Leadership Quotes from The Godfather


When it comes to classic mob movies, no film can compare to the crime classic, The Godfather. While there is no denying that this film can provide plenty of entertainment (no matter which installment that you watch), the movie can also provide us all with some valuable insight on leadership. While it may not be the most traditional resource for leadership motivation, you can actually get some valuable insight from these classic Godfather leadership quotes. Keep these quotes in mind next time you need a little outside inspiration on your leadership efforts.

“What the matter with you? I think your brain is going soft.” – Vito Coreleone

This may be one of the most iconic quotes from the film, but it’s also one of the biggest sentiments on leadership featured in the movie as well. The message behind this quote is a simple one: you need to hold people accountable. This movie often reminds us that there may be times where we have to be tough in order to be a good leader.

While it doesn’t mean that you don’t need to have some patience and understanding, in business it is important to remember that sometimes a tough attitude is necessary if you want to succeed. As a leader, you are responsible for others on your team and many times the success of your business. If you forget these things and are not tough when necessary it can impact your company negatively.

For Vito in the movie he allowed a few moments of weakness that inspired this quote. When his team was weak, it gave his enemies an opportunity to assassinate him. While the stakes will likely not be this high in the working world, it is still an important lesson.

“It’s not personal, Sonny. It’s strictly business.” – Michael Corleone

When Michael of the Corleone family delivers this line, he means it. While it has some dramatic connotations in the film, the message is crystal clear in the business world. There are many times where you will have to make tough decisions that can hurt someone’s feelings, maybe even someone you really like. However, this is why personal relationships and professional relationships need to be separate.

Sometimes you will have to hurt people’s feelings by making tough calls, but they need to know it’s not personal.

“Do you spend time with your family? Because a man who doesn’t spend time with his family can never be a real man.” – Vito Corleone

Even a tough mob boss in a fictional movie can value the importance of family. This is something that may leaders do not put enough emphasis on. In order to be a good, well-balanced leader, you need to be a good, well-balanced person. This means having a life outside of work and the office. If you can’t spend time with your family, and act as a support system and leader to the ones you love most, how can you do it in the office?

Making sure you make time for your personal life is an important part of your personal development, not matter how busy your professional life may be.

Keep these quotes, and their lessons in mind as you work on your own skills as a leader and start to perfect your own leadership skills. While this movie may provide mostly entertainment, if you look at the lessons taught by this mob boss and some of the best quotes of the film, you will see that The Godfather has some important quotes on leadership that anyone can benefit from.

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