How do you define leadership?

There are millions of results on Google, nearly two hundred thousand books on leadership, and countless articles, blog posts and commentaries defining leadership. In graduate school, Donna studied transactional leadership, transformational leadership, charismatic leadership, servant leadership and more. The methods and models are endless.


We believe that creating your definition for leadership, and living into it, is essential for your leadership success. Here are a range of quotes on leadership for you to contemplate.

  • Leadership is the art of giving people a platform for spreading ideas that work. ― Seth Godin.
  • Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.” ― Warren Bennis
  • Leadership is a potent combination of strategy and character. But if you must be without one, be without the strategy.
    ― Norman Schwarzkopf
  • “Your first and foremost job as a leader is to take charge of your own energy and then help to orchestrate the energy of those around you.” ― Peter F. Drucker
  • A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way. ― John Maxwell
  • “Leadership is an influence relationship between leaders and followers who intend real changes that reflect their mutual purposes for good.” ― Joseph Rost
  • My own definition of leadership is this: The capacity and the will to rally men and women to a common purpose and the character which inspired confidence. ― General Montgomery
  • “Don’t worry about ’21st-century leadership.’ If you are just decent to people, listen instead of talk, respect and encourage them, are religious about ‘managing by wandering around,’ most things will work out.” ― Tom Peters
  • Management is a set of processes that can keep a complicated system of people and technology running smoothly. The most important aspects of management include planning, budgeting, organizing, staffing, controlling, and problem-solving. Leadership is a set of processes that creates organizations in the first place or adapts them to significantly changing circumstances. Leadership defines what the future should look like, aligns people with that vision, and inspires them to make it happen despite the obstacles ― John P. Kotter
  • “Leadership is not magnetic personality, that can just as well be a glib tongue. It is not “making friends and influencing people”, that is flattery. Leadership is lifting a person’s vision to high sights, the raising of a person’s performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond it’s normal limitations.” ― Peter F. Drucker
  • Leadership is about how you make people feel—about you, about the project or work you’re doing together, and especially about themselves. ― Betsy Myers
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