35 Powerful Boss Quotes

Updated Dec 2, 2022.

The dream of being your own boss is fascinating. Imagine doing what you want and when you want it, with no one to tell you what to do or control how you spend your time. It is many people’s dream—no wonder people enter into entrepreneurship to be their boss. You are in control of your destiny.

However, being a boss is not so easy, and many believe it to be. You are also a leader as a boss, and many people depend on you for survival. It is your responsibility to manage and lead them. Likewise, the future of the company depends on you.

This may seem quite overwhelming, especially as everything boils down to how you work, treat your subordinates, and achieve maximum cooperation in the workplace to achieve the company’s set goal. Being a boss is not just a title; it reflects in attitude.

The article will look at insightful and inspiring boss quotes to help you develop the right boss mindset and leadership skills.

Best Boss Quotes To Inspire You To Become A Boss

A boss can be anybody in charge of an organization. You don’t have to be the CEO to be the boss. As long as people look up to you and turn to you for directions, you are a boss. This means that you could be the head of a department/unit, a project manager, or a leader in an organization.

This section contains inspiring boss quotes to help you become a better boss.

Team player vs. team builder] Players focus on the wins and the losses. Builders focus on the team and the future of the vision. Let's move our members from team player to team builder.
— Janna Cachola

As a boss, you're not just a team player anymore, but a team builder. Every goal ought to be directed towards the organization's vision and ensure that the mission in view will take the organization to its more important goal.

Being the boss is more than just a title; it is a responsibility. All the other team members and staff look up to you for direction; they won’t move or take a step till you say so.

In that light, you are the vision carrier. You carry the vision, set the smart goals, and others follow.

If self-employment is the opposite of employed-by-others, then a job is outsourcing your freedom (time and talent) to a boss.
― Richie Norton

As a boss, you're in charge of people's time and talent and how effectively they utilize those. Remember, people are running from slavery disguised as working for others. So, ensure you treat your workers with the utmost respect for their freedom in your care.

The speed of the boss is the speed of the team.
— Lee Iacocca

The boss is the vision bearer of the organization. A not-so-popular saying goes, “An organization is a reflection of the boss’s personality.” If you, as a leader, are weak and inefficient, it rubs off on your entire team. Your team becomes held back, and the company's deadlines and goals will hardly be met.

However, when you inspire and motivate the members continuously, the members have a better understanding and grasp of the goals and tasks to be done.

If a boss is weak and slow, the entire project becomes slow because people tend to act however they please when they are not being monitored and questions are not asked.

Your speed as a boss is the speed of your team and the speed of your goal. If you want to see improvements in your team and goals, then improve on your role as a boss.

When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen.
– Ernest Hemingway

Being a boss is not all about telling people what to do. It also involves actively listening to them. People are more drawn toward someone who listens to them.

As a boss, have your employees ever told you that they want their voices heard? Having their voices heard doesn't give the literal meaning of loud voices. It means your employees want you to start listening. Leaders who are the best in various spheres are people who listen to their followers.

It won't be easy to know what your members are thinking about, their challenges, or even how to get them out of it. Listening in this context doesn't wait for the employees to come with their problems to you for a solution.

Instead, it involves being aware of their body language, facial expressions, and moods. Here's how to listen: show that you care, show empathy, never judge them, be expansively mindful, and don't interrupt.

Bosses who are good listeners improve and increase their workforce. As a boss, strike a balance between your passion for the work and the well-being of your employees. Whatever you do, impacts your business or company.

The way to achieve your success is to be willing to help somebody else get it first.
— Iyanla Vanzant

To achieve success, you must be willing to put somebody else's needs first. Success is not all about you but also about the value you give those around you.

In the business world, there's an erroneous popular belief that the only way to get ahead is to be on the watch for number one. This belief is erroneous because most successful people climb the ladder while looking for opportunities to help people. While unsuccessful people are down the ladder because of their constant question of “What's in it for me?”

Your most excellent investment comes from helping people. Undoubtedly, the quote shows that the way to achieve success is to be willing to help someone get there first.

Through helping someone else, you learn.

Very often managers are just a noise, while the real boss is the project, which we work for and pays us.
― Yegor Bugayenko

If there's no project to be worked on or task to be completed, there's no need for payment. Yes, the manager is there to coordinate and organize projects; the real boss is not the manager. The real boss is the project. Without the project, there will be no payment.

To handle yourself, use your head. To handle others, use your heart.
— Eleanor Roosevelt

To be in charge of your life, you may have to use strict discipline. This means that you need to learn to deny yourself certain pleasures that can hold you back in the long term.

But in handling others, use your heart. Your compassion for others is what gets the work done in the first place. In compassion, you get to win friends and learn how to influence others to do what you want.

If you don't build your dreams, someone will hire you to build theirs.
— Tony Gaskins

For those dreams you have, focus on them, and work hard to reach them. If you fail to do so, people will employ you to build theirs.

If you don’t take the lead in turning your dreams into realities, you may end up settling for less and working for others to fulfill their dreams. Action is what turns your dreams into realities.

I nearly said something but then thought better of it. It doesn't pay to publicly point out the failings of the person providing your paycheck.
― Donald G. Firesmith

As a boss, learn to respect the feelings of your team members or staff. This is because, without them, there will be no work done. Without work, there is no pay.

So technically speaking, your employees are the real money makers. You cannot earn your millions or reach your goals without them. Therefore, you should accord them the respect they deserve. They are human beings too.

A leader leads by example, not by force.
– Sun Tzu

As a boss, and a leader, people are watching you. Your greatest power over people is influence. Influence is not manipulation.

Influence, people do things because they want to do them. This is because you showed them the value of doing these things, and you inspired them to take action—actions, not just words, more influence people.

However, manipulation is by force. It doesn’t care about how employees feel. Instead, it is only self-centered. Manipulation builds resentment and poor employee productivity.

Since people are watching you and are being affected by the influence you exert over them, what kind of example are you setting?

The words of the tongue should have three gatekeepers: Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary?
— Arabian Proverb

What you say to your members matters much as a boss or a leader. You can make or break them with your words. Your words can motivate them to work better and smarter, but they can also send them into depression.

Bosses that emotionally abuse their members find it hard to have long-lasting members. This is because the work environment is toxic, and nobody wants to stay in an environment that takes more from them and affects their mental health.

Before you say anything as a leader, let these three questions guide every word that proceeds from your mouth;

  • Is it true? What you want to say, is there any atom of truth in it? Or are you just angry that you want to lash out at your staff? What do you want to call your members? Is it true of their character?
  • Is it kind? Does it depict kindness or wickedness if you say what's in your mind? How would you feel if someone said that to you?
  • Is it necessary? You mustn't say everything. You mustn't voice every thought. Keep some thoughts to yourself. Before making a certain speech, ask yourself if that speech is important and necessary?
Now, if your boss is a sadist, you have a big problem. In that case, fire your boss and get a new job.
— Donald Trump

There is a popular belief that bosses are from hell. According to a survey report, over 49% of employees quit their jobs because they didn’t like their bosses.

People with bosses who emotionally abuse them often suffer from low self-esteem. This low self-esteem is because they have been made to believe less of themselves and believe they are never good enough for anything. The majority of these people constantly cry for their boss.

It is better if you leave and get a new job than try to earn money in a toxic environment. You may earn money, but how sure are you that it won't have an impact on you for life.

Boss Attitude Quotes

A boss says, you do it, a leader says, Let's do it.
Amit Kalantri

A great boss is a leader. He defies the infamous belief that bosses are ignorant sadists who do not care about their employees. These bosses only give orders without caring how the employees perform the tasks.

However, a leader is different. A leader leads by example and actively gets involved in tasks with the team. He is supportive and makes work bearable for his team members.

Being a boss goes beyond just telling people what to do. Your team members want to know that you are actively involved and care about how they perform their tasks.

Never look down on anybody unless you're helping them up.
— Jesse Jackson

One of the worst qualities associated with bosses is neglect. Many employees have come out to say that their bosses neglect and look down on them. A good boss respects and appreciates his team members.

You don’t need to see yourself as the overall and most important person in the organization. As the leader, you need the help of your team members to stay on top and keep the company afloat. Without your team members, there will be no one to help turn your vision into a reality.

A great leader is concerned about the well-being of his team members. Your employees and staff will love you and improve their productivity if you are empathetic and genuinely concerned about their personal development.

We are stronger when we listen, and smarter when we share.
— Rania Al-Abdullah

A wise boss listens to his team members. This is where your greatest strength lies. Communication is key in any relationship, including a boss-employee relationship. You actively listen to your coworkers' body language, moods, speeches, and thoughts.

Let me start by saying that any boss that can listen has won the members' hearts. If you are looking for a chance to bond with your members, being a listener is a great way to do that.

Aside from listening, you also share important information with your team members. Clear and honest communication between you and your staff builds employee trust.

Bosses push, Leaders pull. Real leadership is servant leadership.
— Dave Ramsey

This quote explains that the typical boss forces others to do things while he sits back and watches the team work hard like slaves. However, a true leader (boss) is always at the battlefront. He goes to where the challenges are the toughest and focuses his strength there, pulling his team members along.

As a boss, it doesn’t matter what top position you hold, the best way to lead is by influence. You pull them up by encouraging and supporting them. Although they are your employees turning your dreams into a reality, they also work to build themselves up.

No one understands the vision like the leader. It is best to help your team stay on the vision's course. You should also be easily accessible and ready to take on challenges with your team.

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.
— Kenneth H. Blanchard

The “boss” title has a negative tag attached to it. When the title is mentioned, everyone automatically imagines an uptight sadistic fellow.

To build a better relationship with your employees, it would be best to do away with the boss title and be a leader. The difference between both is that a boss is mean and arrogant. But a leader is compassionate and influential.

The best part about being a leader is that people don’t just follow you based on your position. They follow you because they believe in you. The influence you have over them is valuable and resourceful.

So in simple words, I will say that you must be an excellent leader to be an excellent boss. Meditate on motivational and powerful leadership quotes to develop the right leadership qualities and mindset.

There is only one boss: the customer. And he can fire everybody in the company, from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money elsewhere.
— Sam Walton

It is not disputable that you're the boss of the company; however, there exists a boss that supersedes you. This boss that supersedes you can fire you, the investors, and everyone associated with the company. This boss is the customer.

So, it is wrong to think that you can do anything you want just because you are the boss. It is also expedient you remember that without your customers, you are nothing. If there are no clients for your business, there will be no business. In another sense, the customer pays you and your workers.

As a boss, learn to treat your customers well. Yes, some customers can be annoying, but learning to handle such customers is a plus for you as a boss.

Hey, don’t think that just because you are in charge, you can do whatever you like. Good bosses look for what is best for the company, staff, and customers.

When something is important enough, you do it even if the odds are not in your favor.
– Elon Musk

The boss is the risk taker. Since you are the vision carrier, you are the one who makes tough decisions and takes risks.

Most bosses, especially bad bosses, are cowards, so they hide behind and prefer to do nothing but give orders and lay blame. A true boss is more resilient and persistent when situations get very challenging.

Because you inspire your team, you should never give up. You stay tough and resilient because you are success-driven. Success-driven bosses take the heat and are always ready to fight for what they value.

When you are grateful, fear disappears, and abundance appears.
— Anthony Robbins

Another important quality of a true boss is a grateful heart.

I want to point out that the feeling of entitlement is so sneaky that, if you are not careful, you will not know when you start feeling entitled. One of the best attributes you should always have is a heart of gratitude.

When you are grateful for what you have, you let go of all the irritability and stress holding you down and spoiling your mood. You also become more appreciative of your team and their efforts. There is no toxic boss-employee relationship either.

The best way to maintain a grateful heart is to focus on your strengths and wins. You take time to celebrate the victories you have achieved, no matter how little they are.

Imagine being thankful and appreciative of your team for a task well done. It erases your team members' fear and spurs them to work better and harder.

Do you know that when you are always grateful and appreciative towards your staff, it rubs off on them and boosts their productivity? Just try it out and see.

The boss inspires fear; the leader inspires enthusiasm.
— John C. Maxwell

The typical sadistic boss builds fear among his staff. But you shouldn’t be that boss; you should be the “leader” kind of boss—the one who is more compassionate and sensible.

Put yourself in the position of an employee hired to work for a company. It doesn’t matter if you love your job; when you work for a sadistic boss, your passionate job becomes an unpleasant chore. But when you have a thoughtful and supportive boss, your job becomes bearable and something to look forward to.

A toxic boss leads to a toxic work environment — everybody being aggressive towards each other because they are frustrated.

It is widely said to be a boss, think like a boss, and people will perceive you as a boss. Times have changed and perceptions. If you exert fear on your team members, you are backward, and there will be little or no achievement.

Be the kind of boss that creates enthusiasm among team members. It makes your employees work because they WANT to, not because you FORCED them.

A boss says ‘go and make sure you do it; a leader says, ‘let's go and make it happen.' Bosses control people; leaders involve them.
― Israelmore Ayivor

Has anyone ever told you you are “bossy”? It means you always want things done your way without caring how it is done or if it affects people or not. That is what the typical boss does.

You are in control. What you say stands. But that doesn’t mean you can exercise your power anyhow you wish. Although you are the captain of your ship, your crew members are human beings who prefer to be valued than controlled.

Excellent bosses promote and encourage teamwork. In teamwork, you are a team player. This means that you are actively involved in plan execution, and you take responsibility for the team. Effective teamwork and collaboration create a positive and healthy working environment for the staff.

To encourage effective teamwork among team members, you need a better understanding of the value of teamwork. It would help if you also showed your staff the value of teamwork, collaboration, and communication. The best way to do this is by engaging in team-building activities and meditating on powerful teamwork quotes. This will help shape your mindset about teamwork.

As a business professional or entrepreneur, you would have people under your authority. How you treat and interact with them matters a lot.

Powerful Boss Quotes To Build A Boss Mindset

People majorly become entrepreneurs because they want to be their own boss. However, being a boss is not just about being at the top level. Rather, it is a responsibility, a mindset. Your mindset as a boss affects how you interact with your team members. It also affects how you treat your company.

Being a boss is not just in the position you hold but also in the mindset you have.

Therefore to be a better boss and improve your relationship with your staff, you need to start by changing your mindset.

The first thing you need to realize as a boss is that your role is not to make your employees’ lives miserable. Instead, you encourage them and help them to be the best versions of themselves at work.

Being a boss doesn’t mean you must wear the typical sad and mean-spirited boss persona. Who said there could not be fun, compassionate bosses? This section contains quotes about the right boss mindset you need to build a healthy and strong team.

To add value to others, one must first value others.
— John Maxwell

Value is the most important thing you give as a boss. A boss who gives no value is useless. This may sound harsh, but it's the truth.

As a boss, you are not just present to give instructions and detect mistakes. You are there to add value to your team. But to add value to anyone, you must first value them.

If you don't value anyone, you can't add value to them. This is because you can only invest time and energy in things and the people you value.

So, you need to start seeing your team memes as people with emotions and goals to achieve. The moment you recognize this, the more open you become. This is a very vital mindset you should have if you must succeed as a leader.

If, as a boss, you have no regard for your team members, there is no way that you can help and impact value to them. You won't impact value because you see them as lesser humans.

People ask the difference between a leader and a boss: the leader leads, and the boss drives.
– Theodore Roosevelt

Times have changed, and things have evolved. You are not to drive alone as a boss, but to lead and drive. That's what makes the perfect team. Remember, a boss is also a leader, so it will be nice to teach some leadership qualities to your boss.

As you lead, your team follows in your footsteps. You don’t do it alone and expect your team to figure things out themselves without guidance.

There ought to be delegation and drive. To have an engaged workforce, it is pertinent that you lead the team through example. Inspire and drive your team to be the best with what they have.

Don't talk unless you can improve the silence.
— Jorge Luis Borges

A boss should be smart and proactive. You don’t have to talk unless you are providing value. Since you are in the head position, everyone is looking up to you. Therefore, instead of spending your time talking, you invest your time in solving problems and experimenting with new ways to be more productive.

Even the frankest and bravest of subordinates do not talk with their boss the same way they talk with colleagues.
— Robert K. Greenleaf

Your place as a boss is a position of respect. However, respect is not forced but earned.

To earn respect as a boss, you must think and act like a boss worth respecting.

Now, I don’t mean you should position yourself as the typical selfish boss. This will only cause fear and resentment, not respect. Employees don’t want a boss that makes them fear. They want an employee they can relate with and genuinely respect. This kind of boss has the employees’ genuine loyalty.

Although you must cultivate a relationship with your team members, never let the relationship become too formal that they speak to you the same way they speak to their colleagues. This calls for drawing boundaries in the relationship between you and your team members.

A good boss is mindful of relationships with team members but also draws a boundary in that relationship to avoid overfamiliarity. Your employees respect you without fear.

The person who knows how will always have a job. The person who knows why will always be his boss.
— Alanis Morissette

The boss always knows the “Why.” He is the one who understands the vision the most and interprets it for the team members.

But do you know that you can have a vision but don’t have the skills to execute it? This is where you get a team to work for and with you. These team members know how to do the work to get better results. Therefore, you have the vision and create the plan. Your team members executed the plan. Everybody needs each other to succeed in the goal.

Because you understand the vision, your staff can turn to you when they need to make important decisions.

The government, designed for the people, has got into the hands of the bosses and their employers, the special interests. An invisible empire has been set above the forms of democracy.
— Woodrow Wilson

Another key characteristic of the right boss mindset is selflessness. A boss is not concerned only about himself but also about his team. This boss puts his team’s needs above his own.

Selfishness is one of the key characteristics of horribly mean bosses. Many employees have shared their horror stories with their bosses, and one of the common negative traits these bosses have is selfishness. Feeling like you know it all without caring about the opinion of your team members is very wrong.

The boss with the right mentality considers his staff and their opinions very important. It doesn’t matter if their opinions are inferior to his. This act helps build your employees’ self-esteem and makes them more confident in their work.

In a good “boss” government, you consider each team member and place their needs over your own. When your team is winning, you are also winning; but when you are the only one winning, your team is affected negatively. Selfishness can ruin your relationship with your staff.

You'll never make a fortune working for the boss man.
― Jeannette Walls. 

It is already a common notion that working for a boss will never give you the wealth you seek. This is why people opt to open their enterprises and become their bosses, and the cycle continues.

You can debunk this notion as a boss by giving your team members what's due to them. It must be so great, but pay them as at when due and for what it's worth. Give raises when needed and bonuses when applicable. This will make your team keep giving their best for you.

Boss Quotes For Effective Leadership

A boss is a leader. So if you want to be an effective boss, you need to learn the key characteristics of effective leadership. It doesn’t matter if you are only heading a small team or a big one; these characteristics apply everywhere.

This section contains key boss quotes about leadership and building the right leadership character.

No man will make a great leader who wants to do it all himself, or to get all the credit for doing it.
— Andrew Carnegie

One key thing to learn about effective leadership is never to take the credit alone. A popular saying says that a great leader gives all the credit to his team when they succeed but takes all the blame when the team fails.

Only selfish bosses step in to take all the glory without giving the main credit to their team.

You need a focused team to survive. Without them, your goals will only remain a dream and nothing more than that. You cannot do it alone because there is only a limit your strength can take you.

The best thing is to do away with your ego and unnecessary pride. Your pride won’t get hurt if you just admit that you need your team and acknowledge them when it arises.

I do not believe in “self-made” success. You will always need a team of equally passionate people, who believe in your dream to succeed.

A good leader always accepts the blame and distributes the reward.
― Amit Kalantri

Good bosses do not blame sharers. You show courage when you stand at the battlefront to take all the heat. The idea is to protect your team and not yourself.

When your business or project faces casualty, you stand up as the boss to take the lead. This is why you are in the top position. Your team members are not protecting you; you are protecting them. That is what leaders do; they protect and shield.

Excellent leaders take responsibility in tough situations and share rewards with their teams. They turn those bad experiences and mistakes into learning opportunities rather than pointing fingers.

So instead of blaming, get up to look for solutions and not be ashamed to share the glory.

You can be your boss.
― Sunday Adelaja

“Being your boss” doesn’t necessarily mean working for just yourself and paying yourself a salary. Instead, it means being accountable to yourself. You check yourself daily and work to become a better version of yourself.

This is your development journey.

You work to make yourself happy and fulfilled. This is because you are focused on your dreams. So although you are working for someone else, you are still conscious of developing yourself and being the best version of yourself. You don’t have to lose yourself or your dreams just because you work for someone else.

One of the best ways to keep building yourself is to keep studying and executing. To be a great person in business, you keep studying the best business books and executing them. The more you study and practice, the stronger you build yourself.

A good boss makes his men realize they have more ability than they think they have so that they consistently do better work than they thought they could.
— Charles Erwin Wilson

Another top quality effective leaders have is that they always encourage their team. When situations become very challenging and tiring, you motivate and encourage your team to stay strong. It is your responsibility to boost their spirits.

Additionally, you recognize each team member’s strengths and weaknesses.

For a team to work together and give their best, they must realize their power within them. However, this will not be possible if you constantly put them down. Sometimes, little words of encouragement are enough to brighten their spirits and make them more determined to produce better results.

As a leader in a team, whether large or small, you have to drive passion and enthusiasm for your team members. The people you lead are humans with strengths and weaknesses. By relating with them, you would be able to know their needs, values, and passions. Keep them motivated and acknowledge their wins.

If you notice that your staff or team members are always dull on Mondays, you can inspire them with some powerful Monday motivation quotes. Mondays are always hectic for workers, so they always dread resuming work on Mondays. You can boost their strength and enthusiasm with these quotes.

Bad boss? Fire them. When you're interviewing for a job, your job is to interview them. You are equal.
― Richie Norton

People leave most jobs because of bad bosses. When they interview for the next job, they forget to ask questions to their interviewers. Employees should learn to ask questions about the work environment and the boss’s expectations before accepting a job. This will help them know what to expect and prepare for the position.

Dear Boss! Don't be a boss-hole.
― Vikrmn

I will simply rephrase this quote as “Dear Boss! Don’t be an ignorant, arrogant, and sadistic boss”. These bosses are bullies who constantly make their employees feel discouraged, tired, and unappreciated. Whatever you do, always consider and appreciate your staff.

The best leadership style to adopt in a work environment is the democratic leadership style. Leaders that follow this style are more open to feedback and build a positive relationship with their staff.

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Martin Luenendonk

Editor at FounderJar

Martin loves entrepreneurship and has helped dozens of entrepreneurs by validating the business idea, finding scalable customer acquisition channels, and building a data-driven organization. During his time working in investment banking, tech startups, and industry-leading companies he gained extensive knowledge in using different software tools to optimize business processes.

This insights and his love for researching SaaS products enables him to provide in-depth, fact-based software reviews to enable software buyers make better decisions.