140 Outstanding Leadership Quotes From The Global Leadership Summit
These quotes from powerful founders and corporate leaders,, best-selling authors, and world-class speakers sum up what true leadership is all about.
PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images
Last week I had the honor of attending this year's Global Leadership Summit. No small technological feat, the summit is broadcast in 725 locations across the US and Canada with additional locations in 130 other countries. It's translated into 60 languages.
I left the summit with a sizable boost of inspiration and an immeasurable dose of admiration for the 15 world class leaders who spoke at this conference. I have a steep appreciation for leaders who publicly validate a need for strong emotional intelligence, core values, transparency, authenticity, and compassion in today's leaders, as these speakers do. Here are 140 quotes to offer you a taste of the summit.
Simon Sinek, best-selling author, shared lessons from his upcoming book The Infinite Game.
1. A Just Cause says we will never get there but we will die trying.
2. Your Just Cause must be inclusive.
3. Your Just Cause must be service-oriented. The benefit must go to someone other than the contributor.
4. The primary benefit of leadership should go to someone else other than the leader.
5. You can tell when someone is commission-driven. You can feel it.
6. Leaders create an environment for employees to be their best selves. Safe enough to admit they need help or made a mistake without feeling it will hurt them.
7. "How do we get the best out of our people" is the wrong question. They aren't a towel to be wrung out. A better question is: "How do I create an environment in which people can naturally be their best selves?"
8. We do not trust people who follow rules. We trust people who know when the break them.
9. A worthy rival is not a competitor. They are someone who pushes you to improve yourself. You are the competitor in an infinite game.
10. Shareholder value is like a coach who pleases the fans at the expense of his players.
11. Your cause drives your decision.
12. Others can push me harder, but I compete against no one but myself.
Angela Ahrendts, Senior V.P. of Retail for Apple.
13. Core values are the foundation of who you are, the foundation of what you believe, and what you carry with you through life.
14. Your core values dictate how you hire, how you lead, and the mission that you fulfill in life.
15. The higher up you go, the more you should connect and over-communicate.
16. Your job as a leader is to gather, unite, and inspire.
17. Don't allow your title to influence you.
18. Give yourself time to reset. When you give yourself time, your mind is clear and therefore your light can better shine.
19. Learn to hear and connect and celebrate.
20. When you are present with yourself you can be present for others.
21. A leader needs to walk slowly through the crowd.
22. In hiring, look for a we kind of person instead of a me kind of person.
23. It's not about hiring great individuals but how they fit into the team.
24. To move people, you have to be able to understand them.
25. You can teach people anything, but you can't teach people to care.
Craig Groeschel, Sr. Pastor, Life Church. Named by Glassdoor as one of the Top 25 Best CEO's of Mid-Sized Companies
26. If you don't trust your team, you are either too controlling or you have the wrong people. Either way, it is your problem to solve.
27. The best leaders unleash higher performance through empowerment, not command and control.
28. You can have control, or you can have growth, but you cannot have both.
29. Don't delegate tasks, that only creates followers. We delegate authority to create leaders.
30. The better you become as a leader, the fewer decisions you make.
31. The strength of the organization is reflected by how deep into the organization people have the ability to say "yes".
Dr. Nthabiseng Lagoete, Founder and CEO of Quali Health. Social entrepreneur.
32. Challenges don't mean the dream is not working. Challenges are stepping stones and learnings and something that will move you forward to a bigger space.
33. Collaborate with those in alignment with you.
34. Be relentless and unwavering in what you want to achieve, but not how you want to get there.
35. This is not about you. If you are worried about what people think about you, you are not focused on the vision.
36. There is no great leader without pain. There is no great leader without challenges.
37. The vision cannot be tied to a single person. It must drive itself.
38. Are you doing what you set out to achieve? If yes, everything else is just noise.
Juliet Funt, CEO of WhiteSpace at Work
39. Casualness makes us comfortable. When people are casual, you acquiesce to all sorts of unfortunate things.
40. The casualness of unnecessary work is killing us. This leads to companies falling into overload.
41. The seeds of problems in a company are conformity, compulsivity, and control.
42.The Whitepace 50/50 rule: Anything that bothers you at work is 50% your fault until you have asked for what you want.
43.The Yellow List: This is with everyone you work with and ask; does this need to be sent right now? If it doesn't, you add this to your yellow list.
44. The more we have our fingers in everything, the slower we'll move.
45. A legacy is a story yet to be written but you hold the pen. At some point, the only thing left in people's minds is your legacy.
Strive Masiyiwa, Founder one of Africa's largest telecommunications companies, Econet
46. If you know how to do things you will always have a job. If you know why you do them you will always be the leader.
47. Too many people think that once they run into failure they're done.
48. Multiculturalism begins with the way we think and thinking differently.
49. Values are universal. Just because you have differences doesn't mean you can't embrace and work together across cultures and differences.
50. If your business or vision solves a problem, people will seek it out.
51. If you want to be a success, find a human need and reach out and solve it.
52. You can mentor all you want but if you don't model it, they won't see.
53. Building anything always takes longer than you think.
54. A great vision is only as good as your ability to deliver daily wins.
55. Consistency is the bridge to each short-term win that finally leads to the great vision.
56. If you want to know who someone is, watch how they treat people they don't need.
T.D. Jakes, pastor, author, and filmmaker.
57. You want a vision that brings out the best in you.
58. A vision should sound ridiculous until you do it. You want a vision so big that you have to choose who to tell it to.
59. If you don't believe in anything crazy, you will never find out what you could be.
60. Too many people have to see their way clear before they get started.
61. It doesn't matter where you start, it matters where you finish.
62. So much of what we learn is about winning, but what stimulates growth is losing.
63. What did you learn from your last failure and how has it prepared you to soar?
64. To believe that something is possible is what makes greatness.
Carla Harris, Vice Chairman, Managing Director, and Senior Client Advisor at Morgan Stanley.
65. Powerful, impactful leaders know there is not a monopoly on intelligence.
66. The more power you give away the more powerful you become.
67. If people think there will be retribution for making a mistake, no one will give you an out of the box idea.
68. A leader's job is to create an environment where people want to contribute.
69. Leadership is a journey from execution to empowerment.
70. The price of inaction is greater than the cost of making the mistake. Indecisiveness can result in a lack of productivity in your team. Make decisions even in the face of a lack of information.
71. Don't be so afraid of making a mistake that you don't make a decision.
72. Every experience can result in lessons or blessings and both are valuable.
73. Authenticity is this is the heart of your power and the heart of influential leadership.
74. The easiest way to penetrate a relationship is to bring your authentic self to the table.
75. Your authenticity is your distinct competitive advantage.
76. The price of inaction is greater than the cost of making a mistake.
77. If you need a lot of ideas (and you do to succeed), you need a lot of perspectives and experiences in the room.
78. You must be engaged with your people and understand what makes people motivated to win.
79. The way you differentiate yourself is by taking risks.
80. The thing that makes a leader stand out is courage. This is what holds all these words together.
Danny Meyer, Restaurateur and one of TIME Magazine's 100 Most Influential People.
81. There's nothing worse than wasting your life on something you don't want to do.
82. The road to success is paved with mistakes well handled.
83. To get anywhere worthwhile is to listen to the people on the front lines.
84. Service means doing what you said you would do.
85. The shelf life of innovation is 2 minutes.
86. The customer is not always right. It's not about who's right or wrong, it's about feeling heard.
87. Companies thrive by doing the thoughtful things. Thoughtful is thinking and feeling.
88. If we know how to make you feel better than the next guy, you'll come back.
89. Once a mistake is made, you can't erase it. The only thing you can do is write a great next chapter.
Danielle Strickland, speaker, author, social justice advocate.
90. To make changes and change minds you must be able to imagine a better world and understand oppression.
91. We all want a better story and that is what everyone is after.
92. What makes the world flourish is men and women working together.
93. Women's empowerment is a key to so many of the things that are improving in our world.
94. If our actions and decisions are fear-based we will either be oppressed or be an oppressor. Fear is the currency of oppression.
95. Difference through the lens of fear is a threat. Difference through the lens of faith it is a blessing.
96. Mutuality is crucial for men and women to work together. The enemies of mutuality are power and sex.
97. Power is the ability to manipulate the course of events. How we use our power is the measure of our leadership.
98. Male privilege is a misuse of power. Shared responsibility is a good use of power. Do you invite women into your decision making?
99. Great leaders use power to empower other people.
100. If we're willing to listen to voices we don't normally listen to and are willing to learn from them, it will change how we live.
101. Never give up on the dream of men and women working together.
John Maxwell, NY Times best-selling author, and speaker.
102. If you can see the bigger picture, you are the leader, but now you have to see before others see.
103. Creativity and flexibility are crucial in leadership today.
104. Creative people believe there is always an answer.
105. Flexibility says there's usually more than one answer.
106. When you know what you want for your future, your mind will begin to think things that will help you get what you need; your heart will feel things that you need, your attitude will help you to believe.
107. Get people who drag you down out of your life. Be around people who inspire you.
108. The only way to guarantee that tomorrow will be better is to continue growing.
109. If you're still excited about what you did 5 years ago, you aren't growing.
Rasmus Ankersen, author, and entrepreneur.
110. Arrogance, complacency, and resistance to change can kill any company.
111. Leaders must think through how to keep their companies fresh and away from complacency.
112. One of the big problems for companies is outcome bias, defined by believing that good results are always the result of superior decision making.
113. Data never lies.
114. The fewer goals in a game, the more randomness has an impact. That's why the best team wins less often in soccer compared to basketball.
115. When you are successful, you should always ask why you were successful.
116. Too many companies hesitate to change, they wait until they have a burning platform.
117. When we become successful, comfort becomes more important than improvement.
118. One of the most important jobs of a leader is convincing people they haven't reached the top.
David Livermore, President of the Cultural Intelligence Center and best-selling author.
119. It is our mistakes that help us improve as leaders, far more than our successes.
120. Cultural intelligence is the ability to work effectively together when people are from different cultural backgrounds.
121. The number one characteristic of a culturally intelligent leader is their curiosity.
122. Culturally intelligent leaders understand what makes people different.
123. Leaders should fight against the fear to learn from others.
124. Leaders need to channel their curiosity and what they're learning and turn that into a strategy.
125. Diversity has the potential to lead to innovation and growth, but only if the leaders have a high cultural intelligence.
Erwin McManus, author, mystic, futurist, filmmaker, and designer.
126. I'm amazed at how many people need permission to get started but no one needs permission to quit.
127. The greatest battles we fight are within ourselves.
128. We are afraid that we have something inside of us that will never be actualized.
129. We're haunted that we might never live up to what is inside of us.
130. We know our life is supposed to matter and were scared it won't.
131. You need to treat every moment and day as sacred and essential.
132. Your freedom is on the other side of your fears.
133. If you don't deal with the paralyzing fear, you will never reach where you supposed to be.
134. So many of us only have the structure to lead when the world is at peace and things are easy.
135. Your greatness is on the other side of your pain.
136. What you fear has mastery over your life.
137. What you fear establishes the boundaries of your freedom.
138. A lot of us think our pain is the boundary of our limitations. Our pain is the boundary of our greatness.
139. Your future is on the other side of your failures.
140. Your faith doesn't make life easier, your faith makes you stronger.