Jena McGregor
Jena McGregor
Columnist for On Leadership

Margaret Thatcher, in her own words

The death of Margaret Thatcher on Monday marked the passing of a bold leader, a controversial politician and a conservative icon who was one of the 20th century’s most transformative figures.

But the “Iron Lady” was also an expert when it came to delivering unforgettable lines.

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Most people know it was Britain’s first female prime minister who said, “if you want something said, ask a man; if you want something done, ask a woman.” But Thatcher also had many other indelible remarks on being a woman, the value of hard work and the most effective way to lead (with an iron fist, apparently). Below, ten of her most memorable remarks:

1. “Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren’t.”

2. “I’ve got a woman’s ability to stick to a job and get on with it when everyone else walks off and leaves it.”

3. “Most women defend themselves. It is the female of the species — it is the tigress and lioness in you — which tends to defend when attacked.”

4. “People think that at the top there isn’t much room. They tend to think of it as an Everest. My message is that there is tons of room at the top.”

5. “I do not know anyone who has gotten to the top without hard work. That is the recipe. It will not always get you to the top, but it will get you pretty near.”

6. “To me, consensus seems to be the process of abandoning all beliefs, principles, values, and policies. So it is something in which no one believes and to which no one objects.”

7. “To those waiting with bated breath for that favorite media catchphrase, the U-turn, I have only this to say, ‘You turn if you want; the lady’s not for turning.’ ”

8. “I am painted as the greatest little dictator, which is ridiculous — you always take some consultations.”

9. “I don’t mind how much my ministers talk, as long as they do what I say.”

10. “I am extraordinarily patient, provided I get my own way in the end.”

 
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