Great Throughts Treasury

This site is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Alan William Smolowe who gave birth to the creation of this database.


"The crowd will follow a leader who marches twenty paces ahead of them, but if he is a thousand paces ahead of them, they will neither see nor follow him." - Georg Brandes, fully Georg Morris Cohen Brandes

"To be a leader of men one must turn one's back on men." - Henry Havelock Ellis

"I have three precious things which I hold fast and prize. The first is gentleness; the second is frugality; the third is humility, which keeps me from putting myself before others. Be gentle and you can be bold; be frugal and you can be liberal; avoid putting yourself before others and you can become a leader among men." -

"A great leader never sets himself above his followers except in carrying the responsibilities." - Jules Ormont

"A gifted leader is one who is capable of touching your heart." - Jacob Potofsky, fully Jacob Samuel Potofsky

"A political leader must keep looking over his shoulder all the time to see if the boys are still there. If they aren't still there, he's no longer a political leader." - Bernard Baruch, fully Bernard Mannes Baruch

"Religion is not a perpetual moping over good books. Religion is not even prayer, praise, holy ordinances, these are necessary to religion - no man can be religious without them. But religion is mainly and chiefly the glorifying of god amid the duties and trials of the world; the guiding of our course amid adverse winds and currents of temptation by the sunlight of duty and the compass of Divine truth, the bearing up manfully, wisely, courageously, for the honor of Christ, our great Leader in the conflict of life." - John Caird

"I have no complex about wealth. I have worked hard for my money, producing things people need. I believe that the able industrial leader who creates wealth and employment is more worthy of historical notice than politicians or soldiers." - J. Paul Getty, fully Jean Paul Getty

"Faith in the ability of a leader is of slight service unless it be united with faith in his justice." - George Washington Goethals

"The final test of a leader is that he leaves behind him in other men the conviction and the will to carry on." - Walter Lippmann

"If an individual wants to be a leader and isn’t controversial, that means he never stood for anything." - Richard Nixon, fully Richard Milhous Nixon

"No leader can safely mumble at moments of crisis." - Brock Brewer

"A leader who ceases to take sides simply abdicates his role and hands authority to his strongest competitors." - Alan Brinkley

"Transactional leaders approach followers with an eye to exchanging one thing for another: jobs for votes, or subsidies for campaign contributions… The transforming leader looks for potential motives in followers, seeks to satisfy higher needs, and engages the full person of the follower. The result of transforming leadership is a relationship of mutual stimulation and elevation that converts followers into leaders and may convert leaders into moral agents." - James MacGregor Burns

"The task of the leader is always to weigh up the circumstances, to make decisions and to give orders and then, once the action has been launched, to reassess from time to time the system of the means at his disposal, which [is] continually being modified by circumstances." -

"The prime role of a leader is to offer an example of courage and sacrifice." - Régis Debray, fully Jules Régis Debray

"You can judge a leader by the size of the problems he tackles… Other people can cope with the waves, it’s his job to watch the tide." - Antony Jay, fully Sir Antony Rupert Jay

"Anyone who wants to be a leader must be the servant, not the boss, of those he wants to serve." - Aminu Kano

"He who finds a new path is a pathfinder, even if the trail has to be found again by others; and he who walks far in advance of his contemporaries is a leader, even though centuries may pass before he is recognized as such and intelligently followed." - Ibn Khaldun or Khaldoun, full name Zayd ‘Abdu r-Raḥman bin Muḥammad bin Khaldūn Al-Hadrami

"A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

"When the effective leader is finished with his work, the people say it happened naturally." - Lao Tzu, ne Li Urh, also Laotse, Lao Tse, Lao Tse, Lao Zi, Laozi, Lao Zi, La-tsze

"Much of [Winston Churchill’s] strength as a war leader derived from this very habit of myth-making, of surrounding even the ordinary and the humdrum with enchantment. Like Shakespeare’s Glendower, he could “call spirits from the vast deep” – and the British believed in them." - Ronald Lewin, fully George Ronald Lewin

"The final test of a leader is that he leaves behind him in other men the conviction and will to carry on." -

"A leader who doesn’t hesitate before he sends his nation into battle is not fit to be a leader." - Golda Meir, originally named Goldie Mabovitch, later Goldie Myerson

"A true leader does not seek followers, he wants to teach others how to be leaders. He does not want control, he wants the truth. He does not impose his leadership on others, nor does he take away anyone's autonomy. He inspires by love, not coercion. When it comes time to take credit, he makes himself invisible; but he is the first to arrive at the time of need, and he will never shrink away in fear. He is so passionate about your welfare that when you consult him for guidance, it is like coming face to face with yourself for the first time." - Menachem Mendel Schneerson, known as the Lubavitcher Rebbe

"The leader is one who mobilizes others toward a goal shared by leaders and followers... Leaders, followers and goals make up the three equally necessary supports for leadership" -

"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

"Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower." -

"You will never be a leader unless you first learn to follow and be led." -

"I've got to follow them, I am their leader." -

"A certain ruthlessness is essential, particularly with inefficiency and also with those who would waste his time. People will accept this provided the leader is ruthless with himself." - Bernard Law "Monty" Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein

"No leader, however great, can long continue unless he wins victories." - Bernard Law "Monty" Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein

"The supreme quality for a leader is unquestionably integrity. Without is, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, a football field, on an arm chair in an office." - Dwight Eisenhower, fully Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower

"The leader has to be practical and a realist, yet must talk the language of the visionary and the idealist." - Eric Hoffer

"A leader is above all things an animator. His thought and faith must be communicated to those he leads. He and they must form as one at the moment of executing a plan. That is the essential condition of success." - Ferdinand Foch

"A leader does not deserve the name unless he is willing occasionally to stand alone." - Henry Kissinger, fully Henry Alfred Kissinger

"Intelligence is not all that important in the exercise of power and is often, in point of fact, useless. Just as a leader doesn't need intelligence, a man in my job doesn't need too much of it either." - Henry Kissinger, fully Henry Alfred Kissinger

"The public does not in the long run respect leaders who mirror its own insecurities or see only the symptoms of crises rather than the long-term trends. The role of the leader is to assume the burden of acting on the basis of a confidence in his own assessment of the direction of events and how they can be influenced. Failing that, crises will multiply, which is another way of saying that a leader has lost control over events." - Henry Kissinger, fully Henry Alfred Kissinger

"Blindness in a leader is unpardonable." - Jawaharlal Nehru

"Leadership consists not in degrees of technique but in traits of character; it requires moral rather than athletic or intellectual effort, and it imposes on both leader and follower alike the burdens of self-restraint." - Lewis H. Lapham

"De Gaulle did not call in "writers"; the very idea is grotesque. The leader who allows others to speak for him is abdicating." - May Sarton, pen name of Eleanore Marie Sarton

"A leader is a dealer in hope." -

"A leader is a dealer in hope." - Napoleon Bonaparte, Napoleon I

"A leader must give credit to a staffer for a job well done both personally and if possible publicly as well. The best rule: Be generous in sharing credit with subordinates when an initiative succeeds and be prepared to take the blame if it fails." -

"To be successful, a leader must develop a core of loyal staff members who share his sense of mission, serve as his early warning system, possess acute political instincts, and have the competence to protect him from his own mistakes." -

"The leader works in the open, and the boss in covert. The leader leads, and the boss drives." - Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt

"The leader is a great servant... The leader does not say, “Get going!” Instead he says, “Let’s go!” and leads the way... The leader uses his heart as well as his head... The leader is a self-starter... The leader can be led. He is not interested in having his own way, but in finding the best way. He has an open mind. The leader keeps his eyes upon high goals." - Wilferd Peterson, fully Wilferd Arlan Peterson

"Never neglect details. When everyone's mind is dulled or distracted the leader must be doubly vigilant. " - Colin Powell, fully Colin Luther Powell

"A man will often believe himself a leader when he is led; while with his mind he endeavours to reach one goal, his heart insensibly drags him toward another." -

"The leader is one who mobilizes others toward a goal shared by leaders and followers... Leaders, followers and goals make up the three equally necessary supports for leadership." - Garry Wills