No matter what your definition of leadership is, being an effective leader is something every manager struggles with. Managerial skills are often picked up over time and with trial and error methods. You may learn that techniques that worked perfectly in one office failed miserably at your next managerial position. While leadership is in no way a perfect science, a good way to judge what works is to listen to the experts and top business managers. To give you insight into effective leadership, we have compiled leadership quotes from these respected business managers that will help you develop into a strong manager.
1. “Leadership is not about titles, position, or flowcharts. It is about one life influencing another.” - John C. Maxwell
The author of many leadership books, including The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, John Maxwell is an internationally recognized leadership coach. This simple quote from Maxwell demonstrates that it does not matter what the title on your business card reads unless you can connect with your employees on a one-on-one level. Being a manager means making a personal connection with people working under you, and in the long run, gaining their respect and trust. Management in business is often seen in an analytical way, but these metrics and facts do not matter without an actual connection to back them up.
2. “The secret of leadership is simple: Do what you believe in. Paint a picture of the future. Go there. People will follow.” - Seth Godin
Another top guru in leadership and management, Seth Godin is the best-selling author of Linchpin and Purple Cow. In this leadership quote from another top book, Tribes, Godin explains that if you believe in what you are doing and have excitement for your professional pursuits, others with naturally share you excitement and join you in your mission. Excitement is contagious, and your employees will follow your example of a positive attitude if you believe in what you do.
3. “The most effective leaders are actually better at guarding against danger when they acknowledge it that it exists. Cowards, in contrast, cling to the hope that failure will never happen and may be sloppy in the face of danger - not because they don't acknowledge that it exists, but because they are just too afraid of it to look it in the eye.” - Simon Sinek
A highly praised inspirational leader, Simon Sinek has given many TED talks on the subject. He is also the author of Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone To Take Action. This excerpt from Sinek gives the advice that you cannot be afraid of failure in leadership. As a manager, you need to understand the risks and dangers of leading to prevent these misfortunes from happening. Ignoring difficult tasks or problems will eventually lead to you becoming an ineffective manager.
4. “Leadership is not about a title or a designation. It's about impact, influence and inspiration. Impact involves getting results, influence is about spreading the passion you have for your work, and you have to inspire team-mates and customers.” - Robin S. Sharma
Writer, motivational speaker, leadership expert, and lawyer. Robin Sharma has many titles, but his personal development and leadership skills have made him an expert in management tactics. Like Godin, Sharma recognizes the need for passion, but he adds that it is the combination of passion, implementation, and the ability to inspire that makes an effective manager. Good leaders recognize that people need a figure capable of making difficult decisions to look up to in the workplace.
5. “Change before you have to.” - Jack Welch
The CEO and chairman of General Electrics for 20 years, Jack Welch knows a lot about successful leadership. He believes that constant change is the only way to stay relevant in the business world. If you stagnate and are no longer contributing useful ideas, your employees will stop respecting your leadership. A good tip for achieving positive change as a manager is to get anonymous feedback from your employees. Hearing what changes your employees suggest can help you lead in a positive and impactful way.
6. “Management is about arranging and telling. Leadership is about nurturing and enhancing.” - Tom Peters
Tom Peters is an expert in effective business management practices. He co-authored a book on the subject with Robert H. Waterman, Jr., titled In Search of Excellence. This insightful quote explains the difference between what people perceive as management and leadership. You can be a manager without being a leader, and vice-versa. Achieving leadership in management is the ultimate goal, and you cannot reach this goal without cultivating other leaders and bringing out their inherent talents.
7. “Leaders must wake people out of inertia. They must get people excited about something they've never seen before, something that does not yet exist.” - Rosabeth Moss Kanter
A professor of business at Harvard Business School, Rosabeth Moss Kanter is also the director and chair of the Harvard University Advanced Leadership Initiative. This group is focused on helping experienced leaders improve and solve social problems. In this quote, Kanter is focusing on how leaders need to constantly be focusing on the future and inspiring excitement about occupational possibilities in their employees. By pushing for new ideas and pushing workers to evolve mentally in their business solutions, leaders can help every member of their team grow. The goal of a good manager should be continuous progress for their employees and entire workplace.
8. “Putting the best team on the field starts with putting the best team on the bench.” - Dave Mattson
Dave Mattson is the CEO and president of Sandler Training. With more than 30 years experience in leadership training, Mattson believes that you cannot build a strong business performance without first assembling a strong team. Being a great manager means recognizing the strengths you lack and finding those qualities in employees that you bring on board your team. By filling your workplace with a diversified group of effective employees, you are acting as a successful leader.
Although many top businesspeople may claim to know the secret of leadership in management, only you can know what works for your team. Setting aside time to listen to their suggestions is a good place to start. Discovering their strengths can give you a good idea of how to implement individual skills, and letting each person know that their opinions are heard will earn their respect and trust.
Do you have additional management practices that have proved effective in your workplace? Share your successful leadership techniques with us!