.

“People who are truly strong lift others up. People who are truly powerful bring others together.”
— Michelle Obama, attorney and former First Lady of the United States

“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-Exupéry,  French writer and pioneering aviator.

estee lauder leadership quote

“Leaders need to provide strategy and direction and to give employees the tools that enable them to gather information and insight from around the world. Leaders shouldn’t try to make every decision.”
— Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft

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

“As a leader, I am tough on myself and I raise the standard for everybody; however I am very caring because I want people to excel at what they are doing so that they can aspire to be me in the future.”
Indra Nooyi, former CEO of PepsiCo

“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, entrepreneur and motivational speaker

“If your actions create a legacy that inspires others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, then, you are an excellent leader.”
Dolly Parton, actress and singer

“Leaders are made, they are not born. They are made by hard effort, which is the price which all of us must pay to achieve any goal that is worthwhile.”
— Vince Lombardi, American football coach, and NFL executive.

“Leadership is the ability to guide others without force into a direction or decision that leaves them still feeling empowered and accomplished.”
Lisa Cash Hanson, CEO of Snuggwugg.

“People ask the difference between a leader and a boss. The leader leads, and the boss drives.”
Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of the United States.

“If we cannot disconnect, we cannot lead. Creating the culture of burnout is opposite to creating a culture of sustainable creativity . . . This mentality needs to be introduced as a leadership and performance-enhancing tool.”
— Arianna Huffington, co-founder of the Huffington Post

“No man will make a great leader who wants to do it all himself or get all the credit for doing it.”
Andrew Carnegie, 19th-century business magnate and philanthropist.

“Leadership is not about a title or a designation. It’s about impact, influence, and inspiration.”
— Robin S. Sharma, Canadian writer and motivational speaker

“Ultimately, leadership is not about glorious crowning acts. It’s about keeping your team focused on a goal and motivated to do their best to achieve it, especially when the stakes are high and the consequences really matter. It is about laying the groundwork for others’ success, and then standing back and letting them shine.”
— Chris Hadfield,  astronaut and former Commander of the International Space Station

“A leader is a dealer in hope.”
— Napoléon Bonaparte, French military leader.

billie jean king leadership quote

“Leadership is a privilege to better the lives of others. It is not an opportunity to satisfy personal greed.”
— Mwai Kibaki, Kenyan politician

“Ninety percent of leadership is the ability to communicate something people want.”
Dianne Feinstein, U.S. senator

“People have to trust you. You have to build in trust for people.”
Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric

“It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership.”
— Nelson Mandela, South African political leader

“Leadership is solving problems. The day soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help or concluded you do not care. Either case is a failure of leadership.”
— General Colin Powell, former U.S. Secretary of State

“A leader is someone who holds her- or himself accountable for finding the potential in people and processes.”
Brené Brown, research professor and best-selling author

“Become the kind of leader that other people would follow voluntarily; even if you had no title or positon.”
— Brian Tracy, motivational speaker, best-selling author and personal development expert

“Leadership is the challenge to be something more than average.”
— Jim Rohn, entrepreneur and motivational speaker

“Often poor leadership is masked by those with the loudest voices and strongest opinions.”
— Nick Fewings

Leadership Quotes from Women

“I never dreamed about success. I worked for it.”
— Estée Lauder, Estée Lauder companies

“Champions keep playing until they get it right.”
— Billie Jean King, tennis champion

“We are not interested in the possibilities of defeat; they do not exist.”
— Queen Victoria

“Leadership is not about men in suits. It is a way of life for those who know who they are and are willing to be their best to create the life they want to live.”
Kathleen Schafer, Founder, Leadership Connection

“We’re here for a reason. I believe a bit of the reason is to throw little torches out to lead people through the dark.”
— Whoopi Goldberg, comedian

“Leadership is a series of behaviors rather than a role for heroes.”
Margaret J. Wheatley, author, management consultant, and leadership expert

“Find the smartest people you can and surround yourself with them.”
— Marissa Mayer, Founder, Lumi Labs

“My best successes came on the heels of failures.”
Barbara Corcoran, Entrepreneur

barbara cocoran leadership quote

“I’m a maniacal perfectionist. And if I weren’t, I wouldn’t have this company.”
— Martha Stewart, founder of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia

“As a leader, it’s a major responsibility on your shoulders to practice the behavior you want others to follow.”
— Himanshu Bhatia, founder, Rose International.

“The best way to leapfrog in your career is to get advice from someone who’s done what you’re trying to accomplish. It helps clear all the doubt.”
— Heather Anne Carson, co-founder, Repable

“People respond well to those that are sure of what they want.”
— Anna Wintour, Editor-in-Chief of Vogue

“Success isn’t about how much money you make; it’s about the difference you make in people’s lives.”
— Michelle Obama, attorney and former First Lady of the United States

“Strategic leaders must not get consumed by the operational and tactical side of their work. They have a duty to find time to shape the future.”
— Stephanie S. Mead, Senior Vice President of CMOE

“Don’t waste your energy trying to educate or change opinions; go over, under, through, and opinions will change organically when you’re the boss. Or they won’t. Who cares? Do your thing, and don’t care if they like it.”
— Tina Fey, comedian

“Define success on your own terms, achieve it by your own rules, and build a life you’re proud to live.”
— Anne Sweeney, television director and former Disney executive

“The difference between successful people and others is how long they spend feeling sorry for themselves.”
— Barbara Corcoran

“If your actions create a legacy that inspires others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, then, you are an excellent leader.”
— Dolly Parton, actress and singer

“What I have learned is that people become motivated when you guide them to the source of their own power and when you make heroes out of employees who personify what you want to see in the organization.”
— Anita Roddick,  co-founder of The Body Shop

“I have broken many glass ceilings – so I know it can be done.”
— Helen Clark, former New Zealand Prime Minister

“One bad day from one member of my staff doesn’t mean they are not really good at their jobs the rest of the time. I play a long game in terms of management.”
—Helen McCabe, digital content director, Nine Entertainment

“Well-behaved women rarely make history.”
— Eleanor Roosevelt, former First Lady of the United States

“Leadership is the ability to guide others without force into a direction or decision that leaves them still feeling empowered and accomplished.”
— Lisa Cash Hanson, CEO of Snuggwugg and founder of Mompreneur Mogul

anna wintour leadership quote

“Leadership is hard to define, and good leadership even harder. But if you can get people to follow you to the ends of the earth, you are a great leader.”
— Indra Nooyi, former CEO of PepsiCo

“[A] leading predictor of C-suite success is insatiable curiosity and a willingness to learn. This learning agility includes learning to adjust the metrics by which you measure your progress.”
— Whitney Johnson, author of Disrupt Yourself and Build an A-Team

“Leadership is not a person or a position. It is a complex moral relationship between people based on trust, obligation, commitment, emotion, and a shared vision of the good.”
Joanne B. Ciulla, author and professor in ethics and leadership

“Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence, and making sure that impact lasts in your absence.”
— Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook

“Do you know that one of the great problems of our age is that we are governed by people who care more about feelings than they do about thoughts and ideas?”
— Margaret Thatcher, former Prime Minister, UK

Leadership Quotes on Courage

“The comfort zone is a nice place, but nothing grows there. Take the leap today and start your business!”
— Caroline Cummings, Founder and CEO, Varo Ventures

“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.”
— Anaïs Nin, author

“Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.”
Brené Brown, research professor and best-selling author

“I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear.”
— Rosa Parks, civil rights activist

eddie rickenbacker leadership quotes

“The way to right wrongs is to turn the light of truth upon them.”
— Ida B. Wells, civil rights activist, journalist and educator

“Do what you feel in your heart to be right – for you’ll be criticized anyway.”
— Eleanor Roosevelt, former First Lady of the United States

“Making the decision to not follow a system, or someone else’s rules has allowed me to really dig into what my own strengths and gifts are without spending time feeling jaded or wasteful.”
Ishita Gupta, Founder of Fear.less Magazine

“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”
— Eleanor Roosevelt, former First Lady of the United States

“Keep your fears to yourself, but share your courage with others.”
– Robert Louis Stevenson, poet and writer

jack welch leadership quotes

“Leaders have the courage to make unpopular decisions and gut calls.”
Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric

“When I dare to be powerful — to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.”
— Audre Lorde, writer and civil rights activist

“The pressure of adversity does not affect the mind of the brave man . . .  It is more powerful than external circumstances.”
— Seneca, ancient philosopher

Leadership Quotes on Vision

“Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.”
— Warren Bennis, scholar and leadership expert

“People buy into the leader before they buy into the vision.”–
John C. Maxwell, leadership author

“Leadership is having a compelling vision, a comprehensive plan, relentless implementation, and talented people working together.”
Alan Mulally, former CEO of the Ford Motor Company

“Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion.”
Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric

“Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others.”
— Jonathan Swift, satirist and poet

“The vision must be followed by the venture. It is not enough to stare up the steps — we must step up the steps. ”
Vance Havner, evangelist and author

“Throughout the centuries there were men who took the first steps, down new roads, armed with nothing but their own vision.”
— Ayn Rand, author and philosopher

“A leader has the vision and conviction that a dream can succeed.”
Ralph Nader, author and political activist

“Forget about trying to compete with someone else. Create your own pathway. Create your own new vision.”
Herbie Hancock, Grammy Award-winning musician

“A lack of realism in the vision today costs credibility tomorrow.”
John C. Maxwell, leadership author

Leadership Quotes on Emotional Intelligence

“No doubt emotional intelligence is more rare than book smarts, but my experience says it is actually more important in the making of a leader. You just can’t ignore it.”
Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric

“Emotional intelligence does not mean merely ‘being nice.’ At strategic moments it may demand not ‘being nice,’ but rather, for example, bluntly confronting someone with an uncomfortable but consequential truth they’ve been avoiding.
Daniel Goleman, author of multiple books on emotional intelligence and leadership.

“Remember, feedback is meant to address the problem, not the person.”
― Travis Bradberry, author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0

“The greatest ability in business is to get along with others and influence their actions.”
— John Hancock, statesman and a signer of the Declaration of Independence

“It is very important to understand that emotional intelligence is not the opposite of intelligence, it is not the triumph of heart over head — it is the unique intersection of both.”
— David Caruso, actor

“In a high-IQ job pool, soft skills like discipline, drive, and empathy mark those who emerge as outstanding.
Daniel Goleman, author of multiple books on emotional intelligence and leadership.”

“EQ is . . . the strongest driver of leadership and personal excellence.”
― Travis Bradberry, author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0

Quotes on Servant Leadership, Quiet Leadership, and the role of Humility in Leadership

“Ultimately, a leader is not judged so much by how well he or she leads, but by how well he or she serves.”
Kevin Cashman, CEO at Korn Ferry and author

“The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between, the leader is a servant.”
— Max De Pree, author of Leadership is an Art, former CEO, founder of the Max De Pree Center for Leadership at Fuller Theological Seminary

“We treat our people like royalty. If you honor and serve the people who work for you, they will honor and serve you.”
Mary Kay Ash, Founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics

“Not everybody can be famous. But everybody can be great, because greatness is determined by service”
Martin Luther King, Jr., civil rights leader

“The way to achieve your own success is to be willing to help somebody else get it first.”
Iyanla Vanzant, leader, life coach, and television personality

“True leaders understand that leadership is not about them but about those they serve. It is not about exalting themselves but about lifting others up.”
Sheri L. Dew, President & CEO of Deseret Book Company

“It is vital that we are equipped with the humility to understand that changing the world and keeping innovation alive require that we change ourselves.”
Whitney Johnson, author of Disrupt Yourself: Putting the Power of Disruptive Innovation to Work

“I believe in a quiet, strong and grounded leadership. I think some of the best leaders are those whose work is widely known and respected but who, themselves, are relatively unknown.”
— Rachael Chong, founder and CEO, Catchafire

“True leadership must be for the benefit of the followers, not to enrich the leader.”
John C. Maxwell, leadership author

“Servant-leadership is more than a concept, it is a fact. Any great leader, by which I also mean an ethical leader of any group, will see herself or himself as a servant of that group and will act accordingly.”
― M. Scott Peck, psychiatrist and author of The Road Less Travelled and People of the Lie.

“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.
― William Cohen

“A person who is worthy of being a leader wants power not for himself, but in order to be of service.”
― Sam J. Ervin, Jr., former U.S. senator

“Servant-leadership is all about making the goals clear and then rolling your sleeves up and doing whatever it takes to help people win. In that situation, they don’t work for you, you work for them.”
Ken Blanchard, management expert and author

“Good leaders must first become good servants.”
Robert K. Greenleaf, author of The Servant as Leader

Leadership Quotes from Famous Political and Historial Figures

“Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.”
— U.S. President John F. Kennedy

“The nation will find it very hard to look up to the leaders who are keeping their ears to the ground.”
— Winston Churchill, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

martin luther king leadership quotes

“A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus, but a molder of consensus.”
— Martin Luther King, Jr., civil rights leader

“Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers, who can cut through argument, debate, and doubt to offer a solution everybody can understand.”
— General Colin Powell, former U.S. Secretary of State

“Don’t follow the crowd, let the crowd follow you.”
Margaret Thatcher, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

“I always believe that ultimately, if people are paying attention, then we get good government and good leadership. And when we get lazy, as a democracy and civically start taking shortcuts, then it results in bad government and politics.”
— U.S. President Barack Obama

“The exercise of power is determined by thousands of interactions between the world of the powerful and that of the powerless, all the more so because these worlds are never divided by a sharp line: everyone has a small part of himself in both.”
— Václav Havel, dissident, former president of Czechoslovakia

“Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth.”
— U.S. President John F. Kennedy

Leadership Quotes from Military Leaders

From strategy to persevering, business leaders can gain inspiration and insight from great military leaders. This selection of quotes provides a helpful reminder of some key priorities like integrity, accountability, mentoring, and simplifying what needs to be done.

“Be willing to make decisions. That’s the most important quality in a good leader.”
– General George S. Patton

“Clarity and simplicity are the antidotes to complexity and uncertainty.”
– General George Casey

“There’s likely a place in paradise for people who tried hard, but what really matters is succeeding. If that requires you to change, that’s your mission.”
– General Stanley McChrystal

“Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.”
– General George S. Patton

“Because the crew was convinced that I was ‘on their team’ there were never any issues with negative criticism . . . You as a mentor have to establish that you are sincerely interested in the problems of the person you are mentoring.”
— Capt L. David Marquet

“When things go wrong in your command, start wading for the reason in increasing larger concentric circles around your own desk.”
— General Bruce C. Clark

“The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, a football field, in an army, or in an office.”
– General Dwight D. Eisenhower

“If you are going to win any battle, you have to do one thing: You have to make the mind run the body. Never let the body tell the mind what to do. The body is never tired if the mind is not tired.”
— General George S. Patton Jr.

“In every battle, there comes a time when both sides consider themselves beaten; then, he who continues the attack wins.”
— General Ulysses S. Grant

“The truth of the matter is that you always know the right thing to do. The hard part is doing it.”
— General Norman Schwarzkopf

“A competent leader can get efficient service from poor troops, while on the contrary, an incapable leader can demoralize the best of troops.”
— General John J. Pershing

“The most important thing I learned is that soldiers watch what their leaders do. You can give them classes and lecture them forever, but it is your personal example they will follow.”
– General Colin Powell

“It is fatal to enter a war without the will to win it.”
— General Douglas MacArthur

“It is necessary for us to learn from others’ mistakes. You will not live long enough to make them all yourself.”
— Admiral Hyman G. Rickover

“Leadership is a potent combination of strategy and character. But, if you must be without one, be without strategy.”
— General Norman Schwarzkopf

“Never give an order that can’t be obeyed.”
— General Douglas MacArthur

“It doesn’t take a hero to order men into battle. It takes a hero to be one of those men who goes into battle.”
– General Norman Schwarzkopf, U.S. Army

“Courage is doing what you’re afraid to do. There can be no courage unless you’re scared.”
— Eddie Rickenbacker, World War I pilot

“No captain can do very wrong if he places his ship alongside that of the enemy.”
— Admiral Horatio Nelson

“Never forget that no military leader has ever become great without audacity.”
Carl von Clausewitz, Prussian general and military theorist

“Courage is fear holding on a minute longer.”
General George S. Patton, World War II field commander

“A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others.”
General Douglas MacArthur

“Leadership is solving problems. The day soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help or concluded you do not care. Either case is a failure of leadership.”
— General Colin Powell, former U.S. Secretary of State

Leadership Quotes for Kids, Students, and Teachers

These quotes emphasize character traits and actions that are foundational for leadership. These include choosing friends wisely, being authentic, being a reader, being brave, embracing our dreams, cultivating wisdom, seeking personal growth, and seeking to draw out the best in others.

“Today a reader, tomorrow a leader.”
– Margaret Fuller, journalist

“What makes Superman a hero is not that he has power, but that he has the wisdom and the maturity to use the power wisely.”
— Christopher Reeve, actor

“Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.”
— Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric

“It is a curious thing, Harry, but perhaps those who are best suited to power are those who have never sought it. Those who, like you, have leadership thrust upon them, and take up the mantle because they must, and find to their own surprise that they wear it well.”
— From J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

“Leadership is unlocking people’s potential to become better.”
— Bill Bradley, former U.S. senator

“As we look ahead into the 21st century, leaders will be those who empower others.”
— Bill Gates, Founder of Microsoft

“I have three precious things, which I hold fast and prize. The first is gentleness; the second is frugality; the third is humility, which keeps me from putting myself before others. Be gentle and you can be bold; be frugal and you can be liberal; avoid putting yourself before others and you can become a leader among men.”
– Lao-Tzu, Chinese philosopher

“Education is the most powerful weapon, which you can use to change the world.”
– Nelson Mandela, former President South Africa

“Great leaders harness personal courage, capture the hearts and minds of others and empower new leaders to make the world a better place.”
– Maxine Driscoll, Founder of Think Strategic

“If you want to know what a man’s like, take a look at how he treats his inferiors not his equals.”
— Sirius Black, character in the Harry Potter series

“I want every little girl who’s told she’s bossy to be told instead that she has leadership skills.”
— Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook

“A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.”
— Henry Adams, historian

“All our dreams can come true – if we have the courage to pursue them.”
— Walt Disney, entrepreneur and founder of the Walt Disney Companies

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”
— Eleanor Roosevelt, former First Lady of the United States

“Hitch your wagon to a star.”
— Ralph Waldo Emerson, author and poet

“I cannot give you the formula for success, but I can give you the formula for failure: which is: Try to please everybody.”
— Herbert B. Swope, editor and journalist

“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”
— Theodor Seuss Geisel, author of Dr. Seuss books

“Be careful the environment you choose, for it will shape you; be careful the friends you choose, for you will be like them.”
— W. Clement Stone, entrepreneur and self-help author

Quotes on Leadership from the Bible

Much of what the Bible says about leadership is about the type to avoid. It criticizes the failures of religious and political leaders like Hophni and Phinehas, the sons of Samuel, and many kings, citing “dishonest gain” and “bribes and perverted justice.” The Bible also describes the virtues and actions required for good leadership.

“Do you see someone skilled in their work? They will serve before kings; they will not serve before officials of low rank.”
— Proverbs 22:29

“But select capable men from all the people — men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain — and appoint them as officials . . .”
— Exodus 18:21

“And David shepherded them with integrity of heart;
with skillful hands he led them.”
— Psalm 78:72

“When the righteous thrive, the people rejoice;
when the wicked rule, the people groan.”
— Proverbs 29:2

“By justice a king gives a country stability,
but those who are greedy for bribes tear it down.”
— Proverbs 29:4

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.”
— Philippians 2:3

“Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach.”
— 1 Timothy 3:2

“[W]hoever wants to become great among you must be your servant . . .”
— Mark 10:43

“Where there is no vision, the people perish . . . ”
— Proverbs 29:18

Final Thoughts on Leadership

Words can be powerful, but only if you follow up their inspiration with action. Remember, a great leader requires more than a title — you need drive, creativity, and a willingness to learn.

We hope these inspirational quotes on leadership from historical figures and business leaders have been useful to you. Why not take a new step today to improve your leadership quotient?

FAQ on Leadership

Inspired to pursue leadership opportunities? Read on!

What are the qualities of a good leader?

Having a clearly defined moral compass (set of virtues) that you follow is important. Virtues such as honesty and integrity are required for leadership positions and help to cultivate the respect of those who report to you.

Good communication skills are critical. Emotional intelligence is increasingly seen as a trait that is important for leadership.

Being able to think strategically is crucial. Developing trust and cooperation in a team is another important quality.

Good leaders also have strong decision-making skills. This includes allowing the context of a decision to shape the type of decision made. For example, some decision-making contexts require simple analysis, others require expert analysis, while others require experimentation or immediate action to stabilize a situation.

How can I improve my leadership skills?

    1. Find ways to promote your own personal growth. Aim to boost your self-awareness, which will advance your growth.
    2. Consider whether it’s time to “disrupt yourself.” In her book Disrupt Yourself: Putting the Power of Disruptive Innovation to Work, Whitney Johnson explains how we tend to plateau repeatedly in our lives. She offers ways we can pivot away from a plateau and on to a new hypergrowth curve.
    1. Find leaders you admire and learn everything you can about them.
    2. If you have yet to hold a major leadership position, consider seeking opportunities to provide volunteer leadership.
    1. Ask knowledgeable and experienced people you trust to give you candid feedback on your strengths and what you should improve.
    1. Advance your knowledge via online courses and reading (or listening to) books. In addition to honing your leadership skills, you can focus on learning about business analysis, financial analysis, global trade, financial instruments, and more. Leaders are often expected to have broad knowledge.
    2. Commit to continuous learning in technology. The pace of technological change is only going to increase. AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson has said that those who don’t spend 5-10 hours a week in online learning to keep up will make themselves obsolete.
    1. Learn about the hidden power of social networks. Tend to your social network, adding to it or pruning where necessary. Research has shown that we become more like those we surround ourselves with, so choose your friends wisely.
    1. Take advantage of free opportunities to improve your communication and leadership skills, such as Toastmasters International or being mentored.
  1. Learn how to develop trust and cooperation within a team.
  2. Develop active listening skills.

Video above: Yale professor and physician Nicholas Christakis has done fascinating research into how our social networks impact us in surprising ways. How might you apply this knowledge to your quest to become a better leader?

What are the elements of effective leadership?

  1. A track record of unfalsifiable results.
  2. Dedication to helping team members achieve their personal career goals.
  3. Accountability: the effective leader accepts responsibility where appropriate and never blames others for his or her own mistakes.
  4. Competency and authenticity: the effective leader, by his or her example, causes others to want to follow their lead.
  5. The ability to identify problems worth solving.
  6. An effective leader easily admits mistakes and errors or lack of knowledge of a topic.
  7. Seeks specialized expertise where and when necessary.
  8. Consistency in behavior and hard work.
  9. A pattern of being “ahead of the curve” — foreseeing problems and opportunities.
  10. Rewards others for accomplishments.
  11. A thorough commitment to the mission.
  12. The effective leader has a high level of self-awareness.

Have a favorite quote we missed from this list? Let us know in the comments!

Contributing writer: Danielle Antosz