Leading Quietly

Book Review: Leading Quietly by Joseph Badaracco, Jr.

Dave Kinnear 1-On Leadership, Book Reviews

I was told that leading quietly is an unorthodox guide to doing the right thing; and indeed there is much grist for the leadership mill buried in this excellent book. There are many memorable points of view, but perhaps the one that sticks most in my mind is that quiet leaders possess three very unglamorous virtues: restraint, modesty, and tenacity. “Each of these is a habit of mind and action, and each helps men and women use the tools and tactics of quiet leadership in responsible, effective ways.”

But what is quiet leadership and who are the quiet leaders? Quiet leadership is dealing with the messy, everyday challenges, and the quiet leaders are those who labor endlessly to meet those challenges and keep things moving in our corporations. They are NOT the “flashy, public hero” kinds of leaders. They simply get the work done and make the hard decisions.

Badaracco convinces me more than ever that it is imperative that we define our corporate values and clearly articulate the ethics process we use to choose between competing moral and/or economic values. The reason is that the hard choices are embedded in our everyday corporate life. In these situations, individuals rarely take bold or courageous steps. Rather they step back, study, analyze, worry, and finally, make the best decision they can make – then stand behind it and move on.

Quiet leaders possess a positive attitude, but they are also very realistic, not cynical, in evaluating the situation. These leaders work with four basic principles: 1-You don’t know everything; 2-You WILL be surprised; 3-Keep and eye on the insiders, and 4-Trust, but cut the cards! They learn to trust mixed motives rather than trying to define their actions in purist terms. In other words, they accept that the right solution can also include positive results for themselves as well as the company, employee, and/or customer.

This well written and well organized book is definitely worth the time and should be in any management library.

Click to see it at Amazon.