Who Says? Inspiring and Surprising Quotes About What Makes a Great Leader.

Posted by Chuck Kocher
On December 23, 2013

Dave Kerpen is the CEO of Likeable Local, a New York Times best-selling author, and a highly sought after keynote speaker. He’s also the author of one of the “Top 13 Influencer” posts on Linkedin for 2013.

In his most recent book, Likeable Business, he discusses the eleven most important principles to integrate to become a better leader. The quotes he uses to set up the discussion of each principle are fascinating. And while not all the people he quotes are business leaders, I thought you might find them inspiring–and sometimes surprising.

1. Listening: When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen. —Ernest Hemingway

2. Storytelling: Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world today. —Robert McAfee Brown

3. Authenticity: I had no idea that being your authentic self could make me as rich as I’ve become. If I had, I’d have done it a lot earlier. —Oprah Winfrey

4. Transparency: As a small businessperson, you have no greater leverage than the truth. —John Whittier

5. Team Playing: Individuals play the game, but teams beat the odds. —SEAL Team Saying

6. Responsiveness: Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it. —Charles Swindoll

7. Adaptability: When you’re finished changing, you’re finished. —Ben Franklin

8. Passion: The only way to do great work is to love the work you do. —Steve Jobs

9. Surprise and Delight: A true leader always keeps an element of surprise up his sleeve, which others cannot grasp but which keeps his public excited and breathless. —Charles de Gaulle

10. Simplicity: Less isn’t more; just enough is more. —Milton Glaser

11. Gratefulness: I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder. —Gilbert Chesterton

As a business leader, how many of these characteristics could be used to describe you? Do you agree with them? Do any of them cut across what you’ve always pursued as a business leader? Are you surprised by any of them?

The thing that strikes me about all of these quotes is that the focus isn’t necessarily on what we consider to be essential business skills. Instead, the focus is on what kind of people we are. Because ultimately, the kind of people we are will determine the kind of leaders we will be.

Sometimes success in business comes down to how we define success. These character traits sure seem like building blocks for a successful business.

Do you agree or disagree? I’d love to hear from you!