Steal These Leadership Quotes: Timeless Advice for Employee Motivation

Hear from famous thought leaders on how to motivate and support your talent, and drive your business to success.

motivated employees
Use these quotes on employee experience and growth, leadership, and motivation to inspire you and your staff

Starting up and running a successful business takes determination, grit, and perseverance. It requires a vision of the product or service you provide, how you will take it to market, who your customer base will be, and how you’ll fulfill their needs. Every business starts small and builds. Whether success means global market domination or serving the local community, organizations rely on talented people to keep things moving.

Managing talent is more than issuing a paycheck. You want the people that build your product, your brand, and your company invested in giving the best they can offer, so your organization can thrive.

Thought leaders in business provide insight and guidance on how to inspire the talent that drives your organization’s success. We’ve rounded up some of our favorite timeless quotes from leaders to keep you and your employees motivated.

happy employees in meeting collaboration

Employee experience

”If you are lucky enough to be someone’s employer, then you have a moral obligation to make sure people do look forward to coming to work in the morning.” John Mackey, Whole Foods

Trite but true: happy people make happy teams. Staff members who feel appreciated look for ways to stretch and help, and to offer new ideas and innovations. Miserable people do the very minimum necessary to get by. They drag down morale and productivity until the workplace is a dreaded destination by all.

Create an atmosphere in which people are excited to come to work. The way you view and treat your employees is key to employee experience and business success. From the smallest efforts to accommodate, to the largest recognition initiatives, employers who cultivate an environment of appreciation and belonging have staffers who find the most fulfillment in work and drive success for their business.

“Most of us work for a reason: we want to spend our time contributing to others and creating something bigger than ourselves.”

“Most of us work for a reason: we want to spend our time contributing to others and creating something bigger than ourselves.” Josh Bersin, Founder and Principal at Bersin by Deloitte

With up to a third of our lives in the workplace, staff members want to believe in the work they perform and that their organization functions for the greater good. Whether you’re creating the prettiest pastries in town or working to unlock the key to cold fusion, employees want to be a part of something important, meaningful and needed.

High levels of engagement and ownership are key to employee performance and company success. Key to achieving that sense of ownership and engagement is making sure employees believe in the vision of the company and understand they are integral to making sure it’s executed. Staff members want to know they’re not just a cog in the wheel, but a driving force in taking companies to the next level. They treat customers and coworkers like they were valued friends, and drive business to success.

boss-manager-leader-workest

Leadership

“Leaders don’t create followers, they create more leaders.” 

“Leaders don’t create followers, they create more leaders.”  Tom Peters, Author, In Search of Excellence

Every business owner wants staff members that work independently and decisively. These employees take pride and ownership in their efforts and the success of the company. Creating leaders doesn’t mean everyone has “manager” in their title. It means each employee has autonomy over their contribution to the organization. When given independence, most employees shine and innovate. They look for ways to do it better, faster and smarter, because they know it will make their job easier. They also know it will make the company more successful.

Creating leaders at every level emphasizes confidence in talent. You hired staff to perform tasks and trained them to do so. The message of micro-management is distrust: we know you have the skills and training, but we’re still not confident of your abilities. Demoralizing staff members nets 2 possible results: low performance/productivity or attrition. Neither are good for business. Alternately, fostering  leadership at every level messages you made a smart investment in hiring that staffer, and you know they will get the job done.

“Leaders have to see past problems to solutions.” Marillyn A. Hewson, Executive Chairman, Lockheed Martin Corporation

No business exists without facing obstacles: success lies in how you respond. Problems can be insurmountable, or opportunities for growth and innovation. For many SMBs, the global COVID-19 pandemic presented once-in-a-lifetime challenges that forced innovation and a shift in the business model. Looking beyond the problem and developing solution(s) was the only option.

Don’t let that innovative spirit wane when any crisis is overcome or diverted. The problems business faces can seem overwhelming, but a clear head and a determined spirit can find work-arounds, solutions, or even new pathways to success. In fact, you may find that using that same creative thinking for the smaller problems your company encounters is as important if not more so.

The small problems may be the most easily solved, and may net the most return on investment. High attrition drains resources and productivity: fixing the problem that causes it is a net gain. Minor customer complaints may not create significant impact, but resolving them could. Look for opportunities for growth, whether problems are visited upon your business or you actively seek them out. The result could be substantial.

employee training

Motivation

Whether you think you can, or think you can’t — you’re right.” Henry Ford, Ford Motor Company

The self-fulfilling prophecy applies to businesses and their workers. If you believe you can achieve then you will: if you don’t you won’t. Confidence in your ability or that of your workers to overcome is necessary to succeed. When you’re sure you’ll fail, you surely will. If you believe there is a solution to be found, then it’s there for you to discover.

These words should inspire your organization at every level, they should be mantra. When each employee understands they have the talent to create or resolve, they can succeed. Your job as their employer is to make sure they know they have the skills necessary for almost any challenge that comes their way, and the support of the organization for challenges they can’t face alone.

“Train people well enough so they can leave. Treat them well enough so they don’t have to.” Sir Richard Branson, Virgin Group

Training staff is an investment in their future as well as the company’s. The more talent and skills they possess, the better able they are to do their job and the jobs to which they aspire. Training emphasizes you’re invested in the employee’s long-term future with the company, which makes it easier for them to see themselves with you for the long term.

Once you’ve trained them for today and tomorrow, the key will be assuring there’s room for them to grow and a place waiting for them when they do. Annual promotions aren’t always in the cards, but the ability to stretch skills, collaborate with other departments, and grow their knowledge base assures staff members you’re in it for the long haul, and so should they be.

“Train people well enough so they can leave. Treat them well enough so they don’t have to.”

men looking at laptop

Employee growth

All of your best employees have the same goal: be recognized and rewarded for their hard work and talents. Here are a few timeless quotes to help your employees have the best shot at reaching their true potential.

“You were hired because you met expectations, you will be promoted if you can exceed them.” – Saji Ijiyemi, Author, “Don’t Die Sitting”

“All growth depends upon activity. There is no development physically or intellectually without effort, and effort means work.” – Calvin Coolidge, 30th U.S. President

“Hard work without talent is a shame, but talent without hard work is a tragedy.” – Robert Hall, English Scholar and Minister

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” – Thomas Edison, American inventor

And finally, Comedienne Lily Tomlin said, “The road to success is always under construction.” For business owners, construction should mean constantly striving to build a stronger organization with talent that’s appreciated, loved, and recognized.

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