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14 Leadership quotes by women

Updated August 20, 2022 by Carl Lindberg

A list of some of our favorite leadership quotes by women contains a real nice mix of characters. Some quotes are from famous politicians, and some of the more recent ones are from the business world. Margaret Thatcher meets Arianna Huffington in this list of leadership quotes. You read a lot of leadership quotes these days, it seems there aren’t enough quotes to keep the social media platforms busy. We decided that leadership quotes by women should be a list of its own, it’s as simple as that.

Leadership quotes by women in politics

The first quotes on our list are from women in the world of politics:

  • Margaret Thatcher once said: “Don’t follow the crowd, let the crowd follow you.” 
  • The former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright: “It took me quite a long time to develop a voice, and now that I have it, I am not going to be silent.”
  • “The size of your dreams must always exceed your current capacity to achieve them. If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough.” Stated by Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of Liberia
  • “Ninety percent of leadership is the ability to communicate something people want.”, once said by Dianne Feinstein, a US Senator.
  • “I have broken many glass ceilings – so I know it can be done.”, Helen Clark, former New Zealand Prime Minister once stated.
  • Jeanette Rankin, women’s rights advocate  and congress woman said “You take people as far as they will go, not as far as you would like them to go.” 

I think all those quotes are fantastic! They are about being a leader and giving others a reason to follow you. They are also about not being pushed around and aiming really high. A true inspiration.

Quotes by first ladies

As we move forward in our list of leadership quotes by women, let us see what some of the first ladies of the USA has said:

  • “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.”, as said by Rosalynn Carter
  • Eleanor Roosevelt: “You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”
  • Yet another quote by Eleanor Roosevelt: “To handle yourself, use your head; to handle others, use your heart.”

Some strong leadership quotes indeed – going where no one else goes despite fear.
Before we move forward to more recent leadership quotes by women, I have to mention this fantastic quote, again by Eleanor Roosevelt: “Do what you feel in your heart to be right, for you’ll be criticized anyway.”

A few more modern leadership quotes..

The more modern women on our list are a mix with one CEO, one COO, one management consultant, and two editors.

  • Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO: “True leadership stems from individuality that is honestly and sometimes imperfectly expressed.. Leaders should strive for authenticity over perfection.”
  • “The things we fear most in organizations – fluctuations, disturbances, imbalances – are the primary sources of creativity.” Said by Margaret Wheatley, writer and management consultant
  • “People respond well to those that are sure of what they want.”, said by Anna Wintour, the Editor in Chief of Vogue magazine
  • Arianna Huffington, editor and co-founder of Huffington Post once said: “We need to accept that we don’t always make the right decisions, that we’ll screw up royally sometimes. Understand that failure is not the opposite of success, it’s part of success.”

Some interesting ways of seeing problems as opportunities and errors as part of the way forward towards success. All these quotes can teach us something. What are your take aways? Do you have any other interesting leadership quotes by women? Please comment below.

A few selected sources:


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