Managing, or rather leading, people is one of the hardest things you will ever do professionally. It is both challenging and rewarding.

Luckily, great leaders are made, not born. Some of the best managers are those who acknowledge that they may not be the smartest people in the room; hence, they always listen, keep an open mind, and never stop learning.

In the spirit of learning, I compiled some of my favorite thought-provoking quotes on what it means to be a great manager. I do hope they inspire you as well.

  1. "Increasingly, management's role is not to organize work, but to direct passion and purpose." --Greg Satell
  2. "Rank does not confer privilege or give power. It imposes responsibility." --Peter F. Drucker
  3. "In most cases being a good boss means hiring talented people and then getting out of their way." --Tina Fey
  4. "The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint to keep from meddling with them while they do it." --Theodore Roosevelt
  5. "Good management is the art of making problems so interesting and their solutions so constructive that everyone wants to get to work and deal with them." --Paul Hawken
  6. "A good boss makes his men realize they have more ability than they think they have so that they consistently do better work than they thought they could." --Charles Erwin Wilson
  7. "Talent is the multiplier. The more energy and attention you invest in it, the greater the yield. The time you spend with your best is, quite simply, your most productive time." --Marcus Buckingham
  8. "Leaders must be close enough to relate to others, but far enough ahead to motivate them." --John C. Maxwell
  9. "Too many companies believe people are interchangeable. Truly gifted people never are. They have unique talents. Such people cannot be forced into roles they are not suited for, nor should they be. Effective leaders allow great people to do the work they were born to do." --Warren G. Bennis
  10. "No great manager or leader ever fell from heaven; it's learned, not inherited." --Tom Northup
  11. "Remember the Golden Rule, 'Treat people as you would like to be treated'? The best managers break the Golden Rule every day. They would say don't treat people as you would like to be treated. This presupposes that everyone breathes the same psychological oxygen as you. For example, if you are competitive, everyone must be similarly competitive. If you like to be praised in public, everyone else must too. Everyone must share your hatred of micromanagement." --Marcus Buckingham
  12. "What it takes to do a job will not be learned from management courses. It is principally a matter of experience, the proper attitude, and common sense--none of which can be taught in a classroom ... Human experience shows that people, not organizations or management systems, get things done." --Hyman G. Rickover
  13. "Early on I realized that I had to hire people smarter and more qualified than I was in a number of different fields, and I had to let go of a lot of decision making. I can't tell you how hard that is. But if you've imprinted your values on the people around you, you can dare to trust them to make the right moves." --Howard Schultz
  14. "It's not the people you fire who make your life miserable. It's the people you don't." --Dick Grote
  15. "Every time you make a rule you take away a choice, and choice, with all of its illuminating repercussions, is the fuel for learning." --Marcus Buckingham
  16. "A good manager is a man who isn't worried about his own career but rather the careers of those who work for him." --H. S. M. Burns
  17. "A leader leads by example, not by force." --Sun Tzu
  18. "Innovation has nothing to do with how many R&D dollars you have. When Apple came up with the Mac, IBM was spending at least 100 times more on R&D. It's not about money. It's about the people you have, and how you're led." --Steve Jobs
  19. "Focus on a few key objectives ... I only have three things to do. I have to choose the right people, allocate the right number of dollars, and transmit ideas from one division to another with the speed of light. So I'm really in the business of being the gatekeeper and the transmitter of ideas." --Jack Welch
  20. "The conventional definition of management is getting work done through people, but real management is developing people through work." --Agha Hasan Abedi
  21. "The four keys of great managers: (1) When selecting someone, they select for talent ... not simply experience, intelligence, or determination. (2) When setting expectations, they define the right outcomes ... not the right steps. (3) When motivating someone, they focus on strengths ... not on weaknesses. (4) When developing someone, they help him find the right fit ... not simply the next rung on the ladder." --Marcus Buckingham
  22. "A boss creates fear, a leader confidence. A boss fixes blame; a leader corrects mistakes. A boss knows all; a leader asks questions. A boss makes work drudgery; a leader makes it interesting." --Russell H. Ewing