33 Leadership Quotes By Women To Inspire You

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With International Women’s Day taking place in early March we thought it was only fitting to share our favorite leadership quotes by women.

The leadership quotes are from women from all walks of life, including entrepreneurs, activists, authors, politicians and business leaders. Each leadership quote has a powerful lesson behind it and goes to the heart of what it means to be a great leader. If you enjoy reading quotes, check out some famous quotes about love too!

So without further a-do here are our top 33 leadership quotes by women to inspire you each day!

“Part of leadership is knowing when to go ahead with a decision that’s within your authority because you’re really convinced it’s the right thing, even if other people don’t understand it at that point.”

Hillary Clinton, US Politician

“I never dreamed about success. I worked for it.”

Estée Lauder, Founder of Estée Lauder

“Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence, and making sure that impact lasts in your absence.”

Irene Rosenfield, CEO of Mondel?z International

“Leadership is hard to define, and good leadership even harder. But if you can get people to follow you to the ends of the earth, you are a great leader.”

Dianne Feinstein, Senior US Senator

“If your actions create a legacy that inspires others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, then, you are an excellent leader.”

Dolly Parton, American Singer

“Our emerging workforce is not interested in command and control leadership. They don’t want to do things because I said so, they want to do things because they want to do them.”

Sara Blakely, Founder & CEO of Spanx

“We must believe that we are gifted for something, and that this thing, at whatever cost, must be attained.”

Marie Curie, Physicst and 2x Noble Prize Winner

“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.”

Rosalynn Carter, Activist and Former First Lady of the USA

“A woman is like a tea bag – you never know how strong she is until she gets in hot water.”

Eleanor Roosevelt, Political Figure, Activist, and Former First Lady of the USA

“Destiny is a name often given in retrospect to choices that had dramatic consequences.”

J. K. Rowling, Author

“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”

Maya Angelou, American Poet

“I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear.”

Rosa Parks, Civil Rights Activist

“Leadership is the ability to guide others without force into a direction or decision that leaves them still feeling empowered and accomplished.”

Lisa Cash Hanson, CEO of Snuggwugg

“Leadership is not a person or a position. It is a complex moral relationship between people based on trust, obligation, commitment, emotion, and a shared vision of the good.”

Joanne Ciulla, Author

“Leaders are not just born. Sure, some people are born with strong competencies and strengths for leading in certain situations, but it is very clear that leadership can also be developed. That means everyone can strengthen their skills and abilities to lead and influence.”

Dr. Susan Madsen, Professor of Leadership & Ethics, Utah Valley University

“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.”

Arianna Huffington, Co-founder & Editor of Huffington Post

“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.”

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of Liberia

“I always did something I was a little not ready to do. I think that’s how you grow. When there’s that moment of ‘Wow, I’m not really sure I can do this,’ and you push through those moments, that’s when you have a breakthrough.”

Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo

“Don’t be intimidated by what you don’t know. That can be your greatest strength and ensure that you do things differently from everyone else.”

Sara Blakely, Founder & CEO of Spanx

“Take criticism seriously, but not personally. If there is truth or merit in the criticism, try to learn from it. Otherwise, let it roll right off you.”

Hillary Clinton, US Politician

“One bad day from one member of my staff doesn’t mean they are not really good at their jobs the rest of the time. I play a long game in terms of management.”

Helen McCabe, Australian Women’s Weekly Editor

“You need to spend political capital – be unafraid to introduce people, compliment somebody when it’s deserved and stand up for something you really believe in, rather than just go with the flow.”

Amy Schulman, Executive Vice President of Pfizer

“No country can ever truly flourish if it stifles the potential of its women and deprives itself of the contributions of half of its citizens.”

Michelle Obama, Former First Lady of the USA

“On my own I will just create, and if it works, it works, and if it doesn’t, I’ll create something else. I don’t have any limitations on what I think I could do or be.”

Oprah Winfrey, Entrepreneur

“Always aim high, work hard, and care deeply about what you believe in. And, when you stumble, keep faith. And, when you’re knocked down, get right back up and never listen to anyone who says you can’t or shouldn’t go on.”

Hillary Clinton, US Politician

“I did not have the most experience in the industry or the most money, but I cared the most.”

Sara Blakely, CEO & Founder of Spanx

“Without leaps of imagination, or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning.”

Gloria Steinem, Journalist

“I wouldn’t ask anyone to do anything I wouldn’t do myself.”

Indra Nooyi, CEO, PepsiCo

“The only safe ship in a storm is leadership.”

Faye Wattleton, Activist

“Strategic leaders must not get consumed by the operational and tactical side of their work.”

Stephanie S. Mead, Author

“I wake up every morning and think to myself, ‘How far can I push the company forward in the next 24 hours?’”

Leah Busque, Entrepreneur

“Dreams do not come true just because you dream them. It’s hard work that makes things happen. It’s hard work that creates change.”

Shonda Rhimes, TV Producer

“What I always say is, ‘Do every job you’re in like you’re going to do it for the rest of your life, and demonstrate that ownership of it.'”

Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors

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About Author

Paul Towers - Founder @ Task Pigeon

Paul Towers is a 3x Entrepreneur and Founder of Task Pigeon. Join me on my journey to build an open & transparent startup from day one. Paul is also the founder of Startup Soda, a newsletter curating the best content from the Australian startup ecosystem.