Last Updated on May 28, 2023 by Dave Schoenbeck
We’ve all seen plenty of inspirational leadership quotes, but humor’s power is not understated. Sometimes we can learn what not to do from humorous bad leadership quotes that make us smile.
So here are 7 famous quotes about bad leadership that should prompt some self-examination—in other words, here’s what not to do.
Funny Quotes about Bad Leadership
1. “People who enjoy meetings should not be in charge of anything.” — Thomas Sowell
While meetings are necessary for the grand scheme, most employees view them as a waste of time. If you love meetings, take your team’s temperature, and see if everyone else finds them useful. If not, it might be time to cut back.
2. “It’s hard to lead a cavalry charge if you think you look funny on a horse.” — Adlai E. Stevenson
Confidence is half the battle in leadership, if not more. If you doubt yourself, your teammates will also catch on and question you.
3. “Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.” — Will Rogers
Bad leaders aren’t always wholly wrongheaded, even when it comes to humorous bad leadership quotes. Sometimes a good idea can be crippled by poor execution. Once you’re on the right track, keep going!
4. “The fact that some geniuses were laughed at does not imply that all who are laughed at are geniuses. They laughed at Columbus; they laughed at Fulton; they laughed at the Wright brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown.” — Carl Sagan
Too often, leaders are a little too convinced of their brilliance. They buy into the narrative that if everyone is against them, their idea is so original they must be doing something right. However, that’s not always the case. Sometimes if people are laughing, it’s for a good reason.
5. “You can build a throne with bayonets, but you can’t sit on it for long.” — Boris Yeltsin
Leaders certainly can rise to power through force and intimidation, but they won’t remain leaders with that strategy (or at least not successful ones). Your company isn’t a warzone; your employees aren’t your royal subjects. An effective leader is someone others want to follow of their own free will.
6. “You don’t lead by hitting people over the head—that’s assault, not leadership. — Dwight D. Eisenhower
Some of the most humorous bad leadership quotes are funny because they’re so direct. Eisenhower had it right—similar to Yeltsin’s point, leadership isn’t about forcing your will on your direct reports. It’s your job to paint a picture that they want to bring to life.
7. “If you think you are leading and turn around to see no one following, then you are just taking a walk.” — Benjamin Hooks
Perhaps most importantly, a leader isn’t a leader if no one is following him. No matter how great your ideas may be, if you can’t sell anyone else on them, you’re not leading anyone.
I hope some of these humorous bad leadership quotes made you smile, but most importantly, they made you think.
Humorous bad leadership quotes can teach much about the ins and outs of managing a team. As a business coach, I know a thing or two about what makes a great leader. So sign up for my email list, and you can have weekly blog posts about leadership delivered to your inbox. What better way to ensure your reports aren’t coming up with poor leadership quotes about you?
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