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Brent Filson's Leadership Maxims

Brent Filson

Authority is a poor excuse for leadership. Poor leaders order people to do a job. Action leaders have those people choose to be the cause leaders of that job -- for more results faster, continually. –Brent Filson

We will never know how really good we are unless we are leading people to be better than they think they are. –Brent Filson

The best way to communicate an idea is to bundle it in a human being. –Brent Filson

In the long run, the most important results of leadership are not what we achieve but what we become in that achieving. –Brent Filson

If a portion of the people aren't angry with you, you're not leading well enough. –Brent Filson

Leaders do nothing more important than get results. If you're not getting results, you're not a leader, no matter what your official position is. –Brent Filson

The most enduring rewards of leadership come not from balance books but from human relationships. –Brent Filson

If you can't get results, you won't be a leader for long. –Brent Filson

Every organization badly needs good leadership. Being a good leader has nothing to do with your being equipped with advanced degrees or seniority. Being a good leader has everything to do with doing one thing well. You have to be able to build and motivate teams that get results. –Brent Filson

Results are limitless. Leaders who don't believe that don't know much about results or leadership. –Brent Filson

Great results happen only in the realm of the people's free choice. –Brent Filson

Most leaders strive to get either the wrong results or the right results in the wrong ways. –Brent Filson

The highest multiplier of results is the lowest common denominator of small unit leadership. –Brent Filson

Poor results are less harmful than mediocre results disguised as good results. –Brent Filson

Getting along is not necessarily getting results. –Brent Filson

We can't know how good we are without many times failing to be better than we are. –Brent Filson

The shortsighted view of results is that they are an end. The longsighted view of results is that they are a process. –Brent Filson

Great results are often the byproduct of a passionate commitment to something else. –Brent Filson

Leadership is not a measure of results. Results are a measure of leadership. –Brent Filson

The lowest forms of leadership involve rewards and punishments. –Brent Filson

Poor performance is less harmful than mediocre performance disguised as good performance. –Brent Filson

If you can't feel it, you can't lead it, and they won't do it. –Brent Filson

To know who we are, we must realize what we know. To realize what we know, we must live what we know. To live what we know, we must seek what we know in our living. –Brent Filson

The difference between leaders is ears. –Brent Filson

The difference between leaders is the price they can get others to pay. –Brent Filson

Good leaders are always underpaid, poor leaders always overpaid. –Brent Filson

An indifferent leader can't. –Brent Filson

When you take over a team that can't do the job, you're in the right job. When you take over a team that can do the job, you're in the wrong job. –Brent Filson

Succeeding through leadership for Deep Results is like getting burning done through composting. –Brent Filson

Leadership advances not just by the perfections of social harmonies but by the imperfections of getting on each other's nerves. –Brent Filson

Leadership for Deep Results must surprise. –Brent Filson

Be magnificent on the inside, ordinary and modest on the outside. –Brent Filson

The most important things that we learn as leaders for Deep Results are those things that we already know. –Brent Filson

As a leader, hide your intelligence. Let others discover it. They're discoveries are always more important to them than your displays. –Brent Filson

Most leaders are, unfortunately, confused followers. –Brent Filson

A leader is not just somebody who leads but who has learned how to teach others to lead. –Brent Filson

The enmity of others is the door prize of all leadership. –Brent Filson

In leading for Deep Results, by all means over estimate your abilities. You will suffer for it — but much less than if you underestimated your abilities. –Brent Filson

Veracity is the ignition switch for leadership for Deep Results. –Brent Filson

The most important leadership knowledge we acquire is often what we do not know we have acquired. –Brent Filson

When you are a leader it's not what the people say and do in your presence that counts. What counts is what they say and do away from your presence. –Brent Filson

The best gauge of your leadership for Deep Results is their leadership. –Brent Filson

Leadership is not about getting people to do what they want to do. If people are doing what they want to do, our leadership would not be necessary. Instead, it is getting people to do what they don't want to do and be committed to doing it. –Brent Filson

Leadership is not about leading an easy life for ourselves — but a hard life for others. –Brent Filson

Accountability in leadership is not just what we accept, it's who we are. –Brent Filson

If you don't know the difference between doing a task and taking leadership of that task, you cannot "do" nor lead well. –Brent Filson

Prosperity forges bad leaders, adversity forges good leaders. –Brent Filson

Those leaders whom the gods wish to destroy are first called brilliant. –Brent Filson

Who is the mediocre leader? It's that leader who hungers for and usually gets the most applause. –Brent Filson

Faced with the easy way of getting results and the hard way of getting results, most leaders invariably choose the latter, convinced that it is the former. –Brent Filson

Leadership for Deep Results is not about having people treasure you. It's about having people, through you, treasure themselves. –Brent Filson

In leadership, seeing isn't believing. Believing is seeing. –Brent Filson

The many arts of getting out of people's way are the fine arts of leadership. –Brent Filson

© 1993-2007 Brent Filson. All rights reserved.

The author of 23 books, Brent Filson's most recent books are: THE LEADERSHIP TALK: THE GREATEST LEADERSHIP TOOL and 101 WAYS TO GIVE GREAT LEADERSHIP TALKS. He is founder and president of The Filson Leadership Group, Inc. - and for more than 21 years has been helping leaders of top companies worldwide get audacious results. Sign up for his free leadership e-zine and get a free white paper: "49 Ways To Turn Action Into Results," at

For more of Brent Filson’s leadership maxims, see his book, Authority Is A Poor Excuse For Leadership.

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