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I find the concept of leadership full of paradoxes and ambiguities. The notion itself seems very personal to me and deeply ingrained in everyone’s individual experience.

Now, a complicated idea – difficult to understand or define – is very hard to teach to others in a leadership workshop. For some help I searched leadership quotes from big names to see if they give some clarity on this mystery: What does leadership mean at this time in human history? Here are a few that I found:

  • The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority.Kenneth Blanchard, University of Massachusetts, Schatz, Managing By Influence, (Prentice-Hall, 1986)
  • Contrary to the opinion of many people, leaders are not born. Leaders are made, and they are made by effort and hard work. Vince Lombardi, 1913-1970, Professional football coach
  • Leadership, like swimming, cannot be learned by reading about it. Henry Mintzberg, McGill University School of Management, The Nature of Managerial Work, Harper & Row, 1973
  • The best leader is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and the self-restraint to keep from meddling with them while they do it. Theodore Roosevelt, American President
  • Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.  Steve Jobs
  • Leadership includes wisdom of the mind, body, spirit, and emotions. Author Unknown

What is your best leadership quote?

My Leadership Questions

I realized that when it comes to leadership, I have some key questions that I like to explore. Questions like:

  • What if true leadership is more about “unlearning” and “stop doing” than adopting yet another management concept?
  • What if all we need about leadership is an awareness of our “implicit” theory of leadership, the one we are already using?
  • If leadership is not only about influencing others, what can leadership also be about?

Adriano understands how to increase your returns on leadership. He works with professionals in world-class organizations that include Philip Morris, Microsoft, the World Bank, Johns Hopkins University, the US Marine Corps, the State Department and NASA.  A skilled experiential educator with corporate leadership experience, he is the Founder & Principal Consultant of ParticipAction Consulting, Inc., a firm committed to help clients redefine change, collaboration and power in their organizations. He co-authored "Teachable Moments of Leadership"  with Jill Hufnagel in 2016, on a learning methodology that gets results by going from PowerPoint to …powerful!

Adriano Pianesi |