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50 Quotes on Crisis Management & Leadership that Will Make You Think

April 3, 2020
Quotes from authors, philosophers, business executives, military leaders, politicians, athletes and other famous folks who had something interesting to say about crisis management and leadership.


 “Any deep crisis is an opportunity to make your life extraordinary in some way.”

— Martha Beck, Author

“In crisis management, be quick with the facts and slow with the blame.”

 — Leonard Saffir, Public relations executive

“In a crisis, don’t hide behind anything or anybody. They’re going to find you anyway.”

— Bear Bryant, former Alabama football coach

“I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts.”

— Abraham Lincoln, 16th president of the United States

“Faced with crisis, the man of character falls back on himself. He imposes his own stamp of action, takes responsibility for it, makes it his own.”

— Charles de Gaulle, Former president of France

“When written in Chinese, the word ‘crisis’ is composed of two characters. One represents danger and the other represents opportunity.

— John F. Kennedy, 35th U.S. president.

“The secret of crisis management is not good vs. bad, it’s preventing the bad from getting worse.”

— Andy Gilman, president & CEO of Comm Core Consulting Group

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in the moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

— Martin Luther King, Jr., Civil rights leader and minister

“If you don’t choose to do it in leadership time up front, you do it in crisis management time down the road.”

— Stephen Covey, Management consultant

“In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.”

— Theodore Roosevelt, 26th U.S. president

“When you face a crisis, you know who your true friends are.”

— Magic Johnson, Hall of Fame NBA basketball player

“It is better to offer no excuse than a bad one.”

— George Washington, 1st U.S. president

“A crisis is an opportunity riding a dangerous wind.”

— Chinese Proverb

“The crisis you have to worry about most is the one you don’t see coming.”

— Mike Mansfield, Former Senate Majority Leader from 1961-1977 and diplomat

“That which does not kill us makes us stronger.”

— Friedrich Nietzsche, German philosopher, poet and scholar.

“Conflict builds character. Crisis defines it.”

— Steven V. Thulon, Author


“The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant.”

— Jim Rohn, Author, entrepreneur and motivational speaker

“Keep your fears to yourself, but share your courage with others.”

— Robert Louis Stevenson, Author of Treasure Island, Kidnapped, Robinson Crusoe and other classics

“Every day is a new opportunity. You can build on yesterday’s success or put its failures behind and start over again. That’s the way life is, with a new game every day, and that’s the way baseball is.”

— Bob Feller, Hall of Fame pitcher for the Cleveland Indians

“Surround yourself with great people; delegate authority; get out of the way.”

“The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets people to do the greatest things.”

— Ronald Reagan, 40th president of the United States

“Power isn’t control at all. Power is strength and giving that strength to others. A leader isn’t someone who forces others to make him stronger. A leader is someone willing to give his strength to others that they may have the strength to stand on their own.”

— Beth Revis, Author

“Don’t tell people how to do things; tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results.”

— George S. Patton Jr., World War II Army general

“Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.”

— Dwight Eisenhower, 34th president of the United States and Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force in World War II

“Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.”

— Peter Drucker, Management consultant

“Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing.”

— Albert Schweitzer, Physician, writer & philosopher

“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.”

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

— John Maxwell, Author, speaker and pastor

“A leader is a dealer in hope.”

—Napoleon Bonaparte, French military leader and statesman

“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, 26th U.S. president

“A leader is like a shepherd. He stays behind the flock, letting the most nimble go out ahead, whereupon the others follow, not realizing that all along they are being directed from behind.”

— Nelson Mandela, President of South Africa from 1994-1999

“The mark of a great man is one who knows when to set aside the important things in order to accomplish the vital ones.”

— Brandon Sanderson, Writer

“A leader without followers is simply a man taking a walk.”

— John Boehner, Former U.S. Speaker of the House of Representatives

“A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.”

— Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Men make history and not the other way around. In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better.”

— Harry Truman, 33rd president of the United States

“Leadership is unlocking people’s potential to become better.”

— Bill Bradley, U.S. Senator from New Jersey and NBA basketball player for the New York Knicks

“Leadership consists of picking good men and helping them do their best.”

 — Chester Nimitz, Admiral, U.S. Navy

“The task of the leader is to get his people from where they are to where they have not been.”

— Henry Kissinger, Former U.S. Secretary of State

“The secret to success is good leadership, and good leadership is all about making the lives of your team members or workers better.”

—Tony Dungy, Former NFL head coach

“The key to being a good manager is keeping the people who hate me away from those who are still undecided.”

— Casey Stengel, Manager of the New York Yankees from 1948-1960

“Outstanding leaders go out of their way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it’s amazing what they can accomplish.”

— Sam Walton, founder, Walmart

“Leadership is solving problems. The day soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help or concluded you do not care. Either case is a failure of leadership.”

— Colin Powell, Secretary of State; Four-star Army general; and National Security Advisor

“It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”

— Charles Darwin, Scientist

“No man will make a great leader who wants to do it all himself or get all the credit for doing it.”

— Andrew Carnegie, Industrialist, & philanthropist

“Always remember, Son, the best boss is the one who bosses the least. Whether it’s cattle, or horses, or men, the least government is the best government.”

— Ralph Moody, Author who wrote 17 books on the American West

“Average leaders raise the bar on themselves; good leaders raise the bar for others; great leaders inspire others to raise their own bar.”

 — Orrin Woodward, Author

“The art of leadership is saying no, not yes. It is very easy to say yes.”

— Tony Blair, Former British prime minister

“A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don’t necessarily want to go but ought to be.”

— Rosalynn Carter, Former First Lady

“There is a difference between being a leader and being a boss. Both are based on authority. A boss demands blind obedience; a leader earns his authority through understanding and trust.”

— Klaus Balkenhol, German equestrian and Olympic champion

“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.”

— Antoine de Saint-Exupery, French writer, poet, aristocrat, journalist and pioneering aviator.

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”

—John Quincy Adams, 6th U.S. president