5 Crucial Quotes on Leadership and Why They are Important

I am very passionate about leadership in education because a great leader saved my career.  She showed me the importance of tapping into someone’s strengths and bringing out more in someone that they believed they could bring out in themselves.  I am forever grateful for her guidance and think about her leadership often and hope that I provide just a portion for others through my work, in what she did for me.

Going over some of my favorite leadership quotes, I wanted to pick out five and share why they are so important.


  1. “Freedom is actually a bigger game than power. Power is about what you can control. Freedom is about what you can unleash.” Harriet RubinThis is easily my favorite quote on leadership.  The word “control” is not something that is conducive to leadership, but for a myriad of reasons, many leaders make this their “go to” move.  Empowering others, bringing out the best in them, and trusting them to go above and beyond expectations, is essential to not only school leadership, but teaching.Freedom doesn’t mean “free for all”; there is guidance through the process. It also says that once you take control of the situation, a person will only (at best) do what they are told, not what they possibly could.

    Letting go can be one of the hardest, but best things one can do as a leader.

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  2. “Leadership is communicating to people their worth and potential so clearly that they come to see it in themselves.” Stephen Covey What I love about this Covey quote is that it reminds me that you can lead from any role or position. It does not shirk a person of responsibility, but it tells us that to lead, one must create conditions to follow.Some of the best leaders in education are classroom teachers, some of the weakest leaders are school administrators.  It is all about what you do for others, not for yourself.
  3. “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” – John F. Kennedy

    In a time where the rate of change is faster than ever, it is crucial that leaders do not ask others to learn and grow why they stay stagnant.  If you are to “lead,” you must understand the past, present, and the potential of the future.  Leaders are not there to maintain but to move forward.  Without continuous learning, this is impossible.Image result for learning and leadership are

  4. “To add value to others, one must first value others.” – John Maxwell Strengths-based leadership is something that should be the norm in education or any organization for that matter.  When people feel they are valued, they will go to the ends of the earth for you. If they think you are trying to fix their flaws, they will fight you the entire way.
  5. “A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don’t necessarily want to go, but ought to be.” -Rosalynn CarterThis is a gentle reminder that “great” leadership is hard work.  It is easy to be the leader that just lets people “do their thing,” but it is not always effective.  Great leadership not only grows the organization but the individual, knowing that increasing the individual, develops the organization. Leadership can be hard and filled with difficult conversations, but that is part of the change process.


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A reminder…The legacy of a leader is not in what they do, but what the people they serve do because of their leadership.

I would love to know your favorite quotes and why they resonate. Please feel free to share them in the comments.

Source: George Couros