Quotations About
leadership

If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.

Though attributed to Saint-Exupéry in several business self-help books, no example written by Saint-Exupéry has been found. See wikiquote for more discussion on the matter.
This quote is attributed / unsourced.

The President must be greater than anyone else, but not better than anyone else. We subject him and his family to close and constant scrutiny and denounce them for things that we ourselves do every day. A Presidential slip of the tongue, a slight error in judgment — social, political, or ethical — can raise a storm of protest. We give the President more work than a man can do, more responsibility than a man should take, more pressure than a man can bear. We abuse him often and rarely praise him. We wear him out, use him up, eat him up. And with all this, Americans have a love for the President that goes beyond loyalty or party nationality; he is ours, and we exercise the right to destroy him.

America and Americans (1966)

Themistocles said that he certainly could not make use of any stringed instrument; could only, were a small and obscure city put into his hands, make it great and glorious.

Life of Themistocles
Posted in: Plutarch

We herd sheep, we drive cattle, we lead people. Lead me, follow me, or get out of my way.

Steve Rogers: We have orders, we should follow them.
Tony Stark: Following’s not really my style.
Steve Rogers: And you’re all about style, aren’t you?
Tony Stark: Of the people in this room, which one is: A, wearing a spangly outfit; and B, not of use?

Ramius: Upon reaching the New World, Cortez burned his ships; as a result his men were well motivated.

Michael: I know, grumble, grumble. But you would follow me to the ends of the earth, grumbling all the way. Like that dwarf from Lord of the Rings.
Dwight: Gimli.
Michael: Nerd. That is why you’re not on the team.

Basketball (season 1, episode 5)

Michael: Would I rather be feared or loved? Easy, both. I want people to be afraid of how much they love me.

The Fight (season 2, episode 6)

Jan: Do you always shut down the entire office when you leave for an hour?
Michael: No. No, that would not be efficient… Actually, they just don’t get a lot of work done when I’m not here… That’s not true. I know how to delegate. And they do more work when I’m not here… Not more… the same amount of work is done whether I am here or not.

The Client (season 2, episode 7)

Starbuck: Barely competent and paranoid. There’s a hell of a combination.

The Captain's Hand (season 2, episode 17)

Nations touch at their summits.

The English Constitution (1867) No. IV, The House of Lords
Posted in: Walter Bagehot

The people who really run organizations are usually found several levels down, where it is still possible to get things done.

Small Gods
Posted in: Terry Pratchett

Where there is discord, may we bring harmony. Where there is error, may we bring truth. Where there is doubt, may we bring faith. And where there is despair, may we bring hope.

Statement on the doorstep of 10 Downing Street, after her election as Prime Minister (1979)

You know, if you just set out to be liked, you would be prepared to compromise on anything, wouldn’t you, at any time? And you would achieve nothing!

Interview for Press Association (10th anniversary as Prime Minister). 3 May 1989

Vern Thurman: You’ll make a good chief one day.
Molly Solverson: Me? What about Bill? He’s got seniority.
Vern Thurman: Bill cleans his gun with bubble bath. No, it’ll be you.

The Crocodile's Dilemma (Season 1, Episode 1)
Posted in: Fargo (TV)