Top 50 Management Quotes
No 1 (Best quote!)
The simple part is knowing what to do. The part that is not easy is getting others to do it,
- Peter Drucker, pictured right, (1909-2005), American
So Drucker says in On The Profession Of Management (2003 edition):
Management is about human beings. Its task is to make people capable of joint performance, to make their
strengths effective and their weaknesses irrelevant.
Therefore, Lee Iacocca, pictured right, the American boss of Chrysler 1978-92, says:
Management is nothing more than motivating other people.
To manage is to forecast and plan, to organize, to command, to co-ordinate and to control,
- Henri Fayol, pictured right, General and Industrial
Trust men and they will be true to you; treat them greatly, and they will show themselves great,
- Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)
American writer and philosopher, pictured right.
Confucius (551-479 BC),, pictured right, the
Chinese philosopher, also says:
Be sincere and men will trust you.
But Voltaire (1694-1778), pictured
right, the French writer and philosopher, warns:
It is a vice to trust all and equally a vice to trust none.
The job of management is not supervision, but leadership.
- W. Edwards Deming, pictured right,
Out of the Crisis (1982)
Jim Collins, pictured right, in Good to Great (2001) agrees:
The best people don’t need to be managed. Guided, taught, led - yes. But not tightly managed.
The ultimate test of management is performance.
- Peter Drucker, pictured right, in Management: Tasks, Responsibilities,
There is the same quote referring to “business performance” in Drucker’s The Practice of Management, 1954.
It is not fair to ask of others what you are not willing to do yourself.
- Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962),
American human rights campaigner, pictured right.
Sophocles (496-406 BC), the Greek playwright, pictured right, also comments:
What you cannot enforce, do not command.
Management is a practice that has to blend a good deal of craft (experience) with a certain amount of art
(insight) and some science (analysis).
- Henry Mintzberg, pictured right, in Managers, Not MBA’s
So Mintzberg said in his 1987 Harvard Business Review article, Crafting Strategy:
Managers are craftsmen and strategy is their clay
The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.
- William James (1842–1910)
American philosopher, pictured right.
I think that business practices would improve immeasurably if they were guided by ‘feminine’
principles—qualities like love and care and intuition.
- Anita Roddick (1942–2007),
founder of the British cosmetics retailer, The Body Shop, pictured right.
Managers are the people who do things right and leaders are people who do the right thing.
- Warren Bennis, pictured right above, and Burt
Nanus, pictured right, in Leaders (1985).
(pictured right) in The
Seven Habits of Highly Effective People (1989) says something similar:
Management is efficiency in climbing the ladder of success; leadership determines if the ladder is leaning
against the right wall.
The best minute I spend is the one I invest in people.
- Kenneth Blanchard, pictured right above, and
Spencer Johnson, pictured right, The One Minute Manager
People do not like to be ordered even to take a holiday.
- Mary Parker Follett, pictured right ,
It’s great therapy for the troops to see their manager as a human being,
- Ken Matejka, pictured right, in Why This Horse Won’t Drink
If the needs and motives of his subordinates are different, they must be treated differently
- Edgar Schein, pictured right, in Organizational Psychology
Marcus Buckingham, pictured right in his book, The One
Thing You Need To Know (2005) agrees:
The great manager bets that he will prevail by magnifying, emphasizing and capitalizing on each employee’s
The principal object of management should be to secure the maximum prosperity for the employer, coupled with the
maximum prosperity of each employee.
- Frederick Winslow (F. W.) Taylor, pictured right, in The
Principles of Scientific Management (1911)
The best managers think of themselves as playing coaches.
Robert (Bob) Townsend, pictured right, Up the Organization
The test of a first rate intelligence is to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time and still retain
the ability to function.
(from the 1945 collection of essays The Crack-Up)
- Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940), pictured right, American writer.
Speed, simplicity and self-confidence.
(three attributes of good managers)
- Jack Welch, pictured right,
American boss of General Electric 1981-2001, pictured right
The people to fear are not those who disagree with you, but those who disagree with you and are too cowardly to
let you know.
- Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821),ruler of
France, pictured right.
Measure what is measurable, and make measurable what is not so.
-Galileo (1564-1642), Italian scientist,
Respect...implies the absence of exploitation.
- Erich Fromm (1900-80), German-born
American psychiatrist and philosopher, pictured right
Fromm also comments:
To respect a person is not possible without knowing him.
The most ineffective workers are systematically moved to the place where they can do least damage –
(the Dilbert Principle),
- Scott Adams, pictured right, The Dilbert Principle (1996)
Adams also says in the same book:
Happiness is realizing that we’re all idiots, struggling to work out the idiotic things managers tell us to
Make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest,
- Dale Carnegie, pictured right , How to Win Friends and Influence
The primary function of management is decision making.
- Akio Morita (1921-1999), co-founder of Sony
Morita also says:
A company will get nowhere if all of the thinking is left to management,
The one who adapts his policy to the times prospers,
- Niccolo Machiavelli (1469-1527) Italian
philosopher, pictured right.
The output of a manager is the output of the organizational units under his or her supervision or influence.
Andy Grove (1936- ), pictured right , American boss
America's organizations have been overmanaged and underled.
- Warren Bennis (1925- ), pictured right, American professor
and management writer.
Officers are trained to lead soldiers in battle, but unless they fully understand all their problems and gain
their confidence, the battle will be lost.
- Bernard Montgomery (1887-1976), pictured
right, British World War Two general.
Do not hit at all, if it can be avoided, but never hit softly,
- Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919), pictured
right, American president.
The most important thing about a commander is his effect on morale,
- William Slim (1891-1970), pictured
right, British World War Two general.
The secret of success lies not in doing your own work but in recognizing the right man to do it.
- Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919), pictured right,
Don’t find fault, find a remedy.
- Henry Ford (1863-1947), American car maker, pictured
When you know something’s wrong, nine times out of ten it’s the management – in truth because people aren’t
being led right.
- John Harvey-Jones (1924-2008), boss of ICI
1982-7, the British chemicals company, pictured right
Manage in good times so that you’re ready for bad times.
- Herb Kelleher (1931-),American boss of Southwest
Airlines 1982-2001, pictured right
Simplicity is the knife that cuts through the tangled spaghetti of life's problems.
- Terry Leahy (1956-), chief executive of
Tesco, 1997-2011, pictured
Give a man a clear-cut job and let him do it.
- Alfred Sloan (1875-1966), American boss of General
Motors 1923-46, pictured right.
High expectations are the key to everything.
- Sam Walton (1918-1992), American
founder Wal-Mart, the world’s biggest retailer
If you can’t measure it, you can’t control it.
- Meg Whitman (1957-), chief executive of
Hewlett-Packard since 2011, pictured right
The inferior man seeks to put the blame on other persons, the superior man seeks the error within himself.
- Lao Tzu (c604-c531 BC), Chinese
philosopher, pictured right
You must not abandon the ship in a storm because you cannot control the winds….What you cannot turn to good, you
must at least make as little bad as you can.
- Thomas More (1477-1535), English
philosopher and politician, pictured right
You cannot hold a man down without staying down with him.
- Booker T. Washington
(1856-1915), African American leader, pictured right
Surround yourself with only people who are going to lift you higher.
- Oprah Winfrey (1954-), African American
chat show host, pictured right
All organization is and must be grounded on the idea of exclusion and prohibition.
(from the 1953 play The
- Arthur Miller (1915- 2005), pictured right, American writer, pictured right
I wouldn’t give you two cents for all your fancy rules, if behind them, they didn’t have a little bit of
ordinary, everyday human kindness – and a little looking out for the other fella, too.
- Jefferson Smith (James Stewart, pictured right ) in the 1939 film Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.
The inculcation of belief in the real existence of a common purpose is an essential executive function.
- Chester Barnard, pictured right (in The Functions of the
The only way to treat people is how you want them to treat you.
- Stephen Covey, pictured right, Principle-Centred Leadership
Covey's statement of the Golden Rule contrasts with Joseph Heller's (pictured
right) description of Colonel Cathcart in his book, Catch-22:
Colonel Cathcart had courage and never hesitated to volunteer his men for any target available.
Management is the art of compromise.
- Charles Handy, pictured right, in The Gods of Management (1985)
The central principle of managerial control is the principle of self-control.
- Douglas McGregor, pictured right,
in The Human Side of
When the going gets rough, remember to keep calm.
- Horace (65–8 BC), Roman poet, pictured right.
Monopoly...is a great enemy to good management.
(from the 1776 book The Wealth of Nations)
- Adam Smith (1723-90), Scottish