75 Quotes that will inspire you to Lead by Example

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True leadership is an exercise in demonstrating the qualities a leader wishes to develop in others. Nobody can be taught by a leader who does not display the qualities they try to teach.

Lead by Example quotes

Here are 75 of the best quotes about leading by example.

  1. “Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest.” Mark Twain
  2. “People may teach what they know, but they reproduce what they are.” John C. Maxwell
  3. “What you are speaks so loudly, I can’t hear what you are saying.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
  4. “The three most important ways to lead people are… by example… by example… by example.” Albert Schweitzer
  5. “A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. He does not set out to be a leader, but becomes one by the equality of his actions and the integrity of his intent.” Douglas MacArthur
  6. “Never separate the life you live from the words you speak.” Paul Wellstone
  7. “The leader sees things through the eyes of his followers. He puts himself in their shoes and helps them make their dreams come true. The leader does not say, ‘Get going!’ Instead he says, ‘Let’s go!’ and leads the way. He does not walk behind with a whip; he is out in front with a banner.” Wilfred Peterson
  8. “Setting an example is not the main means of influencing others, it is the only means.” Albert Einstein
  9. “The world is changed by your example not your opinion.” Paul Coelho
  10. “Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are often stiffened.” Billy Graham
  11. “Nothing so conclusively proves a man’s ability to lead others, as what he does from day to day to lead himself.” Thomas J. Watson
  12. “Make it your business to draw out the best in others by being an exemplar yourself.” Epictetus
  13. “The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly.” Jim Rohn
  14. “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” John Quincy Adams
  15. “Not the cry, but the flight of a wild duck, leads the flock to fly and follow.” Chinese Proverb
  16. “Waste no more time arguing about what a good man should be. Be one.” Marcus Aurelius
  17. “I challenge you to make your life a masterpiece. I challenge you to join the ranks of those people who live what they teach, who walk their talk.” Tony Robbins
  18. “Earn your leadership every day.” Michael Jordan
  19. “Lead and inspire people. Don’t try to manage and manipulate people. Inventories can be managed but people must be led.” Ross Perot
  20. “You can’t be successful with other people if you haven’t paid the price of success with yourself.” Stephen Covey
  21. “If you would lift me up you must be on higher ground.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
  22. “People naturally follow leaders stronger than themselves.” John C. Maxwell
  23. “Be the change you want to see in the world.” Mahatma Gandhi
  24. “Nothing speaks like results. If you want to build the kind of credibility that connects with people, then deliver results before you deliver a message. Get out and do what you advise others to do. Communicate from experience.” John C. Maxwell
  25. “Efficiency is doing the thing right. Effectiveness is doing the right thing.” Peter F. Drucker
  26. “Always do everything you ask of those you command.” General George S. Patton
  27. “We are defined by what we do repeatedly, therefore excellence is a habit, not an act.” Aristotle
  28. “The man on top of the mountain didn’t fall there.” Unknown
  29. “A superior man is modest in his speech, but exceeds in his actions.” Confucius
  30. “The quality of a leader is reflected in the standards they set for themselves.” Ray Kroc
  31. “Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.” Steve Jobs
  32. “Actions, not words, are the ultimate results of leadership.” Bill Owens
  33. “People who are truly strong lift others up. People who are truly powerful bring others together.” Michelle Obama
  34. “As a leader, I am tough on myself and I raise the standard for everybody; however, I am very caring because I want people to excel at what they are doing so that they can aspire to be me in the future.” Indra Nooyi
  35. “People ask the difference between a leader and a boss. The leader leads, and the boss drives.” Theodore Roosevelt
  36. “Leadership is the challenge to be something more than average.” Jim Rohn
  37. “Leadership is a series of behaviors rather than a role for heroes.” Margaret J. Wheatley
  38. “As a leader, it’s a major responsibility on your shoulders to practice the behavior you want others to follow.” Himanshu Bhatia
  39. “Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence, and making sure that impact lasts in your absence.” Sheryl Sandberg
  40. “Keep your fears to yourself, but share your courage with others.” Robert Louis Stevenson
  41. “True leaders understand that leadership is not about them but about those they serve. It is not about exalting themselves but about lifting others up.” Sheri L. Dew
  42. “My research debunks the myth that many people seem to have . . . that you become a leader by fighting your way to the top. Rather, you become a leader by helping others to the top.” William Cohen
  43. “Good leaders must first become good servants.” Robert K. Greenleaf
  44. “Leadership is a potent combination of strategy and character. But, if you must be without one, be without strategy.” General Norman Schwarzkopf
  45. “If you want to improve the organization, you have to improve yourself and the organization gets pulled up with you.” Indra Nooyi
  46. “To be persuasive we must be believable; to be believable we must be credible; to be credible we must be truthful.” Edward R. Murrow
  47. “A leader is not an administrator who loves to run others, but someone who carries water for his people so that they can get on with their jobs.” Robert Townsend
  48. “I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion.” Alexander the Great
  49. “To be a leader, you have to make people want to follow you, and nobody wants to follow someone who doesn’t know where he is going.” Joe Namath
  50. “A person always doing his or her best becomes a natural leader, just by example.” Joe DiMaggio
  51. “It is absurd that a man should rule others, who cannot rule himself.” Latin Proverb
  52. “True leadership stems from individuality that is honestly and sometimes imperfectly expressed… Leaders should strive for authenticity over perfection.” Sheryl Sandberg
  53. “Example is leadership.” Albert Schweitzer
  54. “Leadership is practiced not so much in words as in attitude and in actions.” Harold S. Green
  55. “I don’t know any other way to lead but by example.” Don Shula
  56. “Leadership is a matter of having people look at you and gain confidence, seeing how you react. If you’re in control, they’re in control.” Tom Landry
  57. “The most powerful leadership tool you have is your own example.” John Wooden
  58. “A good leader walks the talk, takes responsibility and inspires others to also walk the talk and take responsibility.” Sri Sri Ravishankar
  59. “We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.” Kurt Vonnegut
  60. “Great leaders are not defined by the absence of weakness, but rather by the presence of clear strengths.” John Zenger
  61. “You cannot be a leader, and ask other people to follow you, unless you know how to follow, too.” Sam Rayburn
  62. “Real leadership is leaders recognizing that they serve the people that they lead.” Pete Hoekstra
  63. “Leadership is an action, not a position.” Donald McGannon
  64. “The price of greatness is responsibility.” Winston Churchill​​​​​​​
  65. “Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence.” Vince Lombardi
  66. “It’s hard to lead a cavalry charge if you think you look funny on a horse.” Adlai Stevenson
  67. “To do great things is difficult; but to command great things is more difficult.” Friedrich Nietzsche
  68. “A good leader is a person who takes a little more than his share of the blame and a little less than his share of the credit.” John C. Maxwell​​​​​​​
  69. “Shine your light and make a positive impact on the world; there is nothing so honorable as helping improve the lives of others.” Roy T. Bennett​​​​​​​
  70. “A great person attracts great people and knows how to hold them together.” Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
  71. “Always treat your employees exactly as you want them to treat your best customers.” Stephen R. Covey
  72. “I have three precious things which I hold fast and prize. The first is gentleness; the second is frugality; the third is humility, which keeps me from putting myself before others. Be gentle and you can be bold; be frugal and you can be liberal; avoid putting yourself before others and you can become a leader among men.” Lao Tzu​​​​​​​
  73. “The time is always right to do what is right.” Martin Luther King Jr​​​​​​​.
  74. “A boss says, “you do it”, a leader says, “Let’s do it”.” Amit Kalantri
  75. “Inspiring conduct has so much more of an impact than coercing it.” Thomas Friedman​​​​​​​

Related: Magnus Carlsen Quotes

Do these quotes inspire you to be a better leader by example this week?

Great leaders are those who understand they must inspire others by demonstrating the qualities they desire to instill in others. These quotes inspire us all to do our best to lead by example. Take a moment and print out this page. Or choose the top quote that inspires you and print that one out. You can be a more inspirational leader this week!


Also see our amazing collection of Boss Babe Quotes here!