leadership quotes by women

63 Inspiring Voices Leadership Quotes by Women

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Women are redefining leadership, shattering stereotypes and paving the way for future generations. Let these powerful quotes from visionary women ignite your own leadership journey, encouraging you to step into your strength and create a lasting impact.

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Leadership Quotes by Women

Empathy and Collaboration

  • “Leadership isn’t confined to a title. It’s the willingness to lift others up as we journey together.” – Dr. Bernice King (daughter of Martin Luther King Jr.)
  • “True leadership requires understanding the emotions of those you lead, even when they are unspoken.” – Reshma Saujani, founder of Girls Who Code
  • “The best teams aren’t hierarchies, they’re constellations. Each star has a vital role.” – Carly Fiorina, former CEO of Hewlett-Packard

Resilience and Authenticity

  • “Don’t be afraid of your scars. They’re proof you’ve refused to stay down.” – Nadia Murad, human rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner
  • “Leadership is not about being fearless. It’s about acting in spite of your fear.” – Chanda Kochhar, former CEO of ICICI Bank
  • “Your authenticity is contagious. Own your story, and it will inspire others to own theirs.” – Luvvie Ajayi Jones, author and speaker

Vision and Purpose

  • “You don’t lead by pointing to a place and telling people to go there. You lead by going to that place and making a case.” – Nancy Pelosi, U.S. Speaker of the House
  • “A leader sees opportunity in every obstacle; a follower sees obstacles in every opportunity.” – Malala Yousafzai, education activist and youngest Nobel Prize laureate
  • “Don’t limit your vision to what’s possible today. Plant seeds for a future you believe deserves to exist.” – Jacinda Ardern, former Prime Minister of New Zealand

leadership quotes by women

Embracing Challenge

  • “I never dreamed about success. I worked for it.” – Estée Lauder, founder of Estée Lauder Companies
  • “Challenges are not roadblocks; rather, they are stepping stones disguised as detours.” – Arianna Huffington, founder of The Huffington Post and Thrive Global
  • “Don’t be afraid to raise your hand for the hard projects. Visibility doesn’t come from staying in your comfort zone.” – Susan Wojcicki, CEO of YouTube

Creating Inclusive Spaces

  • “We need spaces where women and girls can be their full selves. Because the truth is, the world needs their full selves.” – Michelle Obama, former First Lady of the United States
  • “Diverse teams aren’t just a nice-to-have; they’re a competitive necessity. True leadership fosters a culture where everyone has a voice.” – Melinda Gates, philanthropist and businesswoman
  • “We need women at all levels, including the top, to change the dynamic, reshape the conversation, to make sure women’s voices are heard and heeded, not overlooked and ignored.” – Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Meta
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Mentorship and Legacy

  • “If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else.” – Booker T. Washington (often quoted by influential women leaders )
  • “The greatest legacy you can leave isn’t your title, but the people you empowered along the way.” – Indra Nooyi, former CEO of PepsiCo
  • “Each time a woman stands up for herself, she stands up for all women” – Maya Angelou (Although not a recent quote, it remains incredibly potent in the context of female leadership)

Boldness and Decisiveness

  • “When you take calculated risks, that’s when you start building a reputation for being both fearless and smart.” – Tyra Banks, supermodel and businesswoman
  • “If you’re presented with a choice between what’s right and what’s easy, choose what’s right. Great leaders never sacrifice their integrity.” – Condoleezza Rice, former US Secretary of State
  • “Indecision is the thief of opportunity.” – Indira Gandhi, former Prime Minister of India

Humility and Learning

  • “A good leader realizes their growth and the organization’s growth are intrinsically connected.” – Rosalind Brewer, CEO of Walgreens Boots Alliance
  • “The most dangerous phrase in the business world is ‘We’ve always done it this way’. – Grace Hopper, computer scientist and US Navy Rear Admiral
  • “Wisdom comes from admitting what you don’t know, then seeking the knowledge to fill the gap.” – Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Director-General of the World Trade Organization

Passion and Perseverance

  • “Love what you do, and you’ll never work a day in your life… sounds cliché, but it is the fuel that will keep you going.” – Tory Burch, fashion designer
  • “Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.” – Suzy Kassem, author and poet
  • “The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra.” – Jimmy Johnson, sports coach and broadcaster (frequently echoed by women leaders)
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Focusing on Impact

  • “Transformational leadership isn’t about optimizing the status quo, it’s about creating a future worth fighting for.” – Leymah Gbowee, Liberian peace activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner
  • “Don’t compare yourself to others; compare yourself to the person you were yesterday. Your focus is growth, not competition.” – Unknown (A popular quote resonating with women leaders)
  • “Don’t ask if your dreams are crazy. Ask if they’re crazy enough.” – Lena Waithe, screenwriter and actress
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Building Trust

  • “Vulnerability is not weakness; it’s a superpower when coupled with the courage to show up fully, even when you can’t control the outcome.” – Brené Brown, researcher and author
  • “Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence and making sure that impact lasts in your absence.” – Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Meta
  • “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou

Innovation and Risk-Taking

  • “Embrace what you don’t know, especially in the beginning, because what you don’t know can become your greatest asset.” – Sara Blakely, founder of Spanx
  • “Don’t limit yourself to what someone else has imagined for you. You define success on your own terms.” – Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, singer, songwriter, and entrepreneur
  • “Don’t be afraid to fail big, to dream big, but remember, dreams without goals, are just dreams and ultimately fuel disappointment.” – Denzel Washington (A philosophy often adopted by female leaders)

 

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Courage and Self-Belief

  • “Courage is like a muscle. The more we use it, the stronger it gets.” – Madeleine Albright, first female U.S. Secretary of State
  • “I attribute my success to this: I never gave or took any excuse.” – Florence Nightingale, social reformer and founder of modern nursing
  • “A woman with a voice is by definition a strong woman. But the search to find that voice can be remarkably difficult.” – Melinda Gates, philanthropist

Adaptability and Change

  • “You can’t make the same mistakes twice. The second time you make it, it’s no longer a mistake. It’s a choice.” – Unknown (often shared among women in leadership)
  • “I’d rather regret the risks that didn’t work out than the chances I didn’t take at all.” – Simone Biles, Olympic gymnast
  • “The rate of change is not going to slow down anytime soon. If you don’t have a sense of urgency, you better get one!” – Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors

Humor and Perspective

  • “If you don’t like the road you’re walking, start paving another one.” – Dolly Parton, singer, songwriter, and businesswoman
  • “A lot of people are afraid to say what they want. That’s why they don’t get what they want.” – Madonna, singer, songwriter, and actress
  • “You can tell how important something is by the lengths people will go to distract you from it.” – Unknown (A quote with a touch of humor that rings true for many leaders)
See also  62 Powerful Servant Leadership Quotes for Better Teams

The Power of Mentorship and Support

  • “We cannot all succeed when half of us are held back.” – Malala Yousafzai, education activist and Nobel Prize laureate
  • “The best way to find a great mentor is to put yourself in spaces where there are potential mentors – and be the kind of person a mentor would want to work with.” – Arianna Huffington, founder of The Huffington Post and Thrive Global
  • “The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.” – Alice Walker, author and activist

Finding Your Voice and Standing Tall

  • “Think like a queen. A queen is not afraid to fail. Failure is another stepping stone to greatness.” – Oprah Winfrey, media mogul
  • “I’m not bossy. I’m the boss.” – Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, singer, songwriter, and entrepreneur
  • “If you want something said, ask a man; if you want something done, ask a woman.” – Margaret Thatcher, former British Prime Minister

Leading with Purpose

  • “Leadership is not about titles, positions, or flowcharts. It is about one life influencing another.” – John C. Maxwell, author and speaker
  • “Great leaders don’t just tell you what to do, they show you how it’s done.” – Unknown
  • “Purpose is not a destination, it’s a compass. Leaders walk the talk, aligning actions with values every single day.” – Jacqueline Novogratz, founder and CEO of Acumen

Focusing on Emotional Intelligence

  • “When you’re leading a team, sometimes the most important words are ‘I understand’, ‘I hear you’, or ‘Tell me more’.” – Ginni Rometty, former CEO of IBM
  • “As a leader, your ability to connect with people on an emotional level will far outweigh your technical expertise.” – Marie Forleo, author and entrepreneur
  • “Before you respond to a difficult situation, take a breath. That brief pause allows you to choose your reaction instead of letting your emotions choose for you.” – Oprah Winfrey, media mogul

Staying Grounded

  • “Never let success go to your head and never let failure go to your heart.” – Unknown
  • “Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for.” – Zig Ziglar (often quoted by female leaders)
  • “Take time to appreciate the small wins, not just the major milestones. The journey is as important as the destination.” – Anne Sweeney, former President of Disney-ABC Television Group

The Importance of Self-Care

  • “You can’t pour from an empty cup. Take care of yourself first.” – Unknown
  • “Don’t let busyness compromise your well-being. Self-care is an investment in your own leadership potential.” – Arianna Huffington, founder of The Huffington Post and Thrive Global
  • “Never underestimate the power of a walk in nature, a good conversation, or a truly belly-aching laugh.” – Emma Watson, actress and activist
Nadeem Ahmed
Nadeem Ahmed

Founder & Writer at QuoteGravity.com

I'm Nadeem Ahmed, the founder and writer of QuoteGravity.com, a platform designed to inspire and motivate people through the power of words.

With a background in project management, GIS analysis, and digital marketing, I'm passionate about crafting compelling content that resonates with readers.

Through QuoteGravity.com, I hope to share inspirational quotes and stories that help people find their inner strength and achieve their goals.

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