Team leadership quotes to help you be a better leader

My favorite team leadership quote is from a former CEO of Zurich Insurance. I was working with him in a leadership development workshop, and he said:

Leading your team is about showing them a better future, showing them the path, and helping them along the way.

This has always stuck with me as the essence of leadership (and rooted in a servant-leadership mentality).

In this article we will look at:

  • Team leadership quotes that will help you be a better leader
  • Team leadership quotes that sound great, but have no practical value
  • How to create your own team leadership quotes!

Team leadership quotes that will help you be a better leader

None of us is as smart as all of us. Ken Blanchard

A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves. Lao Tzu

Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower. Steve Jobs

A good objective of leadership is to help those who are doing poorly to do well and to help those who are doing well to do even better. Jim Rohn

He who has never learned to obey cannot be a good commander. Aristotle

Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other. John F. Kennedy

The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority. Kenneth Blanchard

Each quote translated into an action

Here’s each quote translated into an action for you:

  1. Allow all the voices in your team to be heard
  2. Enable and recognizing your team members
  3. Innovate and lead change
  4. Flex your leadership style for the benefit of your team members
  5. Understand that sometimes you should be a follower (even of your team members)
  6. Help your team to learn and grow
  7. Aim to influence more, rather than use the power of formal authority

To benefit from the quotes, copy and paste the list above. Highlight in green the actions you already do well. Highlight in red the actions that you need to improve. Bold one action that you’re going to work on immediately.

Use self-reflection to check-in with yourself and evaluate your progress.

Team leadership quotes that sound great but have no practical value

There are plenty of team leadership quotes that sound great but seem to me to have no practical value (because they don’t help explore leadership behaviors).

Here are a few of examples:

Earn your leadership every day.

To do great things is difficult; but to command great things is more difficult.

Teamwork makes the dream work.

Why do I mention these quotes if they have no value?

First, because it’s a helpful business skill to be able to distinguish between fluff, and something that has real substance.  

Second, because I’m about to encourage you to create your own leadership quotes (and recognizing the good and the bad will help!).

How to create your own team leadership quotes

Have a go, it’s a great creative thinking exercise and it will help you reflect on what team leadership means to you.

Here are a few quotes that I’ve created for myself (mostly using metaphors), this is my favorite so far:

Being a team leader is like being a F1 racing driver. Amid all the furious noise and flashing distractions, you work with your team to move quickly and safely to the finish line. Then you huddle, reflect, learn, and go again!

Not quite right, because the leader shouldn’t be the star (see Lao Tzu, above!), but it has some truth in it.

Others that I feel don’t work so well:

Team leadership is 40% fighting fires, 40% delivering results, 20% navigating the corporate bullshit and 100% nurturing your team!

Team leadership is like the leaning tower of Piza, it looks impossible, but it endures forever!

This one is not too bad:

Great team leadership is like a great coffee shop: it’s warm and welcoming, it nourishes, and it provides a safe space to connect and get work done (and it protects you from the raging storms outside!).

Maybe that one is my favorite!

Are they brilliant, witty, and insightful? Hmm…

Was it a fun, thought-provoking and creative exercise? Absolutely yes!