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Inspiring Work-Related Quotes for All Occasions
When you're looking for the perfect words to sum up a situation, express an idea, convey appreciation, or inspire others to rise to the occasion, it's smart to turn to the experts to see what they said. Whether you're preparing a motivational speech or sending a note to a valued coworker, you will find inspiration here, including
- quotes about effective leadership and great leaders
- words about taking action and making things happen
- quotes that celebrate and promote teamwork
- sayings about how breaking the rules and thinking outside the box are sometimes necessary for success
- words to inspire persistence, sticking to it, and never giving up.
Quotes About Good Leaders
Good leaders lead by example, inspiring everyone around them towards greatness. Here are some quotes that speak to that idea.
"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
"A good leader takes a little more than his share of the blame, a little less than his share of the credit." Arnold Glasow
"Don't tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results." George S. Patton Jr.
“A brave leader is someone who says I see you. I hear you. I don’t have all the answers, but I’m going to keep listening and asking questions.” Brené Brown
“There is no end to the good you can do if you don’t care who gets the credit.” Colin Powell
"The best leader is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and the self-restraint to keep from meddling with them while they do it." Theodore Roosevelt
“To lead people, walk behind them.” Lao Tzu
"The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires." William Arthur Ward
"Become the kind of leader that people would follow voluntarily, even if you had no title or position." Brian Tracy
"Leaders don't inflict pain, they share pain." Max Depree
"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 MacArthur
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Quotes About Great Leadership
Truisms, mottos, and deep thoughts to guide good leaders towards even greater leadership.
"The function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers." Ralph Nader
"I suppose leadership at one time meant muscles; but today it means getting along with people." Mahatma Gandhi
"Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right thing." Peter F. Drucker
"The task of leadership is not to put greatness into humanity, but to elicit it, for the greatness is already there." John Buchan
"Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other." John Fitzgerald Kennedy
"It doesn't make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do." Steve Jobs
"To add value to others, one must first value others." John Maxwell
"Treat people as if they were what they ought to be, and you help them become what they are capable of being." Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
"Control is not leadership; management is not leadership; leadership is leadership. If you seek to lead, invest at least 50% of your time in leading yourself—your own purpose, ethics, principles, motivation, conduct. Invest at least 20% leading those with authority over you and 15% leading your peers." Dee Hock
Quotes About Taking Action
In order to prevail, you have to move forward. Here is a list of inspirational quotes about how all success stories have one thing in common: Someone did something, took action, and made something happen.
"You don’t lead by pointing and telling people some place to go. You lead by going to that place and making a case.” Ken Kesey
“It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.” Leonardo da Vinci
“Well done is better than well said.” Benjamin Franklin
“Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you.” Thomas Jefferson
“Don’t find fault, find a remedy.” Henry Ford
"A man is the sum of his actions, of what he has done, of what he can do. Nothing else." Mahatma Ghandi
“People may doubt what you say, but they will believe what you do.” Lewis Cass
“Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.” Warren Buffett
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Thomas Edison
“Let your performance do the thinking.” Charlotte Brontë
“Success is the sum of small efforts–repeated day in and day out.” Robert Collier
Quotes That Celebrate Teams and Promote Teamwork
Great leaders know that it's not all about them. They have learned to check their egos, applaud others, and recognize the power of teamwork. Here are some famous quotes that illustrate the idea that nobody succeeds alone.
"Management is about persuading people to do things they do not want to do, while leadership is about inspiring people to do things they never thought they could." Steve Jobs
"There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it." Edith Wharton
"No man will make a great leader who wants to do it all himself, or to get all the credit for doing it." Andrew Carnegie
"Real leadership is leaders recognizing that they serve the people that they lead." Pete Hoekstra
"A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has." Margaret Mead
“The main ingredient of stardom is the rest of the team.” John Wooden
“There is no such thing as a self-made man. You will reach your goals only with the help of others.” George Shinn
“No one can whistle a symphony. It takes a whole orchestra to play it.” H.E. Luccock
“Individual commitment to a group effort: That is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.” Vince Lombardi
“The ratio of ‘we's’ to ‘I’s’ is the best indicator of the development of a team.” Lewis B. Ergen
“No matter how brilliant your mind or strategy, if you’re playing a solo game, you’ll always lose out to a team.” Reid Hoffman
"The growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership." Harvey S. Firestone
Quotes About Thinking Outside the Box
Success requires nose-to-the-grindstone hard work, but it also requires a macro, birds-eye-view of what's going on. Here are some words that celebrate those who look at The Big Picture.
"People buy into the leader before they buy into the vision." John C. Maxwell
“Leadership is action, not position.” Donald H. McGannon
“Only when diverse perspectives are included, respected, and valued can we start to get a full picture of the world.” Brené Brown
“You don’t step on enthusiasm.” Colin Powell
“A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business.” Henry Ford
Simple can be harder than complex; you have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple.” Steve Jobs
“Money and success don’t change people; they merely amplify what is already there.” Will Smith
“In teamwork, silence isn’t golden. It’s deadly.” Mark Sanborn
"Doing what is right isn't the problem. It is knowing what is right." Lyndon B Johnson
"If you're not sure where you are going, you're liable to end up someplace else." Robert F. Mager
"I cannot give you the formula for success, but I can give you the formula for failure, which is: Try to please everybody." Herbert Swope
“A man who wants to lead the orchestra must turn his back on the crowd.” Max Lucado
"A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus." Martin Luther King Jr.
"We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be." Kurt Vonnegut
Quotes About Persistence, Sticking to It, and Not Giving Up
Sometimes, when the going gets tough, a team needs a little morale boost to keep it up. Here are some quotes to let coworkers know that their persistence is appreciated.
"Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration. Great accomplishments depend not so much on ingenuity as on hard work." Thomas Edison
“When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.” Abraham Lincoln
“If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.” Jim Rohn
"Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” Winston Churchill
“What lies behind us, and what lies before us are but tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” Ralph Waldo Emerson