Josephson Institute  >  Quotations Bank

Quotations: Ethics

Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.
Peter Drucker, economist, management guru, author (1909-2005)

Donít tell people how to do things; tell them what to do and let them surprise you with the results.
George S. Patton, Army general (1885-1945)

Inventories can be managed, but people must be led.
H. Ross Perot, businessman

What you cannot enforce, do not command.
Sophocles, Greek playwright (c. 496 BC-406 BC)

A good leader inspires others with confidence; a great leader inspires them with confidence in themselves.

A good leader canít get too far ahead of his followers.
Franklin D. Roosevelt, 32nd president (1882-1945)

Leadership is getting someone to do what they donít want to do but to achieve what they want to achieve.
Tom Landry, pro football coach (1924-2000)

I am more afraid of an army of 100 sheep led by a lion than an army of 100 lions led by a sheep.
Talleyrand, French diplomat (1754-1838)

Great necessities call forth great leaders.
Abigail Adams, First Lady (1744-1818)

The function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers.
Ralph Nader, activist lawyer, consumer advocate

Leadership has a harder job to do than just choose sides. It must bring sides together.
Jesse Jackson, civil-rights activist, minister

Itís hard to lead a cavalry charge if you think you look funny on a horse.
Adlai Stevenson, politician, statesman (1900-1965)

The only safe ship in a storm is leadership.
Faye Wattleton, nurse, administrator, author

If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the shoulders of giants.
Isaac Newton, physicist, mathematician, astronomer, inventor (1643-1727)

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.
John Quincy Adams, 6th president (1767-1848)

The price of greatness is responsibility.
Winston Churchill, British prime minister (1874-1965)

A competent leader can get efficient service from poor troops; an incapable leader can demoralize the best of troops.
John J. Pershing, Army general (1860-1948)

In matters of style, swim with the current. In matters of principle, stand like a rock.
Thomas Jefferson, 3rd president (1743-1826)

To lead people, walk beside them.
Lao-tsu, Chinese philosopher (c. 4th-6th century BC)

The task of leadership is not to put greatness into people but to elicit it, for the greatness is there already.
John Buchan, Scottish politician, author (1875-1940)

Men make history, not the other way around.
Harry Truman, 33rd president (1884-1972)

Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.
Ralph Waldo Emerson, author, poet, philosopher (1803-1882)

A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they donít want to go but ought to be.
Rosalynn Carter, First Lady

Management works in the system; leadership works on the system.
Stephen R. Covey, management consultant, author

Leadership is a combination of strategy and character. If you must be without one, be without the strategy.
H. Norman Schwarzkopf, Army general

A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way.
John C. Maxwell, motivational teacher, author

I am looking for a lot of men who have an infinite capacity to not know what canít be done.
Henry Ford, industrialst (1863-1947)

The time is always right to do what is right.
Martin Luther King, Jr., civil-rights leader, minister (1929-1968)

Of all the properties which belong to honorable men, not one is so highly prized as that of character.
Henry Clay, statesman, orator, politician (1777-1852)

One man with courage makes a majority.
Andrew Jackson, 7th president (1767-1845)

The pessimist sees danger in every opportunity; the optimist sees opportunity in every danger.
Winston Churchill, British prime minister (1874-1965)

Lead me, follow me or get out of the way.
George S. Patton, Army general (1885-1945)

Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.
T. S. Eliot, poet, dramatist, critic (1888-1965)

The highest proof of virtue is to possess boundless power without abusing it.
Lord Thomas Macaulay, British poet, historian, politician (1800-1859)

Nothing can withstand the power of the human will if it is willing to stake its very existence to the extent of its purpose.
Benjamin Disraeli, British statesman, author (1804-1881)

Leaders don't create followers; they create more leaders.
Tom Peters, business-management writer

One measure of leadership is the caliber of people who choose to follow you.
Dennis A. Peer

Leadership is action, not position.
Leadership is action, not position.

When trouble arises and things look bad, there is always one individual who perceives a solution and is willing to take command. Very often, that person is crazy.
Dave Barry, humor writer

Nothing so conclusively proves a man's ability to lead others as what he does from day to day to lead himself.
Thomas J. Watson, founder of IBM (1874-1956)

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, pastor, author, leadership expert

Authority without wisdom is like a heavy ax without an edge -- fitter to bruise than polish.
Anne Bradstreet, writer, poet (1612-1672)

If two or three persons should come with a high spiritual aim and with great powers, the world would fall into their hands like a ripe peach.
Ralph Waldo Emerson, author, poet, philosopher (1803-1882)

A leader leads by example, whether he intends to or not.

I don't want you to follow me or anyone else. If you are looking for a Moses to lead you out of the capitalist wilderness, you will stay right where you are. I would not lead you into this promised land if I could because if I could lead you in, someone else could lead you out.
Eugene V. Debs, labor and political leader (1855-1926)

There go my people. I must find out where they are going so I can lead them.
Alexandre Auguste Ledru-Rollin, French politician (1807-1874)

Every leader needs to look back once in a while to make sure he has followers.

The real leader has no need to lead; he is content to point the way.
Henry Miller, writer (1891-1980)

Leadership: The art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.
Dwight D. Eisenhower, 34th President (1890-1969)

Remember the difference between a boss and a leader. A boss says, Go! A leader says, Let's go!
E.M. Kelly

The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it.
Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President (1858-1919)

Leadership at one time meant muscle. Today it means getting along with people.
Indira Gandhi, prime minister of India (1917-1984)

You don't have to hold a position in order to be a leader.
Anthony J. D'Angelo

Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing.
Albert Schweitzer, German physician, musician, theologian, philosopher (1875-11965)

You can't lead anyone else further than you have gone yourself.
Gene Mauch, Major League player and manager (1925-2005)

A chief is a man who assumes responsibility. He says, I was beaten. He does not say, My men were beaten.
Antoine de Saint-Exupery, French writer, aviator (1900-1944 )

Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.
Albert Einstein, theoretical physicist (1879-1955)

Success without honor is an unseasoned dish; it will satisfy your hunger, but it won't taste good.
Joe Paterno, college football coach

A man who wants to lead the orchestra must turn his back on the crowd.
Max Lucado, Christian author and minister

You cannot choose your battlefield, God does that for you. But you can plant a standard where a standard never flew.
Nathalia Crane

A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.
Proverbs 22:1

To see what is right and not to do it is cowardice.
Confucius, Chinese philosopher (551 BC-479 BC)

If ethics are poor at the top, that behavior is copied down through the organization.
Robert Noyce, inventor

Every right implies a responsibility, every opportunity an obligation, every possession a duty.
John D. Rockefeller, Jr., entrepreneur (1839-1937)

Never let your sense of morals prevent you from doing what is right.
Isaac Asimov, author and biochemist (1920-1992)

Corporation, n.: An ingenious device for obtaining profit without individual responsibility.
Ambrose Bierce, columnist (1842-1914)

Relativity applies to physics, not ethics.
Albert Einstein, theoretical physicist (1879-1955)

We may pretend we are basically moral people who make mistakes, but the whole of history proves otherwise.
Terry Hands, British theatre, opera director

There is always an easy solution to every human problem -- neat, plausible, and wrong.
H. L. Mencken, American journalist and humorist (1880-1956) (From "The Divine Afflatus," originally published in 1917.)

Capitalism is the astounding belief that the most wickedest of men will do the most wickedest of things for the greatest good of everyone.
John Maynard Keynes, British economist (1883-1946)

Personal leadership is the process of keeping your vision and values before you and aligning your life to be congruent with them.
Stephen R. Covey, management consultant, author

The major reason for setting a goal is for what it makes of you to accomplish it. What it makes of you will always be the far greater value than what you get.
Jim Rohn, author, business coach, motivational speaker

It's not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are.
Roy Disney, producer

One never notices what has been done; one can only see what remains to be done.
Marie Curie, Polish chemist, radiologist (1867-1934)

No executive has ever suffered because his subordinates were strong and effective.
Peter Drucker, economist, management guru, author (1909-2005)

It is the nature of man to rise to greatness if greatness is expected of him.
John Steinbeck, writer (1902-1968)

One machine can do the work of 50 ordinary men. No machine can do the work of one extraordinary man.
Elbert Hubbard, philosopher, writer (1856-1915)

No good decision was ever made in a swivel chair.
George S. Patton, Army general (1885-1945)

When small men begin to cast long shadows, it is a sure sign the sun is setting.

Failure seems to be regarded as the one unpardonable crime, success as the all-redeeming virtue, the acquisition of wealth as the single worthy aim of life. The hair-raising revelations of skullduggery and grand-scale thievery merely incite others to surpass by yet bolder outrages and more corrupt combinations.
Charles Francis Adams

A business that makes nothing but money is a poor kind of business.
Henry Ford, industrialist (1863-1947)

There is no such thing as business ethics. There is only one kind -- you have to adhere to the highest standards.
Marvin Bower, former managing partner of McKinsey & Company

The higher the buildings, the lower the morals.
Noel Coward, British actor, dramatist, songwriter (1899-1973)

There is one and only one responsibility of business: to use its resources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits so long as it stays within the rules of the game.
Milton Friedman, economist

Earnings can be pliable as putty when a charlatan heads the company reporting them.
Warren Buffett, investment entrepreneur

America's highest economic need is higher ethical standards -- enforced by strict laws and upheld by responsible business leaders.
George W. Bush, 43rd President

Executives will have to invest more and more on issues such as culture, values, ethos and intangibles. Instead of managers, they need to be cultivators and storytellers to capture minds.
Leif Edvinsson, pioneer on intellectual capital

Ethics and religion must not stay at home when we go to work.
Achille Silvestrini, Cardinal of the Roman Curia

The winner of any corporate competition is the company whose moral purpose best fits the prevailing environment and assets.
Nikos Mourkogiannis, management consultant

Shelving hard decisions is the least ethical course.
Adrian Cadbury, British business executive (b. 1929)

Life is the sum of your choices.
Albert Camus, French existentialist novelist (1913-1960)

Freedom is not procured by a full enjoyment of what is desired, but by controlling that desire.
Epictetus, Greek Stoic philosopher (c. 55-c. 135 A.D.)

To exercise good character daily is to be morally fit for life.
Karen Hartz, CC! coordinator, CHARACTER COUNTS! in Caroline County

Character is that which reveals moral purpose, exposing the class of things a man chooses and avoids.
Aristotle, Greek philosopher (384-322 B.C.)

If a man has any greatness in him, it comes to light, not in one flamboyant hour, but in the ledger of his daily work.
Beryl Markham, English adventurer and author (1902-1986)

A nation, as a society, forms a moral person, and every member of it is personally responsible for his society.
Thomas Jefferson, Founding Father and third U.S. president (1743-1826), in a letter to George Hammond, 1792

It is strangely absurd to suppose that a million of human beings, collected together, are not under the same moral laws which bind each of them separately.
Thomas Jefferson, Founding Father and third U.S. president (1743-1826), in a letter to George Logan, 1816

Like the body that is made up of different limbs and organs, all moral creatures must depend on each other to exist.
Hindu proverb

It isnít the absence of conscience or values that prevents us from being all we should be, it is simply the lack of moral courage.
Michael Josephson, American ethicist

To educate a person in mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to society.
Theodore Roosevelt, American adventurer and president (1858-1919)

The best way to teach morality is to make it a habit with children.
Aristotle, Greek philosopher (384-322 B.C.)

Art, like morality, consists of drawing the line somewhere.
G.K. Chesterton, English essayist and poet (1874-1936)

That which is beautiful is moral. That is all, nothing more.
Gustave Flaubert, French novelist (1821-1880)

Morality is the best of all devices for leading mankind by the nose.
Friedrich Nietzsche, German philosopher (1844-1900)

Morality is simply the attitude we adopt toward people whom we personally dislike.
Oscar Wilde, Anglo-Irish wit and author (1854-1900)

The first step in the evolution of ethics is a sense of solidarity with other human beings.
Albert Schweitzer, German Nobel Peace Prize-winning mission doctor and theologian (1875-1965)

In law a man is guilty when he violates the rights of others. In ethics he is guilty if he only thinks of doing so.
Immanuel Kant, Prussian geographer and philosopher (1724-1804)

The foundation of morality is to have done, once and for all, with lying.
Thomas Henry Huxley, English evolutionist (1825-1895)

Morality is stronger than tyrants.
Louis-Antoine-Leon de Saint-Just, French revolutionary (1767-1794)

Morality, when formal, devours.
Albert Camus, French existentialist novelist (1913-1960)

A moral being is one who is capable of comparing his past and future actions or motives, and of approving or disapproving of them.
Charles Darwin, English biologist (1809-1882)

Morality begins at the point of a gun.
Mao Zedong, Chinese revolutionary and national leader (1893-1976)

Without civic morality communities perish; without personal morality their survival has no value.
Bertrand Russell, British mathematician and philosopher (1872-1970)

The essence of morality is the subjugation of nature in obedience of social needs.
John Morley, British statesman and writer (1838-1923)

Ethics is a code of values which guide our choices and actions and determine the purpose and course of our lives.
Ayn Rand, Russian-American novelist and philosopher (1905-1982)

There's a hole in the moral ozone and it's getting bigger.
Michael Josephson, American ethicist

Grub first, then ethics.
Bertolt Brecht, German dramatist (1898-1956)

Regardless of the moral issue, dishonesty in advertising has proved very unprofitable.
Leo Burnett, American advertising pioneer (1891-1971)

The hottest places in Hell are reserved for those who remain neutral in time of great moral crisis.
Dante Alighieri, Italian poet (1265-1321), from the Divine Comedy

Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster.
Friedrich Nietzsche, German philosopher (1844-1900)

No man who continues to add something to the material, intellectual and moral well-being of the place in which he lives is left long without proper reward.
Booker T. Washington, American educator (1856-1915)

Watch your thoughts, for they become words. Watch your words, for they become actions. Watch your actions, for they become habits. Watch your habits, for they become character. Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.

[Because power corrupts] Societyís demands for moral authority and character increase as the importance of the position increases.
John Adams, American Founding Father and second U.S. president (1735-1826)

Few men have virtue to withstand the highest bidder.
George Washington, American Founding Father and war hero, first U.S. president (1732-1799)

The people have a right, an indisputable, unalienable, indefeasible, divine right to that most dreaded and envied kind of knowledge Ė I mean of the character and conduct of their rulers.
John Adams, American Founding Father and second U.S. president (1735-1826)

Political interest [can] never be separated in the long run from moral right.
Thomas Jefferson, American Founding Father and U.S. president (1743-1826), letter to James Monroe, 1806

I don't like people who are in politics for themselves and not for others. You want that, you can go into show business.
Elvis Presley, American rock 'n' roll icon (1935-1977)

Don't forget until too late that the business of life is not business but living.
B.C. Forbes, early 20th-century American publisher, founder of Forbes magazine

Goodness is the only investment that never fails.
Henry David Thoreau, American writer, philosopher and naturalist (1817-1862)

Too many people miss the silver lining because they're expecting gold.
Maurice Setter

Without commonly shared and widely entrenched moral values and obligations, neither the law nor democratic government will function properly.
Vaclav Havel, President, Czech Republic

Values are like fingerprints. Nobody's are the same, but you leave 'em all over everything you do.
Elvis Presley, American rock 'n' roll icon (1935-1977)

Two things fill my mind with ever-increasing wonder and awe: the starry heavens above me and the moral law within me.
Immanuel Kant, Prussian geographer and philosopher (1724-1804)

Do not be too moral. You may cheat yourself out of much life.
Henry David Thoreau, American writer, philosopher and naturalist (1817-1862)

Moral indignation is in most cases two percent moral, forty-eight percent indignation, and fifty percent envy.
Vittorio De Sica, Italian filmmaker (1902-1974)

Every journalist who is not too stupid or too full of himself to notice what is going on knows that what he does is morally indefensible. He is a kind of confidence man, preying on people's vanity, ignorance or loneliness, gaining their trust and betraying them without remorse.
Janet Malcolm, American journalist and author (b. 1934), in The Journalist and the Murderer

A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds.
Francis Bacon, English philosopher of science and essayist (1561-1626)

The Way of the Sage is to act but not to compete.
Lao-Tzu, Chinese philosopher (fl. 6th century B.C., possibly apocryphal), in the Tao Te Ching

There can be no high civility without a deep morality.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), American essayist and poet

Compassion is the basis of morality.
Arthur Schopenhauer, German philosopher (1788-1860)

Lying and stealing are next-door neighbors.
Arab proverb

I would have been better pleased if you had never made such promises than that you should have made them and not performed them.
Chief Shingwaukonse (ďLittle PineĒ), Native American leader of the Ojibway community (1790-1854)

Laws control the lesser person. Right conduct controls the greater one.
Chinese proverb

A slave shows his true character, not while he is enslaved, but when he becomes a master.
Jewish proverb

All that we are is the result of what we have thought. If people speak or act with evil thoughts, pain follows them. If people speak or act with pure thoughts, happiness follows them, like a shadow that never leaves them.
Siddhartha Gautama, spiritual teacher and founder of Buddhism (c. 563 Ė 483 BCE)