Richard Male

Leadership quotes

It’s been awhile since we offered some of our favorite quotations that relate in some form or another to developing bold leadership in the nonprofit sector. Longtime readers of RichTIPS know that I often decry the trend that too many people of authority in nonprofit organizations think only as managers and rarely as visionary leaders. An equally troubling trend is that we seek calm and complacency instead of moving toward our fears.

Here are a few quotes that may resonate with you.

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


I cannot give you the formula for success, but I can give you the formula for failure–which is: Try to please everybody.

Herbert Bayard Swope


Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.

George S. Patton


A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don’t necessarily want to go, but ought to be.

Rosalyn Carter


Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren’t.

Margaret Thatcher


Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.

Eleanor Roosevelt


Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.

Peter F. Drucker


My grandfather once told me that there are two kinds of people: those who work and those who take the credit. He told me to try to be in the first group; there was less competition there.

Indira Gandhi


The greatest mistake you can make in life is to continually be afraid you will make one.

Elbert Hubbard


A boss creates fear, a leader confidence. A boss fixes blame, a leader correct mistakes. A boss knows all, a leader asks questions. A boss makes work drudgery, a leader makes it interesting.

Russell H. Ewing


We’re here for a reason. I believe a bit of the reason is to throw little torches out to lead people through the dark.

Whoopi Goldberg


Drawing on my fine command of the language, I said nothing.

Robert Benchley


A leader leads by example, whether he or she intends to or not.



Philanthropy is commendable, but it must not cause the philanthropist to overlook the circumstances of economic injustice which make philanthropy necessary.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.