When you’re the CEO of a company, you find yourself thinking a lot about leadership and what it takes to be a great leader. And if you happen to be in the consulting business, it’s not unusual for others to ask you for your insight about what it takes to be a great leader.

Keep reading regardless of your title. Everyone is a leader. Someone or some group of people (large or small) probably look to you for guidance, advice, or direction. That makes all of us leaders—which is why you might want to read to my favorite quotes about leadership.

If you think you are leading and turn around to see no one following, then you are just taking a walk.”  [Benjamin Hook]

  • I often find humor can be poignant. You want to be the type of leader that others want to follow.

A leader is a dealer in hope.” [Napoleon Bonaparte]

  • Inspiration is important. You want others to believe in you and where you can lead them.
  • People often search for leaders when there are problems. I find it helps to be a problem solver. You don’t need all the answers. Usually it is more important to ask the right questions.

My job is not to be easy on people. My job is to take these great people we have and to push them and make them even better.” [Steve Jobs]

  • Unless you challenge people to do something differently, you won’t get different results.
  • Unlike Steve Jobs (or perhaps I should say, his reputation), I believe that kindness and compassion are more effective ways to push people into areas that may be challenging for them.

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” [Martin Luther King, Jr.]

  • You need to believe in yourself and that what you are doing is right. For if you can’t convince yourself, how can you convince others?
  • The path to greatness is never easy—but that doesn’t mean the challenge isn’t worthwhile.

Average leaders raise the bar on themselves; good leaders raise the bar for others; great leaders inspire others to raise their own bar.” [Orrin Woodward]

  • Great leaders know how to tap into each person’s inner greatness. They know that most people can achieve more than they thought possible.

Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing.” [Albert Schweitzer]

  • Actions do speak louder than words. When others see us as walking the talk, it increases their belief in us and what we say.

The growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership.”[Harvey Firestone]

  • People are important. It’s not wealth or power or how many possessions you have. In the end, all that matters is the difference you can make in others’ lives.

I hope these quotes inspire you to think about what you do and say. We never know when others are following us or just watching what we do. We never know when we may have the privilege of impacting someone else’s life.