True leaders are willing to pay the high costs of leadership positions. Bad leadership looks like accepting toxic people, not leading team members well and choosing poor decisions instead of what the best leaders would do.
Here are the 61 top toxic leadership quotes to help you avoid being a bad leader.
1. “Lead me, follow me, or get out of my way.” ~ General George Patton
2. Don’t tell people how to do things, tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results. - George Patton
3. “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” - Abraham Lincoln
4. The bad leader is he who the people despise; the good leader is he who the people praise; the great leader is he who the people say, We did it ourselves" - Peter M. Senge, The Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of The Learning Organization
5. It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do. We hire smart people so they can tell us what to do. - Steve Jobs
6. “First get the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats, and then figure out where to drive.” ~ Jim Collins
7. Great leaders are willing to sacrifice the numbers to save the people. Poor leaders sacrifice the people to save the numbers. - Simon Sinek
8. “Nothing will kill a great employee faster than watching you tolerate a bad one.” -Perry Belcher.
9. To be effective you must not let your need to be right be more important than your need to find out what’s true. If you are too proud of what you know or of how good you are at something you will learn less, make inferior decisions, and fall short of your potential. - Ray Dalio, Principles: Life and Work
10. If you aren’t willing to be mocked, you’ll never be able to lead. Naval Ravikant
11. “Never follow a follower who is following someone who has fallen. It’s why the whole world is falling apart.” -Suzy Kassem.
12. “The biggest concern of an organization should be when their most passionate people become quiet.” -Tim McClure.
13. “Overconfidence was risky in such a hostile environment, a mistake most often made by warriors who had never truly been tested.” -Jocko Willink.
14. “My job is not to be easy on people. My job is to make them better.” ~ Steve Jobs
15. “The leader’s Attitude is like a thermostat for the place she works. If her attitude is good, the atmosphere is pleasant, and the environment is easy to work in. But if her attitude is bad, the temperature is insufferable.” - John C. Maxwell, The 360 Degree Leader: Developing Your Influence from Anywhere in the Organization
16. You manage things; you lead people. - Grace Hopper
17. “True leaders do not make choices with reference to the opinion of the majority. They make choices based on the opinion of the truth, and the truth can come from either the majority or the minority!” -Israelmore Ayivor.
18. “People don’t leave bad jobs; they leave bad bosses.”
19. A leader's job is not to do the work for others, it's to help others figure out how to do it themselves, to get things done, and to succeed beyond what they thought possible. - Simon Sinek
20. “A good leader is someone who knows what he's bad at, and hires someone who's good at it to take care of it for him.” - John Flanagan, The Battle for Skandia
21. “Scum just like cream settles at the top.”
22. If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the shoulder of giants. - Isaac Newton
23. “More is lost in indecision than wrong decision. Indecision is the thief of opportunity. It will steal you blind.” -Marcus Tullius Cicero.
24. “Your actions are too loud. I cannot hear what you’re saying”
25. “A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.” - Martin Luther King
26. “Good leaders don’t make excuses. Instead, they find a way to get it done.” -Leif Babin.
27. “In the simplest terms, a leader is one who knows where he wants to go, and gets up and goes.” ~ John Erskine
28. Glass, china, and reputation, are easily crack'd, and never well mended. - Benjamin Franklin
29. “Don’t let your ego get too close to your position so that if your position gets shot down, your ego doesn’t go with it.” -Colin Powell.
30. “Keep your fears to yourself, but share your courage with others.” ~ Robert Louis Stevenson
31. “Good players can’t overcome bad coaching.”
32. “Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.” ~ General Dwight Eisenhower
33. “No one will protect what they don’t care about, and no one will care about what they have never experienced.” -David Attenborough.
34. “Ego clouds and disrupts everything.” -Leif Babin
35. The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.. - George Bernard Shaw
36. “Bad managers don’t listen to their employees because it makes them feel insecure when they find that employees are smarter than themselves.”
37. “A bad leader can take a good staff and destroy it, causing the best employees to flee and the remainder to lose all motivation.”
38. “Genuine leaders lead by encouraging, not instilling fear in their fellow workers.”
39. “To build a strong team, you must see someone else’s strength as a complement to your weakness and not a threat to your position or authority” -Christine Caine.
40. Great people have both great character and great capabilities. - Ray Dalio, Principles: Life and Work
41. Leadership is about vision and responsibility, not power. - Seth Berkeley
42. “Leadership is about solving problems. The day leaders stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help or conclude you do not care. Either case is a failure on leadership.” -Colin Powell.
43. “Leadership is getting people to work for you when they are not obligated.” ~ Fred Smith
44. “Managers do things right. Leaders do the right thing.” ~ Warren Bennis
45. “Effective leaders are not problem-minded; they’re opportunity minded. They feed opportunities and starve problems.” -Stephen Covey.
46. “Without a plan, even the most brilliant business can get lost. You need to have goals, create milestones, and have a strategy to set yourself up for success.” -Yogi Berra.
47. “Failing organizations are usually over-managed and under-led.”- Stephen Covey.
48. “I cannot believe what you say coz I can see what you do.”
49. “Good leaders don’t tell people what to do; they give them capability and inspiration” -Jeffrey Immelt.
50. “While some communities are chasing visions out, others are chasing one another away. While some leaders love breaking records, others love breaking constructed buildings. Good leaders deserve golden trophies while a gas cylinder is ok for the bad ones.” -Israelmore Ayivor.
51. “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” ~ John Maxwell
52. “There are no bad teams, only bad leaders.” -Leif Babin.
53. 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
54. “When you are too embarrassed to ask for help, that’s a little knock at your door saying “you’re insecure”!” -Jocko Willink.
55. Don't get hung up on your views of how things "should" be because you will miss out on learnings how they really are. - Ray Dalio, Principles: Life and Work
56. People who enjoy meetings should not be in charge of anything. - Thomas Sowell
57. “Leadership is solving problems. The day soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them.” ~ Colin Powell
58. “When personal agendas become more important than the team and the overarching mission’s success, performance suffers, and failure ensues” -Jocko Willink.
59. “A church leadership that cannot provide members with business ideas should stop demanding tithe from them. Plant greatness in the members and they pay greatly; Plant zero in them, and they pay in negatives!” -Israelmore Ayivor.
60. Successful leaders see the opportunities in every difficulty rather than the difficulty in every opportunity. - Reed Markham
61. “Great and pure thoughts cannot be deposited in minds accumulated with rubbish.” -Michael Bassey Johnson.
There you have it. Choose not to be bad managers, instead be a charismatic leader who fosters healthy work cultures.
You'll be amazed what you can achieve if you put your mind to it and develop your team and organization into all it can be. I'm excited for you, all the best with this adventure of leadership!