Here are some of my favorite leadership quotes – this is pretty much a reference post. Maybe not directly applicable to your day to day tasks, but definitely inspiring. I have used some of these as headers in counseling documents, or on introductory slides in presentations. I also pick a few choice quotes to include in my weekly review.

Many of these come from DA Pamphlet 600-65, published by the U.S. Army and available in PDF format on the U.S. Army web site. For convenience, I have posted a copy of DA Pam 600-65 here. I would encourage you to print this thing out a page through it.

“I do not fear failure. I only fear the slowing up of the engine inside of me which is pounding, saying, ‘Keep going, someone must be on top, why not you?’”

––GEN George Patton (from Quoteopia)

“If you are going to win any battle, you have to do one thing. You have to make the mind run the body. Never let the body tell the mind what to do.”

––GEN George Patton (from QuoteDB)

“The greatest leader in the world could never win a campaign unless he understood the men he had to lead.”

––GEN Omar Bradley (from DA Pamphlet 600-65)


“Our troops are capable of the best discipline. If they lack it, leadership is faulty.”

––GEN Dwight Eisenhower (Quoting GEN McNair in 1941, from DA Pamphlet 600-65)

“The badge of rank which an officer wears on his coat is really a symbol of servitude to his men.”

––GEN George Patton (Military Review, July 1980)

“Perhaps the most valuable result of all education is the ability to make yourself do the thing you have to do, when it ought to be done, whether you like it or not. This is the first lesson to be learned.”

––Thomas Huxley (from DA Pamphlet 600-65)

“I would lay down my life for America, but I cannot trifle with my honor.”

––John Paul Jones (Dictionary of Military and Naval Quotations by Robert D. Heinl, Jr., 1978)

“Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.”

––GEN George Patton (Military Review, July 1980)

John Brown’s Body:

“If you take a flat map
And move wooden blocks upon it strategically,
The thing looks well, the blocks behave as they should.
The science of war is moving live men like blocks.
And getting the blocks into place at a fixed moment.
But it takes time to mold your men into blocks
And flat maps turn into country where, creeks and gullies
Hamper your wooden squares. They stick in the brush,
They are tired and rest, they straggle after ripe blackberries
And you cannot lift them up in your hand and move them….
It is all so clear in the maps, so clear in the mind,
But the orders are slow, the men in the blocks are slow
To move, when they start they take too long on the way
The General loses his stars and the block–men die
In unstrategic defiance of martial law
Because still used to just being men, not block parts.”

––Stephen Vincent Benet (from DA Pamphlet 600-65)

“A pint of sweat will save a gallon of blood.”

––GEN George Patton (Dictionary of Military and Naval Quotations by Robert D. Heinl, Jr., 1978)