80 John Maxwell Quotes About Becoming An Amazing Leader

Our latest collection of John Maxwell quotes on Everyday Power.

John Maxwell is the author of over 60 books and his name is synonymous with business and leadership coaching.

Maxwell has been traveling the globe for over 40 years working with executives and aspiring leaders on how to develop authentic leadership.

I hope you enjoy these inspirational John Maxwell quotes on leadership and productivity!

Don’t forget to also read these powerful Jocko Willink quotes to motivate leaders.

Check out our most popular quote article, a list of short inspirational quotes for daily inspiration. 

Our inspirational quotes category page has all of our motivational quotes for all the different areas of life.

Inspirational John Maxwell Quotes About Success

1. “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” – John Maxwell

Everyday Application: There are a lot of things that make up a good leader. Confidence in their decisions is one of them. Commitment to follow through is another. Beyond that, they must be able to help others follow the path and inspire confidence in others as well.

2. “People buy into the leader before they buy into the vision.” – John Maxwell

Everyday Application: What are you doing that personally motivates and inspires your people to follow you? Do your words and actions align? Are you knowledgeable? They need to have trust, confidence, and faith in you before they will have those same things in the vision you lay forth. 

3. “People may hear your words, but they feel your attitude.” – John Maxwell

Everyday Application: Make sure your attitude and actions match your words. Speaking about positivity is not enough if you are always angry or in a bad mood. People will pick up on the lack of authenticity. Check out this article about managing your mood! 

4. “Life can be boring unless you put some effort into it.” – John Maxwell

5. “Learn to say ‘no’ to the good so you can say ‘yes’ to the best.” – John Maxwell

Everyday Application: This is one of the most valuable lessons we can learn. We are not meant to take every opportunity that comes our way, or say yes to everything that people ask of us. Sometimes, you have to say no to something so you have the room for the really great thing that is headed your way! 

6. “The greatest mistake we make is living in constant fear that we will make one.” – John Maxwell

7. “Enjoyment is an incredible energizer to the human spirit.” – John Maxwell

8. A lack of realism in the vision today costs credibility tomorrow.” – John Maxwell

9. “Leaders must be close enough to relate to others, but far enough ahead to motivate them.” – John Maxwell

Everyday Application: There is always a fine line to walk when building relationships with your teammates. Relationships matter because they help a team bond and trust one another. However, you can not be best friends with everyone because there needs to be some level of separation so they choose to follow you.

10. “The secret of your success is determined by your daily agenda.” – John Maxwell 

Everyday Application: A daily routine is essential to learning about yourself and achieving your goals. How you invest your time each day matters in the grand scheme of life. Take a moment and assess your daily agenda. Does it prioritize your dreams and goals?

11. “If you are a parent, you have probably already realized that your children are always watching what you do. And just as children watch their parents and emulate their behavior, so do employees who are watching their bosses.” – John Maxwell

Everyday Application: We teach our children so much without being aware of it. How do you react when something disappointing happens? Do you say unkind things about yourself or others? Be deliberate with your behaviors, words, and responses, both as a parent and as a business leader, because people are watching and learning.

If you’re enjoying these quotes, make sure to read our collection of motivational quotes for employees about the power of a great team.

12. “Good leaders must communicate vision clearly, creatively, and continually. However, the vision doesn’t come alive until the leader models it.” – John Maxwell

Everyday Application: Your employees will follow you first, and then the vision you set forth. So, make sure that you are modeling how you want them to behave and do things. As a leader, you can not expect things from your employees that you are unwilling or unable to do yourself.

13. “A man must be big enough to admit his mistakes, smart enough to profit from them, and strong enough to correct them.” – John Maxwell

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Everyday Application: Even great leaders make mistakes. The truth is that everyone is going to make a mistake at some point. How you behave when you mess up is what matters the most. You can learn something from every mistake!

14. “When you are full of pride on the inside, it makes you stiff, stubborn, and creates strife with others.” – John Maxwell

Everyday Application: You can be proud of what you have done or accomplished, without becoming overly prideful on the inside. Being prideful looks like being overly confident and arrogant. Prideful people think they are better than others, rather than just delighting in the things they have achieved.  

15. “The difference between average people and achieving people is their perception of and response to failure.” – John Maxwell

Everyday Application: The average person looks at failure as something bad or to be avoided at all costs. The achieving person recognizes that failure is a necessary evil because it teaches us to grow and be better. It is also a potential outcome of taking risks, which achieving people will do more often than the average person. How you view failure matters. Check out this article for a new perspective.

16. “If you are a leader, you should never forget that everyone needs encouragement. And everyone who receives it – young or old, successful or less-than-successful, unknown or famous – is changed by it.” – John Maxwell

Motivational Quotes by John Maxwell on Productivity and Growth

17. “Look at our society. Everyone wants to be thin, but nobody wants to diet. Everyone wants to live long, but few will exercise. Everybody wants money, yet seldom will anyone budget or control their spending.” – John Maxwell

18. “I vividly remember a conversation I had many years ago in 1974, which marked a turning point in my leadership journey. I was sitting at a Holiday Inn with my friend, Kurt Campmeyer, when he asked me if I had a personal growth plan. I didn’t. In fact, I didn’t even know you were supposed to have one.” – John Maxwell

If you’re enjoying these quotes, make sure to read our collection of leadership quotes about vision and working with others.

19. “Growth demands a temporary surrender of security. It may mean giving up familiar but limiting patterns, safe but unrewarding work, values no longer believed in, and relationships that have lost their meaning.” – John Maxwell

20. “Time management is an oxymoron. Time is beyond our control, and the clock keeps ticking regardless of how we lead our lives. Priority management is the answer to maximizing the time we have.” – John Maxwell

21. “Failed plans should not be interpreted as a failed vision. Visions don’t change, they are only refined. Plans rarely stay the same, and are scrapped or adjusted as needed. Be stubborn about the vision, but flexible with your plan.” – John Maxwell

22. “Every person has a longing to be significant; to make a contribution; to be a part of something noble and purposeful.” – John Maxwell

23. “People who use time wisely spend it on activities that advance their overall purpose in life.” – John Maxwell

Everyday Application: We all have the same amount of hours in our day. However, we do not all use our time the same. Have you been putting off a dream or a goal, and claiming you don’t have time? Take stock of your day and examine how you are actually using your time. You will be surprised at how much time you have to chase your dreams once you let go of the excuses.

24. “As a leader, the first person I need to lead is me. The first person that I should try to change is me.” – John Maxwell

25. “Success is due to our stretching to the challenges of life. Failure comes when we shrink from them.” – John Maxwell

26. “There are two kinds of pride, both good and bad. ‘Good pride’ represents our dignity and self-respect. ‘Bad pride’ is the deadly sin of superiority that reeks of conceit and arrogance.” – John Maxwell

Everyday Application: Have pride in the things you accomplish and the difference you make. Know your worth and what you bring to the table. However, do not assume that there is nothing left for you to learn and that you are better than everyone else.

27. “The greatest day in your life and mine is when we take total responsibility for our attitudes. That’s the day we truly grow up.” – John Maxwell 

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Everyday Application: Taking responsibility for your attitude is a sign of emotional maturity. Taking responsibility for your attitude enables you to make choices that are proactive instead of reactive. Taking responsibility for our attitude along with our words and actions helps us feel better about ourselves too!

28. “Leadership is influence.” – John Maxwell

29. “Self-centered leaders manipulate when they move people for personal benefit. Mature leaders motivate by moving people for mutual benefit.” – John Maxwell

30. “Inability to make decisions is one of the principal reasons executives fail. Deficiency in decision-making ranks much higher than lack of specific knowledge or technical know-how as an indicator of leadership failure.” – John Maxwell

31. “Growth is the great separator between those who succeed and those who do not. When I see a person beginning to separate themselves from the pack, it’s almost always due to personal growth.” – John Maxwell

32. “Teamwork makes the dream work, but a vision becomes a nightmare when the leader has a big dream and a bad team.” – John Maxwell

Everyday Application: There are many moving parts to a successful team. A good team is comprised of patient people, aligned goals, and people who can effectively communicate with one another. The individual skills and strengths of the team can be taught and developed, but a respectful and positive attitude is key! 

33. “A word of encouragement from a teacher to a child can change a life. A word of encouragement from a spouse can save a marriage. A word of encouragement from a leader can inspire a person to reach her potential.” – John Maxwell

Everyday Application: Your words matter. Every time you interact with someone you have the chance to make a positive impact with your words alone. The flip side of this is that poorly chosen or mean spirited words will result in the opposite manner in each of these situations. Choose your words wisely

34. “The dreams and passions stored within hearts are powerful keys which can unlock a wealth of potential.” – John Maxwell

35. “Everyone has the potential to become an encourager. You don’t have to be rich. You don’t have to be a genius. You don’t have to have it all together. All you have to do is care about people and initiate.” – John Maxwell

More John Maxwell Quotes on Influence

36. “Without failure there is no achievement.” – John Maxwell

Everyday Application: Failure is one of the best teachers we can have. It leads to even bigger achievements than we could have first anticipated, because we learn so much about the process and, more importantly, ourselves as we go along. Don’t be afraid to fail, just be willing to learn from it!

37. “All of the people in my life whom I consider to be close friends or colleagues are good thinkers.” – John Maxwell

38. “The unsuccessful person is burdened by learning, and prefers to walk down familiar paths. Their distaste for learning stunts their growth and limits their influence.” – John Maxwell

Everyday Application: A willingness to learn will take you a long way in life. Humans tend to stick with what is familiar because of the fear of the unknown. However, expanding your horizons, meeting new people, learning new skills, and being open to new beliefs can change your life in ways you can’t imagine! Be willing to learn and accept that there are things you do not know, or think you know, that are not correct.

39. “When a person starts to talk about their dreams, it’s as if something bubbles up from within. Their eyes brighten, their face glows, and you can feel the excitement in their words.” – John Maxwell

40. “Time is more valuable than money, because time is irreplaceable.” – John Maxwell

41. “Success comes to those who have an entire mountain of gold that they continually mine, not those who find one nugget and try to live on it for fifty years.” – John Maxwell

42. “Educators take something simple and make it complicated. Communicators take something complicated and make it simple.” – John Maxwell

43. “Family and friendships are two of the greatest facilitators of happiness.” – John Maxwell

Everyday Application: These are also two things that you can be grateful for, if you have a loving family and great friends. Gratitude also is a good predictor of happiness. With all three of these you will be unstoppable. If you don’t have the best family, remember not all family is linked by blood. You can create your own.

44. “All good leaders are connectors. They relate well and make people feel confident about themselves and their leader.” – John Maxwell

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45. “Pride deafens us to the advice or warnings of those around us.” – John Maxwell

46. “The experience of pain or loss can be a formidably motivating force.” – John Maxwell

Everyday Application: The stronger the feeling or emotion the more motivating it can be. Pain and loss are some of the most powerful feelings that humans can experience, so it makes sense that some people can turn that into a motivating force. Check out this article for quotes about dealing with loss.

47. “Exceptionally hard decisions can deplete your energy to the point at which you finally cave in. If you mentally crumble and degenerate into negative thinking, you’ll magnify the problem to the point where it can haunt you.” – John Maxwell

48. “People who add value to others do so intentionally. I say that because to add value, leaders must give of themselves, and that rarely occurs by accident.” – John Maxwell

49. “The best way a mentor can prepare another leader is to expose him or her to other great people.” – John Maxwell

50. “Have the humility to learn from those around you.” – John Maxwell

John Maxwell quotes that will challenge your perspective

51. “Real leadership is being the person others will gladly and confidently follow.”― John C. Maxwell

52. “The sum of all your thoughts comprises your overall attitude.”― John C. Maxwell

53. “You will never change your life until you change something you do daily.”― John C. Maxwell

54. “If you wouldn’t follow yourself, why should anyone else?”― John C. Maxwell

55. “Most People have a desire to look for the exception instead of the desire to become exceptional.”― John C. Maxwell

56. “It’s good to be out of your comfort zone. Just don’t step out of your gift zone.”― John C. Maxwell

57. “Image is what people think we are; integrity is what we really are.”― John Maxwell

58. “People don’t care what you know until they know what you care.”― John C. Maxwell

59. “Live to learn and you will really learn to live.”― John C. Maxwell

60. “Dreams don’t work unless you do.”― John C. Maxwell

Thought-provoking John Maxwell quotes

61. “Leadership is not about titles, positions or flowcharts. It is about one life influencing another.” – John Maxwell

62. “We cannot become what we need by remaining what we are.” – John C. Maxwell

63. “A leader who produces other leaders multiples their influences.” – John C. Maxwell

64. “The only guarantee for failure is to stop trying.” – John C. Maxwell

65. “Live your message: practice what you preach. That’s where credibility comes from.” — John C Maxwell

66. “The challenge of leadership is to create change and facilitate growth.” – John C. Maxwell

67. “Followers tell you what you want to hear. Leaders tell you what you need to hear.” – John C. Maxwell

68. “How we view a person is reflected by how we treat a person.” – John C. Maxwell

69. “If you don’t contradict yourself on a regular basis, then you’re not thinking.” – John C Maxwell

70. “A good leader is a person who takes a little more than his share of the blame and a little less than his share of the credit.” – John C. Maxwell

More John Maxwell quotes and sayings

71. “The more you do, the more you fail. The more you fail, the more you learn. The more you learn, the better you get.” – John C. Maxwell

72. “Your attitude is either your best friend or your worst enemy, your greatest asset or your greatest liability.” – John C. Maxwell

73. “Motivation gets you going, but discipline keeps you growing.” – John C. Maxwell

74. “Leaders become great, not because of their power, but because of their ability to empower others.” – John C. Maxwell

75. “It’s better to prepare than to repair.” – John C. Maxwell

76. “You build trust with others each time you choose integrity over image, truth over convenience, or honor over personal gain.” – John C. Maxwell

77. “You don’t overcome challenges by making them smaller but by making yourself bigger.” – John C. Maxwell

78. “Needless to say, you can love people without leading them, but you cannot lead people without loving them.” – John C. Maxwell

79. “Life is a matter of choices, and every choice you make makes you.” – John C. Maxwell

80. “If you don’t try to create the future you want, you must endure the future you get.” – John C. Maxwell

 John Maxwell speaks at High Point University


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  1. Theresa Hassell

    February 6, 2019 at 12:23 PM


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