In the short time I’ve been with Leading Teams I’ve learnt and heard a lot more about leadership, team work and hard work than I ever thought possible.  Of course, this has led to a finite amount of self-reflection: what kind of leader am I?  What can I do to improve my leadership?  How can I work better in teams?  Questions I would encourage everyone to ask themselves, by the way.

It’s also given me cause to reflect back on what inspires me in the way of leadership. And I’m reminded of something that my dad used to say to my brother and me when we found things difficult: “We choose to do these things not because they are easy, but because they are hard.”

President John F Kennedy giving his 'Race for Space' speech

President Kennedy gives his ‘Race for Space’ speech at Houston’s Rice University, 1962. Image by © CORBIS

With the benefit of age and education I have learnt that this is, in fact, a corrupted snippet from JFK’s famous ‘We choose to go to the moon’ speech, but, irrespective of where it came from, it has motivated me since childhood.

I asked my team what quotes have inspired them.

“It is amazing how much can be accomplished when no one cares who gets the credit.” John Wooden / Harry Truman

Daniel Healy, facilitator, chose this quote: “I love it because all too often egos stop teams from achieving anywhere near what they could.”

“Find a way to serve.” Jock Cameron

Steve Lacy, facilitator, says: “This quote sticks with me as it influences how I make decisions and lead. In my experience, the best leaders genuinely serve and care for the people around them.”

“Those who have invested the most are the last to surrender.” Vince Lombardi

Ray McLean says: “I’ve used this quote with both Central Districts and Fremantle Football Clubs. Central used to have cliches posted on the walls which didn’t reflect who they were and their coach took them all down and replaced them with this one. Freo’s coach took it and stuck it on the wall in 2012 and it’s remained there til this day. This quote is also the one I chose at the top of my late wife, Sally’s, funeral notice.  She died after a long battle with cancer and this one quote described her life perfectly.”

“In a high-trust relationship, you can say the wrong thing, and people will still get your meaning. In a low-trust relationship, you can be very measured, even precise, and they’ll still misinterpret you.” Stephen M.R. Covey

Simon Fletcher comments: “This just shows the link between strong professional relationships and genuine conversations. Without the relationship we always wonder how they will take the message but if we genuinely care about our team members and want to see them improve we will have the conversation and feel safe doing so.”

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou

Facilitator Serena Easton loves this quote because: “It is so true. Being genuine, authentic and respectful impacts on how people feel. What you say or do may not be remembered word for word but people will always be able to reflect on the emotions linked to their experiences.”

“You can buy a man’s time, you can buy a man’s physical presence at a certain place, you can even buy a measured number of skilled muscular motions per hour or day. But you cannot buy enthusiasm, you cannot buy initiative, you cannot buy loyalty; you cannot buy the devotion of hearts, minds, and souls. You have to earn these things.” Clarence Francis

Facilitator Tim Ferguson says: “I love this quote because it sums up the difference between a leader who manages by authority and a leader who can manage by influencing. The difference between a mediocre team and a great team can be in a leader’s ability to fully engage a team beyond what they are simply paid to do.”

“The standard you walk past is the standard you accept.” David Morrison / David Hurley

Luke Wintle comments: “I first heard this from Leading Teams colleagues and it really resonates with me. It’s thought-provoking and it helps to challenge the status quo.”

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing; the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” Viktor Frankl

Justin Peckett says: “For me this is about courage. This passage resonates strongly with me because in life we are constantly faced with challenges that test our will. Taking control, ownership and responsibility for your responses and actions are choices that only you can make. This is a life lesson that I am doing my best to role model for my five young sons and two daughters so that they become productive, positive, resilient human beings.”

“Today you are you that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you.” Dr Seuss

Lisa Berry, Business Support, says: “We spend our lives trying to fit in and be who we think people want us to be. When in reality, this will just cause unnecessary stress because all we have to do is be ourselves. A lesson I need to be reminded of, so thank you, Dr.Seuss!”

Facilitator Jake Bridges shared this photo of a page that has dropped from a much-loved book given to him by his father after a business partnership was lost. Jake says: “Loyalty is one of the behaviours in my personal trademark. The world is crying out for individuals who can be trusted to carry messages and act with the utmost levels of integrity without asking for anything in return.”

'This is loyalty' from Elbert Hubbard's 'A Message to Garcia'.

‘This is loyalty’ from Elbert Hubbard’s ‘A Message to Garcia’.

We’d like to hear your favourite quotes. Tweet us @LeadingTeams.


Caroline Reid

Caroline Reid

Caroline worked for Leading Teams from 2016-2018.