15 Leadership Quotes to Help You be a Leader, Not a Manager

Sometimes you need a reminder and some inspiration to be a leader, not a manager. And there’s no better way to achieve both than with some leadership quotes!

What’s the difference between a leader and a manager? In my experience, it comes down to these key distinctions:

• Managers have people who work for them, while leaders have a sea of talent ready to follow in their footsteps.

• Managers rely on positional authority, whereas leaders exercise interpersonal influence.

• Managers like to control, while leaders inspire trust.

• Managers focus on execution, while leaders focus on developing and empowering others.

• Managers dole out tasks, while leaders share a vision that‘s motivating and meaningful.

15 Leadership Quotes About Being a Leader, Not a Manager

To move from being a manager to being a leader, build a strong followership. This means shifting focus away your own success, and making an investment in developing others. It takes having the courage to let others shine.

Here are 15 leadership quotes to inspire you to make the leap from manager to leader.

Cultivate Talent

“I measure my own success as a leader by how well the people who work for me succeed.” — Maria Shi

I measure my own success as a leader by how well the people who work for me succeed

“Time spent understanding people is never wasted.” — Cate Huston

Time spent understanding people is never wasted

“Call others into leadership with you.”— Jacobia Solomon

Call others into leadership with you.

Build Strong Teams

Don’t hire a copycat of yourself. Look for people whose skills are the opposite of yours. Dare to emphasize your weaknesses.” — Diane Janknegt

Look for people whose skills are the opposite of yours.

“If the people you lead have lost their spark, try looking in the mirror.” — Susan Fowler

Leaderly Quote: If the people you lead have lost their spark

“Managers light a fire under people; leaders light a fire in people.”
Kathy Austin

Managers light a fire under people...

Let Others Shine

Great leaders know when to step aside.” — Tara Jaye Frank

Great leaders know when to step aside.

“When the best leader’s work is done the people say,
‘We did it ourselves.’” — Lao Tzu

When the best leaders work is done

“A true star shines her light on others. Be a star.” — Chloe Pink

A true star shines her light on others

Stand up for Your People

“Great managers fight for their people.” — Liz Brenner

Great managers fight for their people

“Brag about what your people and team are doing. Build them up and help them find their voice.” — Stephanie Matthews

Brag about what your people and team are doing

“Be stubbornly committed to your team, but flexible in your leadership style.” — Jo Miller

Be stubbornly committed to your team, but flexible in your leadership style

Keep a Leaderly Mind-set

“Leaders don’t set out to climb the ladder. They rise by lifting others up.” — Jo Miller

Leadership quote: Leaders don't set out to climb the ladder. They rise by lifting others up.

“Always be the person you would want to work for.” — Liz Brenner

Always be the person you would want to work for

“Great leaders don’t set out to be leaders. They set out to make a difference.” — Jeremy Bravo

Great leaders don't set out to be leaders

Jo Miller

Jo Miller is a globally renowned authority on women’s leadership. She’s dedicated two decades to helping women advance into positions of influence by leveraging their leadership strengths. Based on her work with hundreds of thousands of women, she developed a pragmatic and powerful roadmap that guides women to become the leaders they aspire to be. Jo shares this proven process in her book Woman of Influence: 9 Steps to Build Your Brand, Establish Your Legacy, and Thrive (McGraw Hill, 2019.)

Jo is CEO of leadership development, consulting and research firm Be Leaderly. Learn more about her speaking engagements at www.JoMiller.com and follow @Jo_Miller on Twitter.

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