Leadership Quotes

On this page you will find a number of leadership quotes (with sources cited). Readers of this page are invited to submit additional quotes to appear on this page by contacting: Matt Hayes (mhayes@archdindy.org).


Effective Leaders:

  • A. Model the Way
    • Clarify values by finding your voice and affirming shared values.
    • Set the example by aligning actions with shared values.
  • B. Inspire a Shared Vision
    • Envision the future by imagining exciting and ennobling possibilities
    • Enlist others by appealing to shared aspirations
  • C. Challenge the Process
    • Search for opportunities by seizing the initiative and looking outward for innovative ways to improve.
    • Experiment and take risks by constantly generating small wins and learning from experience
  • D. Enabling Others to Act
    • Foster collaboration by building trust and facilitating relationships.
    • Strengthen others by increasing self-determination and developing competence
  • E. Encourage the Heart
    • Recognize contributions by showing appreciation for individual excellence.
    • Celebrate the values and victories by creating the spirit of community.

“Effective Leaders Model the Way” Christian Reflections on The Leadership Challenge Ed. James Kouzes and Barry Posner, (Jossey-Bass, 2004).


Six essential practices of leadership (modeled on Pope Francis) for today’s church/world:

  • Be Who You Are
  • Washing Feet: Authentic Power Is Service
  • Dusty Shoes: Immerse Yourself in the World’s Joys and Sufferings
  • Kneeling Alone: Withdraw to Find Perspective
  • Build on Stones: Live in the Present and Reverence Traditions
  • Create the Future: The Challenge of Leading through Change

Pope Francis: Why He Leads the Way He Leads, by Chris Lowney (Loyola Press 2013).


The great leader is seen as serving first, and that simple fact is the key to greatness.

 

Servant leadership: A Journey into the Nature of Legitimate Power and Greatness by Robert Greenleaf, (Paulist press, 1977), page 1.


I don’t think one of the great gifts of a pastor is necessarily being a good manager, with all the requisite skills. I think the pastor does have to be a leader. And leadership means being able to recognize and draw on considerable benefits that emerge from partnerships.

A Pastor’s Toolbox, by Jack Wall, (Liturgical Press, 2014), pages 96-97.


In sum, we must create experiences of church that help people deepen their sense of the presence in the mystery of their oneness with God. And with the gift of God’s love and energy within them, they will choose to go out and live in mission to the world, communio and missio.

A Pastor’s Toolbox, by Jack Wall, (Liturgical Press, 2014), page 101.


Five Key Messages:

  • Credibility is the foundation of leadership
  • Leadership is personal
  • Leaders serve
  • Leaders sacrifice
  • Leaders keep hope alive       

“Leadership Is a Relationship” by Kouzes and Posner, Christian Reflections on The Leadership Challenge Ed. James Kouzes and Barry Posner, (Jossey-Bass, 2004), Page 121.


Leaders keep hope alive. They keep hope alive by demonstrating the courage of their convictions. They keep hope alive by painting positive images of the future. They keep hope alive by taking charge of change. They keep hope alive by trusting the abilities of others. They keep hope alive by recognizing the dedication of others is to get extraordinary things done…. Hope is testimony to the power of the human spirit. Leadership is often a struggle, and the only way to thrive is to keep hope alive.

“Leadership Is a Relationship” by Kouzes and Posner, Christian Reflections on The Leadership Challenge Ed. James Kouzes and Barry Posner, (Jossey-Bass, 2004), Page 128.


I’ve identified five principles that can serve as signposts as you strive to model the way:

  • Work on yourself before you work on others.
  • Work on yourself more than you work on others.
  • It’s easier to teach what is right then to do what is right.
  • People do what they see.
  • Example of others profoundly impacts our lives.

“Reflections on Model the Way” by John Maxwell, Christian Reflections on The Leadership Challenge Ed. James Kouzes and Barry Posner, (Jossey-Bass, 2004), Page 42.


You will never be able to develop teams to their full potential unless you create an environment of trust person by person in your organization. Trust allows for self-disclosure and mistakes, and good leaders don’t wait for someone else to initiate these conversations. Be the first on your team to say, “Here’s where I have fallen short.” You have no idea what these words will do to those who follow you.

“Reflections on Enable Others to Act” by Nancy Orthberg, Christian Reflections on The Leadership Challenge Ed. James Kouzes and Barry Posner, (Jossey-Bass, 2004), Page 90.


Become a talent expert. Be on the outlook for clues by the way people respond to a situation, giving you information about what they are good at…. Do whatever it takes to get educated and spotting individual strengths in others…

“Reflections on Enable Others to Act” by Nancy Orthberg, Christian Reflections on The Leadership Challenge Ed. James Kouzes and Barry Posner, (Jossey-Bass, 2004), Page 93.


A helpful way to tell the difference between a servant and a self-serving leader is to watch how they react to feedback…. If you offer leaders feedback about how they are leading and they “kill the messenger”, they are self-serving. … ”If you give servant leaders feedback….they consider it a gift”.

“Reflections on Encourage the Heart” by Ken Blanchard, Christian Reflections on The
Leadership Challenge Ed. James Kouzes and Barry Posner, (Jossey-Bass, 2004), Page 105.


To avoid EGO (Edging God Out)
Every day we might recalibrate our good intentions through five disciplines:

  • Solitude. Spending time with God.
  • Prayer. Speaking with God.
  • Study of Scripture. Preparing for the challenges that are yet to come.
  • Faith in God’s unconditional love. Proceeding with confidence grounded in trust.
  • Involvement in accountability relationships. Having truth tellers to keep you on track and with whom you can share your vulnerability.

“Reflections on Encourage the Heart” by Ken Blanchard, Christian Reflections on The
Leadership Challenge Ed. James Kouzes and Barry Posner, (Jossey-Bass, 2004), Page 115.


We proclaim Jesus Christ not to procure as many members as possible for our community, and still less in order to gain power.  We speak of him because we feel the duty to transmit that joy which has been given to us.

Rocca, Francis X., “Pope Benedict:  Interreligious dialogue is no substitute for mission.” Catholic News Service. NCRonline.org. 23 October 2014.


A Christian knows when it is time to speak of God and when it is better to say nothing and to let love alone speak.

Deus Caritas Est by Pope Benedict XVI, (San Francisco:  Ignatius Press, Liberia Editrice Vaticana, 2006), 16:31.


But what moves me even more strongly to proclaim the urgency of missionary evangelization is the fact that it is the primary service which the Church can render to every individual and to all humanity in the modern world, a world which has experienced marvelous achievements but which seems to have lost its sense of ultimate realities and of existence itself.

Redemptoris Missio by Pope Saint John Paul II, (Liberia Editrice Vaticana, 1990), pg. 6.


This century desperately needs legions more people who are willing to step up and live for a mighty purpose, who know how to make wise choices, and who can make every day count.

Heroic Living by Chris Lowney, (Loyola Press, 2010).


This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one.

George Bernard Shaw, 1903.


Truly creative people use the gap between vision and current reality to generate energy for change.

The Fifth Discipline by Peter Senge, (Doubleday Business, 1990).


What is your vision – that is, what future are you willing to labor for?   
Every parish sits in the middle of a mission field.

John Cord, deacon candidate, Archdiocese of Indianapolis


Leadership is an art, something to be learned over time, not simply by reading books. Leadership is more tribal than scientific, more a weaving of relationships than amassing of information.

Leadership is an Art by Max Depree, (Crown Business, 2004), page 3.


The signs of outstanding leadership appear primarily in the followers. Are the followers reaching their potential? Are they learning? Serving? Do they achieve the required results? Do they change with grace? Manage conflict?

Leadership is an Art by Max Depree, (Crown Business, 2004), page 12.


Leaders who are giants see opportunity where others see trouble; they give others the gift of space; giants catch fastballs; they have special gifts; they enable others to express their own gifts.

Leadership is an Art by Max Depree, (Crown Business, 2004), page 73.


Over the past several years I have come to believe that three leadership qualities stand out to me that personify true "Servant Leadership". These include humility, fidelity, and courage. Humility encompasses the leader's capacity to put others out in front and to help create the environment for them to do their best work. Humility includes advocating for the resources to get the work done as well as pitching in as we do our work. Fidelity isn't a word that you often find in a management text. As in our personal relationships, fidelity means that we forego all others for the sake of those we love. In management it means our commitment to our employer, our associates, colleagues and those we serve. We do things for "the greater good" rather than our personal gain or benefit. Lastly, courage is the ability and skill to speak up rather than just following the pack when things just don't seem right. It doesn't mean attacking your opponents but rather being in conversation with them to better understand what is being proposed and why you might be struggling with their point of view or recommendation. In this case you might say "let me tell you what I thought I heard you say and why I am struggling with this idea, recommendation, etc.” This approach keeps people in conversation and has understanding as its goal rather than personal attack. I would go on to say that these management qualities are original to me but rather are the ones I have noticed present in those that I admired most.

Vince Caponi, Executive Vice President for Ascension Health


Leading with an Open (Sacred) Heart

The most difficult work of leadership involves learning to experience distress without numbing yourself.  The virtue of a sacred heart lies in the courage to maintain your innocence and wonder, your doubt and curiosity, and your compassion and love even through your darkest and most difficult moments. Leading with an open heart means you could be at your lowest point, abandoned by your people and entirely powerless; yet remain receptive to the full range of human emotions without going numb, striking back, or engaging in some other defense.

Sacred heart is a reflection of God’s promise, not to keep you out of the fire and the water, but to be with you in the fire and water.

A sacred heart means you may feel tortured and betrayed, powerless and hopeless, and yet stay open. It’s the capacity to encompass the entire range of your human experience without hardening or closing yourself. It means that even in the midst of disappointment and defeat, you remain connected to people and to the sources of your most profound purposes.

Quality of Heart      Becomes         Dressed Up As

Innocence                Cynicism          Realism

Curiosity                  Arrogance        Authoritative Knowledge

Compassion             Callousness      Thick-Skin of Experience

 

Heifetz, R., and Linsky, M.  Leadership on the Line: Staying Alive through the Dangers of Leading (Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 2002), pp. 227-36.


The most important earthly relationship you can cultivate as a leader is your relationship with yourself. That might sound self-serving, but think about it—how well do you really know yourself?

Blanchard,Ken and Waghorn, Terry. Mission Possible. NY: McGraw-Hill, 1999.

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