Colin Luther Powell is an American politician and retired four-star general in the United States Army. During his military career, Powell also served as National Security Advisor, as Commander of the U.S. Army Forces Command, and as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. This Colin Powell quotes on decision making, loyalty, leadership, success, communication will motivate you.
Best Colin Powell Quotes
- “Leadership is solving problems. The day soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help or conclude you do not care. Either case is a failure of leadership.” – Colin Powell
- “1. It ain’t as bad as you think. It will look better in the morning.
2. Get mad, then get over it.
3. Avoid having your ego so close to your position that when your position falls, your ego goes with it.
4. It can be done!
5. Be careful with what you choose. You may get it.
6. Don’t let adverse facts stand in the way of a good decision.
7. You can’t make someone else’s choices. You shouldn’t let someone else make yours.
8. Check small things.
9. Share credit.
10. Remain calm. Be kind.” – Colin Powell
“There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.” – Colin Powell
- “Leadership is all about people. It is not about organizations. It is not about plans. It is not about strategies. It is all about people-motivating people to get the job done. You have to be people-centered.” – Colin Powell
- “A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination, and hard work.” – Colin Powell
- “When we are debating an issue, loyalty means giving me your honest opinion, whether you think I’ll like it or not. Disagreement, at this stage, stimulates me. But once a decision is made, the debate ends. From that point on, loyalty means executing the decision as if it were your own.” – Colin Powell, Colin Powell quotes on decision making
- “Never receive counsel from unproductive people. Never discuss your problems with someone incapable of contributing to the solution, because those who never succeed themselves are always first to tell you how. Not everyone has a right to speak into your life. You are certain to get the worst of the bargain when you exchange ideas with the wrong person. Don’t follow anyone who’s not going anywhere.” – Colin Powell
- “Good leaders set vision, missions, and goals. Great leaders inspire every follower at every level to internalize their purpose, and to understand that their purpose goes far beyond the mere details of their job. When everyone is united in purpose, a positive purpose that serves not only the organization but also, hopefully, the world beyond it, you have a winning team.” – Colin Powell
- “If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in little matters. Excellence is not an exception, it is a prevailing attitude.” – Colin Powell
“None of us can change our yesterdays but all of us can change our tomorrows.” – Colin Powell
- “The less you associate with some people, the more your life will improve. Any time you tolerate mediocrity in others, it increases your mediocrity. An important attribute in successful people is their impatience with negative thinking and negative acting people.” – Colin Powell
- “Every organization needs to be introspective, transparent, and honest with itself. This only works if everyone is unified on the goals and purposes of the organization and there is trust within the team. High-performing, successful organizations build cultures of introspection and trust and never lose sight of their purpose.” – Colin Powell
- “The most important thing I learned is that soldiers watch what their leaders do. You can give them classes and lecture them forever, but it is your personal example they will follow.” – Colin Powell
“Have a sense of humor to break the tension in times of great toil.” – Colin Powell
- “Don’t just show kindness in passing or to be courteous. Show it in-depth, show it with passion, and expect nothing in return. Kindness is not just about being nice; it’s about recognizing another human being who deserves care and respect.” – Colin Powell
- “You can’t make someone else’s choices. You shouldn’t let someone else make yours.” – Colin Powell
- “Fear is a normal human emotion. It is not in itself a killer. We can learn to be aware when fear grips us and can train to operate through and in spite of our fear. If, on the other hand, we don’t understand that fear is normal and has to be controlled and overcome, it will paralyze us and stop us in our tracks. We will no longer think clearly or analyze rationally. We prepare for it and control it; we never let it control us. It if does, we cannot lead.” – Colin Powell
- “Always focus on the front windshield and not the review mirror.” – Colin Powell
- “Being responsible sometimes means pissing people off.” – Colin Powell
- “Whenever you start-give it your best. The opportunities are there to be anything you want to be. But wanting to be someone isn’t enough; dreaming about it isn’t enough; thinking about it isn’t enough. You’ve got to study for it, work for it, fight for it with all your heart and soul because nobody is going to hand it to you.” – Colin Powell
“Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.” – Colin Powell
- “Organization doesn’t really accomplish anything. Plans don’t accomplish anything, either. Theories of management don’t much matter. Endeavors succeed or fail because of the people involved. Only by attracting the best people will you accomplish great deeds.” – Colin Powell
- “Surround yourself with people who take their work seriously, but not themselves, those who work hard and play hard.” – Colin Powell
- “All children need a laptop. Not a computer, but a human laptop. Moms, Dads, Grannies and Grandpas, Aunts, Uncles – someone to hold them, read to them, teach them. Loved ones who will embrace them and pass on the experience, rituals, and knowledge of a hundred previous generations. Loved ones who will pass to the next generation their expectations of them, their hopes, and their dreams.” – Colin Powell
- “Look for intelligence and judgment and, most critically, a capacity to anticipate, to see around corners. Also look for loyalty, integrity, a high energy drive, a balanced ego, and the drive to get things done.” – Colin Powell, Colin Powell quotes on loyalty
- “Get mad, then get over it.” – Colin Powell
- “We have to start thinking of America as a family. We have to stop screeching at each other, stop hurting each other, and instead start caring for, sacrificing for, and sharing with each other … We cannot move forward if cynics and critics swoop down and pick apart anything that goes wrong, to a point where we lose sight of what is right, decent and uniquely good about America.” – Colin Powell
- “Don’t be buffaloed by experts and elites. Experts often possess more data than judgment. Elites can become so inbred that they produce hemophiliacs who bleed to death as soon as they are nicked by the real world.” – Colin Powell
“The essence of leadership is building bonds of trust in your organization.” – Colin Powell
- “You can never err by treating everyone in the building with respect, thoughtfulness, and a kind word. Every one of our employees is an essential employee. Every one of them wants to be viewed that way. And if you treat them that way, they will view you that way. They will not let you down or let you fail. They will accomplish whatever you have put in front of them.” – Colin Powell
- “Strategy equals execution. All the great ideas and visions in the world are worthless if they can’t be implemented rapidly and efficiently. Good leaders delegate and empower others liberally, but they pay attention to details, every day.” – Colin Powell
- “Effective leaders are made, not born. They learn from trial and error, and from experience.” – Colin Powell
- “Be careful what you choose: You may get it.” – Colin Powell
- “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ is the slogan of the complacent, the arrogant, or the scared. It’s an excuse for inaction, a call to non-arms.” – Colin Powell
- “Respect for leaders by followers can’t be mandated; it must be earned. It has to be given to leaders by their followers.” – Colin Powell
“Trying to get everyone to like you is a sign of mediocrity.” – Colin Powell
- “Give me the right people and I don’t much care what organization you give me. Good things will happen. Give me the wrong people and it doesn’t matter what you do with the organization. Bad things will happen.” – Colin Powell
- “Always be looking for that which you do well and that which you love doing, and when you find those two things together — man, you got it.” – Colin Powell
- “The commander in the field is always right and the rear echelon is wrong unless proved otherwise. In my experience, the people closest to the problems are often in the best position to see the solutions. The key here is to empower and not be the bottleneck.” – Colin Powell
- “Always do your best. Somebody is watching you.” – Colin Powell
- “Don’t let your ego get too close to your position so that if your position gets shot down, your ego doesn’t go with it.” – Colin Powell
- “Always show more kindness than seems necessary, because the person receiving it needs it more than you will ever know.” – Colin Powell
- “Maybe we don’t put our young people in situations often enough where they’re allowed to fail. When you fail you gain experience, and with enough experience, you don’t fail as often.” – Colin Powell
- “Leadership is the art of accomplishing more than the science of management says is possible.” – Colin Powell
- “You know you’re a good leader when people follow you out of curiosity.” – Colin Powell