Inspiring Management Quotes for Running a Better Business
Entrepreneurs know that starting a business and running daily operations can be both challenging and rewarding. This is especially true in today’s COVID-19 environment, in which businesses have to deal with many uncertainties. Management quotes from leaders, business owners, and popular personalities may provide teaching moments for motivating your employees, managing your business growth, and overcoming challenges.
Here are 45 management quotes in seven categories—each with key takeaways—to help inspire you as you run your business in 2022.
Quotes for Developing Employees
- “Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to.” — Richard Branson, business magnate and founder of Virgin Group
- “Hire people who are better than you are, then leave them to get on with it. Look for people who will aim for the remarkable, who will not settle for the routine.” — David Ogilvy, founder of Ogilvy & Mather
- “Before you become a leader, success is all about growing yourself. After you become a leader, success is about growing others.” — Jack Welch, former chairman and CEO of General Electric
- “The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don’t play together, the club won’t be worth a dime.” — Babe Ruth, professional baseball player
- “If you pick the right people and give them the opportunity to spread their wings and put compensation as a carrier behind it, you almost don’t have to manage them.” — Jack Welch, former chairman and CEO of General Electric
- “Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person—not just an employee—are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled. Satisfied employees mean satisfied customers, which leads to profitability.” — Anne Mulcahy, former chairperson and CEO of Xerox Corporation
- An integral part of employee management is building a work environment where your staff can develop their skills and grow professionally. It helps improve business performance and boosts employee loyalty and engagement. A Workplace Intelligence and Amazon survey conducted in August 2022 shows that 83% of US workers have identified upskilling as one of their top priorities this 2023. In fact, more than half of the survey respondents are worried that their skills have gone stale since the pandemic happened.
- The basics of running a business and managing employees include treating your workers fairly and paying them well. To ensure that you’re paying above-market rates, use salary comparison tools to weigh your company’s compensation package against competitors.
- When hiring employees, look for candidates with the expertise and skills you need. However, don’t forget to assess their work ethic and whether their personalities are a good fit for your company’s mission, vision, and culture.
Quotes on Motivating Employees
- “In order to build a rewarding employee experience, you need to understand what matters most to your people.” — Julie Bevacqua, president of Rise People Inc.
- “Appreciate everything your associates do for the business. Nothing else can quite substitute for a few well-chosen, well-timed, sincere words of praise. They’re absolutely free and worth a fortune.” — Sam Walton, businessman and founder of Walmart and Sam’s Club
- “One machine can do the work of 50 ordinary men. No machine can do the work of one extraordinary man.” — Elbert Hubbard, businessman, writer, publisher, and philosopher
- “Make your team feel respected, empowered, and genuinely excited about the company’s mission.” — Tim Westergren, entrepreneur and co-founder of Pandora
- “People will forget what you said. They will forget what you did. But they will never forget how you made them feel.” — Maya Angelou, writer, poet, and civil rights activist
- Understand what your employees need if you want to keep them happy and productive at work. We recommend running employee surveys and holding open dialogues with your staff to make your workers feel heard and valued and keep them motivated at work. Setting SMART work goals to paint a clear picture of what needs to be accomplished and providing constructive feedback during performance management reviews also help.
- One way that leaders and people managers can motivate their staff is through employee recognition. You can do this by rewarding their positive contributions at work—either through awards, special bonuses, or a simple pat on the back.
- Building good teamwork among your employees is essential when running a business, and it’s also important to recognize the diverse skills that each team member brings to the group. This will help boost staff morale and motivate employees to do quality work.
- Create work-life balance and employee engagement programs that target workers of different ages and position levels. However, you may want to consider focusing staff engagement plans on female employees and workers ages 40 and below. Gallup’s Global Workplace 2022 report shows that 50% of survey respondents in the US and Canada reported feeling a lot of stress the previous day, with female employees and those under 40 as the most stressed workers in the region.
Quotes on Being an Effective Leader
- “In the past, a leader was a boss. Today’s leaders must be partners with their people … they no longer can lead solely based on positional power.” — Ken Blanchard, motivational speaker and author of “The One Minute Manager”
- “Always treat your employees exactly as you want them to treat your customers.” — Stephen R. Covey, businessman and author of “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”
- “Increasingly, management’s role is not to organize work, but to direct passion and purpose.” — Greg Satell, entrepreneur, transformation and change expert, and author of “Mapping Innovation”
- “In most cases, being a good boss means hiring talented people and then getting out of their way.” — Tina Fey, actress, comedian, playwright, and producer
- “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” — John Quincy Adams, former US president
- “To handle yourself, use your head; to handle others, use your heart.” — Eleanor Roosevelt, former US first lady
- “Management is about persuading people to do things they do not want to do, while leadership is about inspiring people to do things they never thought they could.” — Steve Jobs, co-founder and former CEO and chairman of Apple
- A leader’s responsibilities extend beyond ensuring that operations run smoothly and business goals are met. Effective leaders also spend as much of their time and effort in mentoring others and building a high-performing and engaging company culture so employees feel valued and inspired to do their best at work.
- Always set a good example for your employees. Not only with work but also in following company policies and employee handbook regulations. If employees see their leaders not following the rules, they may start to wonder why they should. To avoid this, lead by example and show positive behaviors and actions that you want your staff to exhibit and develop.
- Trust in the skills of your top employees and empower them to make business decisions. Don’t micromanage your staff—you’ll only end up wasting your energy managing every little thing your employees do instead of focusing on getting stuff done and growing your business.
- Becoming a good leader doesn’t just require business smarts to manage a company. You also need people management skills and the emotional intelligence to listen to the needs of others (like your employees), empathize with them, and act accordingly based on what you hear.
Quotes for Managing Business Success & Overcoming Failures
- “To be successful, you have to have your heart in your business, and your business in your heart.” — Thomas Watson Sr., former chairman and CEO of International Business Machines
- Success is often achieved by those who don’t know that failure is inevitable.” — Coco Chanel, fashion designer, businesswoman, and founder of Chanel
- “The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into smaller manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.” — Mark Twain, writer, humorist, and entrepreneur
- “We think, mistakenly, that success is the result of the amount of time we put in at work, instead of the quality of time we put in.” — Arianna Huffington, businesswoman, co-founder of HuffPost, and CEO of Thrive Global
- “Success is not final; failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.” — Winston Churchill, former UK prime minister
- “The real test is not whether you avoid this failure because you won’t. It’s whether you let it harden or shame you into inaction, or whether you learn from it; whether you choose to persevere.” — Barack Obama, lawyer and former US President
- “Forget past mistakes. Forget failures. Forget everything except what you’re going to do now and do it.” — William Durant, American industrialist and founder of General Motors Co.
- “Remember to celebrate milestones as you prepare for the road ahead.” — Nelson Mandela, former South African president and activist
- With the many uncertainties in today’s competitive market, there’s no guarantee that your business will always be successful. There are times that you may fail—and that’s okay. What’s important is you learn from the mistakes and continue moving forward. With persistence, hard work, and a strong drive to succeed, you can become a successful business owner, too.
- To become a successful business owner means working hard to achieve your goals. Whether you’re starting a new business or managing an existing one, you need to spend a lot of your time, effort, and resources to achieve favorable results.
- Don’t dwell too much on past mistakes or be enchanted by the positive outcomes that you hope to achieve in the future. Focus on today—do your best to make things better now.
- Embrace both successes and failures. Running a business takes a lot of effort, and you will encounter many challenges. So, celebrate your small and big wins, but don’t forget to plan and prepare for hurdles that will come your way.
Quotes on Taking Business Risks
- “Play by the rules, but be ferocious.” — Phil Knight, businessman and co-founder of Nike
- “Almost everything worthwhile carries with it some sort of risk, whether it’s starting a new business, whether it’s leaving home, whether it’s getting married, or whether it’s flying into space.” — Chris Hadfield, former astronaut, engineer, and fighter pilot
- “Risk more than others think is safe. Dream more than others think is practical.” — Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks
- “You shouldn’t focus on why you can’t do something, which is what most people do. You should focus on why perhaps you can, and be one of the exceptions.” — Steve Case, co-founder and CEO of AOL
- “Rarely are opportunities presented to you in a perfect way. In a nice little box with a yellow bow on top. ‘Here, open it, it’s perfect. You’ll love it.’ Opportunities—the good ones—are messy, confusing, and hard to recognize. They’re risky. They challenge you.” — Susan Wojcicki, CEO of YouTube
- “The biggest risk is not taking any risk.” — Mark Zuckerberg, chairman, CEO, and co-founder of Facebook
- Regulations and rules are there to ensure there’s fair competition between companies. However, don’t let it hamper your drive to succeed and prevent you from going after an idea or innovating your business.
- In business and life, nothing is without risk. While it can be scary having to deal with all the challenges that come with taking risks, don’t be afraid to take that first step. Ensure that you look at the pros and cons and weigh your options.
Ready to take a risk but unsure what type of business to start? Read our guide on how to select a business to help you find the ideal one for you.
Quotes for Innovating Your Business & Inspiring Creativity
- “The only way you survive is you continuously transform into something else. It’s this idea of continuous transformation that makes you an innovation company.” — Ginni Rometty, former CEO of IBM
- “There’s no shortage of remarkable ideas, what’s missing is the will to execute them.” — Seth Godin, businessman and author of “This is Marketing”
- “The critical ingredient is getting off your butt and doing something. It’s as simple as that. A lot of people have ideas, but there are few who decide to do something about them now. Not tomorrow. Not next week. But today. The true entrepreneur is a doer, not a dreamer.” — Nolan Bushnell, businessman and co-founder of Atari, Inc.
- “You can’t ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them. By the time you get it built, they’ll want something new.” — Steve Jobs, co-founder and former CEO and chairman of Apple
- “When you find an idea that you just can’t stop thinking about, that’s probably a good one to pursue.” — Josh James, co-founder and former CEO of Omniture
- “You don’t need to have a 100 person company to develop that idea.” — Larry Page, co-founder of Google
- “Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations.” — Steve Jobs, co-founder and former CEO and chairman of Apple
- “There is no doubt that creativity is the most important human resource of all. Without creativity, there would be no progress, and we would be forever repeating the same patterns.” — Edward de Bono, Author, doctor, and inventor of the term ‘lateral thinking’
- While you can come up with ideas on improving a product or business process, the real challenge is implementing these ideas and resolving the problems that may arise from them. And when you see that things aren’t working out, be brave enough to admit it, let go, and think of new solutions. You can even do a SWOT analysis of your business ideas.
- Getting insights from your customers is a critical part of running a business as it provides you the opportunity to create a better product and improve your service. However, don’t let their feedback dictate all of your future business innovations and plans.
- Investing in research and product development can help with innovation—and you don’t even need to form a large team. Compared to large groups, small teams offer better collaboration between members and allow team managers to easily track tasks and monitor work progress. Small teams also feel more motivated about their roles, according to Indeed, helping them to focus better on work and complete tasks at a faster rate.
Quotes on Managing New Business Technologies
- “Spend time upfront to invest in systems and processes to make long-term growth sustainable.” — Jeff Platt, CEO of Sky Zone
- “Companies that invest more in digital transformation actually outperform their peers over time. These companies are more prepared for disruption, better able to monetize new digital channels, and better able to build a bigger user base. What’s more, this phenomenon exists regardless of industry.” — Geoff Cubitt, CEO of Isobar US
- “Every industry and every organization will have to transform itself in the next few years. What is coming at us is bigger than the original internet and you need to understand it, get on board with it, and figure out how to transform your business.” — Tim O’Reilly, founder and CEO of O’Reilly Media
- “The advance of technology is based on making it fit in so that you don’t really even notice it, so it’s part of everyday life.” — Bill Gates, Co-founder of Microsoft
- “You can’t delegate digital transformation for your company… You and your executives have to own it! Executives need to engage, embrace, and adopt new ways of working with the latest and emerging technologies.” — Barry Ross, CEO, and Co-Founder, Ross & Ross International
- In today’s digital age, many companies have turned to various software for managing their business and employee information. Consider investing in systems to automate essential processes even if you’re a small business owner. You can start with an accounting solution for recording and tracking expenses, payroll software for automatically calculating employee salaries and deductions, and a point-of-sale (POS) system for managing orders and processing payments.
Running a business can have highs and lows, and reading inspirational manager quotes can refuel your drive to develop high-performing teams, motivate employees, and build a successful company. We hope that these 40 management quotes help you overcome the challenges that may come your way and inspire you to keep moving forward to achieve your business goals.