What is the secret to great leadership? I ask this question often and I’ve heard as many answers as people I’ve asked. Some define it in actions, or philosophy, or personality style, or circumstances leaders find themselves in. One colleague has said it has to do with the people you surround yourself with. I think leadership is responsibility to ourselves, to everyone we are connected to or come into contact with, and to all of humanity – whether it’s setting the direction for our companies or leading by example. Just about everyone seems to have a favorite leader or two they draw inspiration from. In celebration of President’s Day, here are some of my favorite quotes from Washington, Lincoln and other presidents to inspire you.

George Washington

“It is infinitely better to have a few good men than many indifferent ones.”

 “Labor to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire, called conscience.”

 “Liberty, when it begins to take root, is a plant of rapid growth.”

Abraham Lincoln

“A house divided against itself cannot stand.”

“Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other thing.

“I walk slowly, but I never walk backward”

Ronald Reagan

”There are no constraints on the human mind, no walls around the human spirit, no barriers to our progress except those we ourselves erect.”

“The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things.”

Thomas Jefferson

“Whenever you are to do a thing, though it can never be known but to yourself, ask yourself how you would act were all the world looking at you, and act accordingly.”

“In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.”

John Quincy Adams

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader”

“Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.”

Teddy Roosevelt

“We must dare to be great; and we must realize that greatness is the fruit of toil and sacrifice and high courage.”

“Great thoughts speak only to the thoughtful mind, but great actions speak to all mankind.”