10 Quotes on Leadership That Will Make You LOL

What do Bill Gates, Tina Fey, and Lao Tzu, the 6th-century Chinese philosopher, have in common? Wait for it -- they’ve all made our unofficial list of 10 laugh-out-loud-worthy quotes about leadership.

While business leaders aren’t exactly known for their comedic pearls -- and why should they be, they’re too busy multitasking and winning -- observations about leadership can make for some laughs.

Without further ado, here’s the list. Enjoy.

When being admired just isn't good enough.

NBC | Wikipedia

"Would I rather be feared or loved? Easy. Both. I want people to be afraid of how much they love me."
-- Michael Scott, fictional boss on The Office

While Michael Scott from the NBC television series The Office was an HR nightmare, he’s spot on about this: It would rule to have your employees fear how much they love you.

Related: 8 of the Greatest Commencement Quotes From Business Leaders

Why yell when you can ... cry?

Viben On Films | Youtube

“Some people say, ‘Never let them see you cry.’ I say, if you’re so mad you could just cry, then cry. It terrifies everyone.”

-- Tina Fey, 30 Rock actress and writer

Bawling at work is generally discouraged, but if you’re Tina Fey, with a few Emmys under her belt, bawling works.

Related: 7 Funny Quotes With Serious Leadership Lessons

Newsflash: Working hard leads to more hard work.

Wikimedia Commons | Walter Albertin | Library of Congress

“By faithfully working eight hours a day you may eventually get to be boss and work 12 hours a day.”

-- Robert Frost, American poet

You’d think that his winning four Pulitzers and more than 40 honorary degrees would score Robert Frost some more me-time; but Frost -- who spent the bulk of his career teaching in academia -- seems to have had some seriously long office hours.

Related: Get Motivated With 2014's Inspiring, Unforgettable Quotes

Insecurity? Bah!

Wikimedia Commons | Library of Congress

"It's hard to lead a cavalry charge if you think you look funny on a horse."

-- Adlai E. Stevenson, politician and UN statesman

No guts, no glory, right? Confidence is key!

Clichés are fun, but the point is this: If you’re gonna lead then own it. You can’t convince others to follow you if you aren’t comfortable leading.

Related: How Improv Comedy Can Seriously Grow Your Business

Divide and conquer-ish.


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

-- Casey Stengel, American Major League Baseball player and manager

Street-smart Casey Stengel had a point about the whole divide and conquer thing. Leaders have to manage the haters -- get some thick skin -- and cultivate trust and loyalty with the rest.

Related: Honoring Joan Rivers: 12 of the Trailblazing Comedian's Wisest Quotes

Know-it-alls are annoying -- unless they're me, of course.

Isaac Asimov | Facebook

“People who think they know everything are a great annoyance to those of us who do.”

-- Isaac Asimov, biochemistry scholar

Leaders are supposed to let the world know that they know everything, right? Hm. Well...

Related: Improv and Comedy Can Infuse Companies With an Inventive Spirit

Geeks shall rule the earth.

JStone | Shutterstock.com

“Be nice to geeks. You’ll probably end up working for one.”

-- Bill Gates, Microsoft founder

Don’t be fooled by the smile. He was not joking.

Related: How to Use Humor at Work Without Acting Like a Jerk

Lead yourself away from all the meetings.


“People who enjoy meetings should not be in charge of anything.”

-- Thomas Sowell, economist and author

This Stanford University economist is widely respected for his expertise, but this might be his most insightful yet.

Related: 5 Insanely Inspirational Quotes For Entrepreneurs

What deadline?

Wikimedia Commons | Michael Hughes

“I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.”

-- Douglas Adams, author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Leaders and employees can all relate to that crushing, anxiety-inducing thing called a deadline. Reality is, though, a great leader can’t be too cavalier about deadlines. That kind of attitude will kill your business quick. No joke.

Related: Steve Jobs' 13 Most Inspiring Quotes

Mask your panic.

Lao Tzu | Facebook

“Leadership has been defined as the ability to hide your panic from others.”

-- Lao Tzu, 6th-century Chinese philosopher

Be cool. Like the Fonz. Or Lao Tzu. Either is fine.

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