Tony Gurr

Leadership…QUOTES that tip the balance!

In Educational Leadership on 05/10/2011 at 2:49 pm

I remembered (this morning) that I had not done a “quotes” post for ages.

I also remembered that I sign up to the Linked-In group called Linked2LEADERSHIP – and that they have had a long-standing discussion on members “favourite” motivational leadership quotes. This discussion has been going on for ages – but I had not taken a closer look at what it had “produced”.

Wow – they had been busy! Pages and pages… 


I tried to choose a few of my own favourites – there were some good proverbs:

Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare. Japanese Proverb

If you think you’re leading and no one is following you, then you’re only taking a walk. Afghan Proverb


There were also some that we might call “classics”: 

Be the change you wish to see in the world. Ghandi 

Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless. Mother Teresa 

Logic will take you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere. Albert Einstein

No man is fit to command another who cannot command himself. William Penn 

Don’t walk behind me, I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me, I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend. Albert Camus

The leader is best when people barely know he exists. When his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselvesLao Tzu 

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


Or, “updated” classics:

If you want to change the world, take a look in the mirror and make that change. Michael Jackson

Risk more than others think is safe
Care more than others think is wise
Dream more than others think is practical
Expect more than others think is possible

 All Leaders are Readers!

There were quite a few from the “world of business”:

It’s amazing what you can achieve when you don’t care who gets the credit. Henry Ford.

Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish! Steve Jobs

If you give people the tools, and they use their natural ability and their curosity, they will develop things in ways that will suprise you very much beyond what you might have expected. Bill Gates 

Leadership is about creating a domain in which human beings continually deepen their understanding of reality and become more capable of participating in the unfolding of the world. Ultimately leadership is about creating new realities….Leaders are designers, stewards and teachers. They are responsible for building organizations where people continually expand their capabilities to understand complexity, clarify vision and improve shared mental models – that is, they are responsible for learning. Peter Senge


There were others that were, put simply, just very powerful:

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

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. He does not set out to be a leader, but becomes one by the equality of his actions and the integrity of his intent. Douglas McArthur 

It is never too late to be the leader you might have been. Jack Needham

You are on more secure ground helping him achieve what he values rather than telling him what to value. Jeanne Laskas

When the power of love overcomes the love of power, then there will be true peace. Sri Chin Moi Gosh


However, as some members of the group had begun to note – there were very few by women, for women, on women:

Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family. Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one. Jane Howard 

Change is not a process for the impatient. Barbara Reinhold 

Getting what you go after is success; but liking it while you are getting it is happiness.Bertha Damon

I have always grown from my problems and challenges, from the things that don’t work out, that’s when I’ve really learned. Carol Burnett 

I praise loudly, I blame softly. Catherine II of Russia 

Life is change. Growth is optional. Choose wisely. Karen Kaiser Clark 

Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending. Maria Robinson 

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. Marianne Williamson 

People won’t remember what you said or what you did. They will remember how you made them feel. Maya Angelou 
Sometimes it is the inquiry itself that offers the answer. Jacqueline Westhead 

The leadership instinct you are born with is the backbone. You develop the funny bone and the wishbone that go with it. Elaine Agather 

The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself. Anna Quindlen 

Those who are lifting the world upward and onward are those who encourage more than criticize. Elizabeth Harrison 

To acquire knowledge, one must study; but to acquire wisdom, one must observe. Marilyn Vos Savant 

What I am looking for is not out there, it is in me. Helen Keller 

When nothing is sure, everything is possible. Margaret Drabble 

Don’t be afraid of the space between your dreams and reality. If you can dream it, you can make it so. Belva Davis 

If we learn to open our hearts, anyone, including the people who drive us crazy, can be our teacher. Pema Chodron 

If you are never scared, embarrassed, or hurt, it means you never take chances. Julia Soul 

In organizations, real power and energy is generated through relationships. The patterns of relationships and the capacities to form them are more important than tasks, functions, roles and positions. Margaret Wheatley 

If your happiness and your work aren’t the same thing, you’re doing the wrong work, or working the wrong way. Change. Martha Beck 

If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. Don’t complain. Maya Angelou


Now, I’m not sure about you – but the women seem to send a slightly different message. Perhaps, we should listen to their advice!

But, I’ll finish with one from a man…and his CASTLE!


My thanks to Barbara Novak-Rowe for starting the discussion, all the people who shared their thoughts – and to Marie Bankuti for tipping the scales back towards women!

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