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 only real training for leadership is leadership." -

"It is said that it is far more difficult to hold and maintain leadership (liberty) than it is to attain it. Success is a ruthless competitor for it flatters and nourishes our weaknesses and lulls us into complacency." -

"The pervasive nature of pollution, its disregard of political boundaries including state lines, the national character of the technical, economic and political problems involved, and the recognized Federal responsibilities for administering vast public lands which can be changed by pollution, for carrying out large enterprises which can produce pollutants, for preserving and improving the nation’s natural resources, all make it mandatory that the Federal Government assume leadership and exert its influence in pollution abatement on a national scale." - Environment Pollution Panel NULL

"The answer to the accumulating casualties of the welfare state’s “war” on poverty is the home-grown, grass-roots, all-volunteer army of ordinary people armed with food, books, skills and a determination to make a difference. The entrepreneurial creativity that catapulted this nation to a position of global leadership can now be harnessed to do for community what it did for productivity. When we provide imaginative, entrepreneurial alternatives to the welfare state, we won’t need to confront it. It will simply wither away. And the rewards of this work are a bounty of spiritual renewal: an abundance of love, meaning and connectedness." - Arianna Huffington, born Arianna Stassinopoulos

"It is said that it is far more difficult to hold and maintain leadership [liberty] than it is to attain it. Success is a ruthless competitor for it flatters and nourishes our weaknesses and lulls us into complacency." -

"Great leadership arises out of great conflict." - James MacGregor Burns

"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

"Perhaps the most central characteristic of authentic leadership is the relinquishing of the impulse to dominate others." - David Cooper, fully David Graham Cooper

"The very exercise of leadership fosters capacity for it." - Cyril Bentham Falls

"Leadership cannot really be taught. It can only be learned." - Harold Geneen, fully Harold "Hal" Sydney Geneen

"The only real training for leadership is leadership." - Antony Jay, fully Sir Antony Rupert Jay

"Most religions are absolutist. Claims to revelation militate against rational argument and compromise. In this sense all religions contain totalitarian possibilities; for totalitarianism, which welds the state into a single body “knit together as one man” is really the religious impulse, the worship of leadership and ideology, the cult of Person or Book, directed towards secular ends." - Malise Ruthven

"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

"It’s not about positional power; it’s not about accomplishments; it’s ultimately not even about what we do. Leadership is about creating a domain in which human beings continually deepen their understanding of reality and become more capable of participating in the unfolding of the world. Ultimately, leadership is about creating new realities." - Peter Senge, fully Peter Michael Senge

"The cardinal responsibility of leadership is to identify the dominant contradiction at each point of the historical process and to work out a central line to resolve it." - Mao Tse-tung, alternatively Zedong, Ze dong, aka Chairman Mao

"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" -

"Leadership is more likely to be assumed by the aggressive than the able, and those who scramble to the top are more often motivated by their own inner torments." -

"The essence of superior leadership is the inspired application of principle to circumstance." - Author Unknown NULL

"Leadership is more likely to be assumed by the aggressive than by the able, and those who scramble to the top are more often motivated by their own inner torments." - Bergen Baldwin Evans

"I suppose leadership at one time meant muscles; but today it means getting along with people." - Indira Gandhi, fully Indirā Priyadarśinī Gāndhī

"Leadership has a harder job to do than just choose sides. It must bring sides together." - Jesse Jackson, fully Jesse Louis Jackson

"The task of leadership is not to put greatness into humanity, but to elicit it, for the greatness is already there." -

"I start with the premise that the function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers." - Ralph Nader

"The function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers." - Ralph Nader

"That is what leadership is all about: staking your ground ahead of where opinion is and convincing people, not simply following the popular opinion of the moment. " - Doris Kearns Goodwin, born Doris Helen Kearns

"We must present democracy as a force holding within itself the seeds of unlimited progress by the human race. By our actions we should make it clear that such a democracy is a means to a better way of life, together with a better understanding among nations. Tyranny inevitably must retire before the tremendous moral strength of the gospel of freedom and self-respect for the individual, but we have to recognize that these democratic principles do not flourish on empty stomachs, and that people turn to false promises of dictators because they are hopeless and anything promises something better than the miserable existence that they endure. However, material assistance alone is not sufficient. The most important thing for the world today in my opinion is a spiritual regeneration which would reestablish a feeling of good faith among men generally. Discouraged people are in sore need of the inspiration of great principles. Such leadership can be the rallying point against intolerance, against distrust, against that fatal insecurity that leads to war. It is to be hoped that the democratic nations can provide the necessary leadership." - George Marshall, fully George Catlett Marshall, Jr.

"Life begins perpetually. Gathered together at last under the leadership of man, the student-teacher of the universe... unified, disciplined, armed with the secret powers of the atom, and with knowledge as yet beyond dreaming, Life, forever dying to be born afresh, forever young and eager, will presently stand upon this earth as upon a footstool, and stretch out its realm amidst the stars." - H. G. Wells, fully Herbert George Wells

" The church is a vast institution with roots reaching wide and deep into the social order that now is. It is so integral to society as a whole that any social reconstruction would mean a reconstruction of the church. It would have to reconstruct itself in order to reconstruct society. But it cannot reconstruct itself until society is reconstructed. So it is caught in a vicious circle so far as concerns leadership in achieving any change in the basic institutions of society." - Henry Nelson Wieman

"I think tolerating a certain degree of failure-not because it's good for you but because it's a necessary part of growth-is a very important part of the message the leadership can give." - Howard Gardner, fully Howard Earl Gardner

"Our country is in the middle of a profound crisis. This crisis has many causes, but much of it has been brought about by poor leadership decisions at every level of government. In addition, our electoral process is dominated by financial interests that are threatened by the very notion of reform." - Jim Webb, formally James Henry Webb, Jr.

"Divorced from ethics, leadership is reduced to management and politics to mere technique. " - James MacGregor Burns

"Leadership is leaders acting – as well as caring, inspiring and persuading others to act – for cetain shared goals that represent the values – the wants and needs, the aspirations and expectations – of themselves and the people they represent. And the genius of leadership lies in the manner in which leaders care about, visualize, and act on their own and their followers’ values and motivations." - James MacGregor Burns

"There is no greater leadership challenge than parenting." - Jim Rohn

"The task of leadership is not to put greatness into humanity, but to elicit it, for the greatness is already there. " - John Buchan, Baron Tweedsmuir

"The task of leadership is not to put greatness into humanity, but to elicit it, for the greatness is already there. " - John Buchan, Baron Tweedsmuir

"Consider who you are working with: Part of the art of leadership is discovering the unique relationship between the needs of the individual and the organization. People only know that you and the organization intend to meet their needs when you tell them so. Determine how to help the person, tell them how you will do it, and follow through – before asking the individual to do things in return for you. People working together ultimately succeed or fail based on their commitment to one another. Never give up easily on one of your people; it does a disservice to that individual and to you." - John C. Maxwell

"The more seriously you take your growth, the more seriously your people will take you. Leaders never outgrow the need to change. My leadership began to take flight when I allowed myself to press people to change—whether they thanked me or cursed me. Eventually, you must disengage from the relationships you’ve outgrown, or they will limit your growth as a leader. Leadership involves the heavy burden of responsibility, and the fear of getting it wrong can paralyze a leader. Confront your inadequacies and push your personal boundaries: It’s the surest way to grow, improve and expand the scope of your influence." - John C. Maxwell

"True leadership cannot be awarded, appointed, or assigned. It comes only from influence, and that can’t be mandated. It must be earned. The only thing a title can buy is a little time – either to increase your level of influence with others or to erase it." - John C. Maxwell

"The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership THE LAW OF THE LID — Leadership Ability Determines a Person’s Level of Effectiveness. THE LAW OF INFLUENCE — The True Measure of Leadership is Influence — Nothing More, Nothing Less. THE LAW OF PROCESS — Leadership Develops Daily, Not in a Day. THE LAW OF NAVIGATION — Anyone Can Steer the Ship, But It Takes a Leader to Chart the Course.. THE LAW OF ADDITION — Leaders Add Value by Serving Others. THE LAW OF SOLID GROUND — Truth is the Foundation of Leadership. THE LAW OF RESPECT — People Naturally Follow Leaders Stronger Than Themselves. THE LAW OF INTUITION — Leaders Evaluate Everything with a Leadership Bias. THE LAW OF MAGNETISM – Who You Are is Who You Attract. THE LAW OF CONNECTION. – Leaders Touch a Heart Before They Ask for a Hand. THE LAW OF THE INNER CIRCLE – A Leader’s Potential is Determined by Those Closest to Him. THE LAW OF EMPOWERMENT – Only Secure Leaders Give Power to Others. THE LAW OF THE PICTURE – People Do What People See. THE LAW OF BUY-IN – People Buy into the Leader, Then the Vision. THE LAW OF VICTORY – Leaders Find a Way for the Team to Win. THE LAW OF THE BIG MO – Momentum is a Leader’s Best Friend. THE LAW OF PRIORITIES – Leaders Understand that Activity is Not Necessarily Accomplishment. THE LAW OF SACRIFICE – A Leader Must Give Up to Go Up. THE LAW OF TIMING – When to Lead is As Important as What to Do and Where to Go. THE LAW OF EXPLOSIVE GROWTH – To Add Growth, Lead Followers – To Multiply, Lead Leaders. THE LAW OF LEGACY – A Leader’s Lasting Value is Measured by Succession." - John C. Maxwell

"Good leadership consists of showing average people how to do the work of superior people." - John D. Rockefeller, fully John Davidson Rockefeller I

"We know that leadership is very much related to change. As the pace of change accelerates, there is naturally a greater need for effective leadership." - John Kotter, fully John Paul Kotter

"I have found that people who provide great leadership are also deeply interested in a cause or discipline related to their professional arena. " - John Kotter, fully John Paul Kotter

"Whether our task is fighting poverty, stemming the spread of disease or saving innocent lives from mass murder, we have seen that we cannot succeed without the leadership of the strong and the engagement of all" - Kofi Annan, fully Kofi Atta Annan

"Leadership is much more an art, a belief, a condition of the heart, than a set of things to do. The visible signs of artful leadership are expressed, ultimately, in its practice." - Max DePree, alternatively De Pree or Depree

"The signs of outstanding leadership appear primarily among 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?" - Max DePree, alternatively De Pree or Depree

"While the national conversation about education would never be the same, stunningly few of the Commission’s recommendations actually have been enacted. Now is not the time for more educational research or reports or commissions. We have enough commonsense ideas, backed by decades of research, to significantly improve American schools. The missing ingredient isn’t even educational at all. It’s political. Too often, state and local leaders have tried to enact reforms of the kind recommended in A Nation at Risk only to be stymied by organized special interests and political inertia. Without vigorous national leadership to improve education, states and local school systems simply cannot overcome the obstacles to making the big changes necessary to significantly improve our nation’s K-12 schools" - National Commission on Excellence in Education NULL

"Building a cohesive leadership team is the first critical step that an organization must take if it is to have the best chance at success." - Patrick Lencioni

"Effective leadership is not about making speeches or being liked leadership is defined by results not attributes. " - Peter F. Drucker, fully Peter Ferdinand Drucker

"Leadership is not magnetic personality — that can just as well be a glib tongue. It is not making friends and influencing people — that is flattery. Leadership is lifting a person's vision to high sights, the raising of a person's performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations." - Peter F. Drucker, fully Peter Ferdinand Drucker

"Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things. " - Peter F. Drucker, fully Peter Ferdinand Drucker