What Makes a Great Leader? & 50 John Maxwell, Seth Godin, and Dave Ramsey Leadership Quotes




By Charles Lee – May 12, 2011

Leadership is often defined as influence.

In my opinion, everyone possesses the ability to “influence” or lead others in the general sense of the word, but not everyone is a leader (i.e., someone who functions in a publicly recognized role of guiding or influencing others). I have worked with several people who influence the lives of many people but didn’t function well once given a key role of leadership in an organization and/or company.

The reality is that leadership in a formal sense requires a certain set of perspectives, values, and praxis that very few are able to carry out well. Over the years, I’ve had the privilege of working with some phenomenal leaders that are literally changing the landscape of our world. Here are a few insights I’ve picked up about what it takes to become a great leader:

Pain Frames Purpose – Great leaders do not run away from pain, but rather, recognize that pain is what truly forms and informs their life purposes. It is not to say that they are sadistically seeking pain. Passion for one’s purpose is often fueled in part by one’s pain and suffering. Passion by definition is not only a reference to fervor but also the willingness to work with pain.

Collaboration is Necessary for Creative Innovation – Leaders recognize that they cannot and will not do it alone. Every great endeavor needs a team or community to help it flourish. Great leaders move from simply wanting collaboration to needing it. In addition, they welcome voices from unrelated fields to spark creativity and refinement of purpose.

Courage Guides Decisions – Great leaders are marked by their courage in decision making. They rarely lean towards the popular vote. Courage implies that there is often a deep presence of fear and obstacles. Courage is the ability to move forward in the presence of fear.

Compassionate Justice Provides Perspective – No matter how tough a great leader may appear, deep inside they all care about the people they lead. Compassionate justice is a reference to a work that seeks to make things right with a posture of real care. Great leaders are leading because they feel they can change the environment or direction of something that could be better. People ultimately “follow” a leader because they sense that they have their best interest in mind, even if it means that they go against the grain.

Focus of Implementation – Great leaders don’t just talk; they do. They realize the hard work is in the implementation of their vision and courage. They don’t make excuses nor choose to sit on their ideas. They simply move forward and figure things out along the way. Great leaders are focused on implementing better. They’re not satisfied with a 30,000 feet view. They also want to see what’s right in front of them. The focus is not just greater vision but greater action.

Living life as a leader is a noble pursuit. It takes a special person to move beyond the romanticized benefits of its role.

Are you a leader? If so, our world needs you at your best!


50 John Maxwell, Seth Godin, and Dave Ramsey Leadership Quotes

By Brian Dodd – May 11, 2011

There was some incredible leadership teaching at today’s Chick-Fil-A Leadercast.  The following are the top 50 quotes.

John Maxwell

“If you increase your influence, you increase your leadership.”

“Leadership is not a noun.  It’s a verb.  It’s active.  It’s movement.”

“It’s tough being in the people business when people don’t like you.”

“Relationships are the foundation of leadership.”

“Momentum solves 80% of your problems.”

“Successful people have always positioned themselves well.”


Chris Pernell

“Intentionality is the key to leadership.  Without it you are reacting, not leading.”


Seth Godin

“Earn the right to whisper to your prospects.”

“Are you invisible or remarkable?”

“Either you defend the status quo or invent the future.”

“”It’s really dark inside the box.  Outside the box has nothing to lean against.  The edge of the box is where magic happens.”

“Inter-changeable is great for factories making average stuff for average people.”

“Long work is showing up more.  Hard work is going out on a limb and bringing innovation.”

“Leadership is being surprised by those who work for you.”

“What’s scarce is my attention and trust.”

“You are an accountant or an artist…Artists solve problems in a way they never have before.”

“The problem with fitting in is once you’ve done it, where do you go?”

“The problem with the race to the bottom is you might win.”

Texas Longhorn head football coach Mack Brown

“When we recruit, we have a five play rule.  You know if the guy is good enough in five plays.”

“You have to win or you can’t continue to do what you do.”

“We have to fill these 101,000 seats because we have to pay for all the other sports.”

“We’re in the education business during the week and show business on the weekend.”

“Don’t let this (winning the 2005 championship) be the most important thing you are in life.”

“When it gets easy is when you get in trouble.”

“Quit griping or quit.”

“The worst day can be your most positive result.”


Sir Ken Robinson

“Imagination is the source of every form of human innovation.”

“You are in your element if you are doing something for which you have a natural aptitude and second, loving it.”

“Many people think they aren’t creative because of education..We’re pushing them into a wrong direction.  It’s a factory model.”


Erin Gruwell

“I wanted to make a difference not in the courtroom, but the classroom.”

“All students have an odyssey, a journey, and a story to tell.”

“What happens when we tell kids they’re dumb and stupid again, and again, and again?”

“It you teach them they will teach another.”


Suzy Welch

“I know God exists because I’m not the girl I used to be.”

“We (her and her 1st husband) got married because of momentum.”

“Connect decisions to values.”

“Your values are your fingerprint.”

“On your 70th birthday ask ‘What would make me cry from regret?’”

“What do you want people to say about you when you’re not in the room?”

“What did you love about your upbringing?  What did you hate?”

“Authentic lives are joyous.  People give joy away.”

“I am not the girl you used to know but I am on the journey to become the girl I want to be.”


Tripp Crosby

“John Maxwell is one of the few people the people I look up to look up to.”


Dave Ramsey

“Your customers aren’t units of revenue.  Your team isn’t units of production.”

“We want a building full of nice people who get things done.”

“We have zero tolerance for gossip.   Shut up and get work done.”

“We live in a culture full of hares.  Be a tortoise.”

“Debt magnifies our mistakes.”

“Stupid looks fine when things are going well.  Even a turkey can fly in a tornado.  Warren Buffet says ‘You can tell who’s skinny dipping when the tide goes out.’”

“Generosity starts with your wallet.”