20 Quotes on Leadership for Millennials

Today, about a quarter of the American workforce is under age 30, but in the federal government, that number is just 7 percent. Still, this millennial generation is expected to comprise more than three-quarters of the workforce within the next decade as retirements pick up. As such, an increasing number of millennials will be moving into leadership roles. One of the interesting things about millennials who are currently in leadership positions in both the public and private sectors is that they often don’t view leadership in traditional, hierarchical terms. Instead, many millennials see leadership as an opportunity to encourage greater teamwork and cross-boundary collaboration. If you are currently a millennial leader, or if you aspire to be one, we’ve developed a collection of 20 quotes to support this vision of collective, selfless leadership.

  1. “Management is doing things right. Leadership is doing the right things.” ― Peter Drucker
  2. “Leaders must be close enough to relate to others, but far enough ahead to motivate them.” — John C. Maxwell
  3. “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” ― John Kennedy
  4. “Good leaders make people feel that they’re at the very heart of things, not at the periphery.” — Warren G. Bennis
  5. “No man will make a great leader who wants to do it all himself, or to get all the credit for doing it.” ― Andrew Carnegie
  6. “Outstanding leaders go out of their way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it’s amazing what they can accomplish.” ― Sam Walton
  7. “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” ― John Quincy Adams
  8. “You don’t lead by pointing and telling people some place to go. You lead by going to that place and making a case.” ― Ken Kesey
  9. “Leaders lead but in the end it’s the people who deliver.” — Tony Blair
  10. “Good leaders must first become good servants.” — Robert Greenleaf
  11. “Leaders understand the ultimate power of relationships.” — Tom Peters
  12. “Good leaders need a positive agenda, not just an agenda of dealing with crisis.” — Michael Porter
  13. “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
  14. “Motivation and inspiration energize people, not by pushing them in the right direction as control mechanisms do but by satisfying basic human needs for achievement, a sense of belonging, recognition, self-esteem, a feeling of control over one’s life, and the ability to live up to one’s ideals. Such feelings touch us deeply and elicit a powerful response.” ― John P. Kotter
  15. “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
  16. “Lead from the back, and let others believe they are in front.” ― Nelson Mandela
  17. “Whatever you are, be a good one.” ― Abraham Lincoln
  18. “Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.” ― John Wooden
  19. “The most important thing in good leadership is truly caring. The best leaders in any profession care about the people they lead, and the people who are being led know when the caring is genuine and when it’s faked or not there at all.” ― Dean Smith

And a bonus quote for millennials who are tired of hearing that they are entitled: “We do have a sense of entitlement, a sense of ownership, because, after all, this is the world we were born into, and we are responsible for it.”― Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel

What are your favorite leadership quotes? Share them below!

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Scott Kearby

Here are a few of my favorites …

“If you don’t like bad news, you should get out of the leadership business. Your job is to hear as much bad news as there is out there and to figure out ways of dealing with it.” Kim Campbell, Canadian Politician

“In order to be a leader a man must have followers. And to have followers, a man must have their confidence. Hence, the supreme quality of a leader is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, a football field, in an army, or in an office. If a man’s associates find him guilty of being phony, if they find that he lacks forthright integrity, he will fail. His teachings and actions must square with each other. The first great need, therefore, is integrity and high purpose.” Dwight D. Eisenhower, 5-Star General & President of the United States

“Technology will tend to drive you away from your people. Don’t forget the basic adage: the effective leader spends at least 25 percent of his/her time “out with the troops.” The need to discipline yourself to be in the organization is more difficult in an information-rich, rapid communications world. The military histories of tomorrow are not going to focus on who wrote the most vivid electronic message. Your most critical resource is people. You must gain their confidence, stimulate their productivity, and reward their accomplishments. The only way this can be done is to get out from behind your computer terminal.” Brig Gen Stuart R. Boyd, USAF

“You can’t get much done in life if you only work on the days when you feel good.” Jerry West, NBA Guard & Coach