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.
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.
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.
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.
Divide and conquer-ish.caseystengel.org
"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.
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.
Lead yourself away from all the meetings.tsowell.com
“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.
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.