Leading Quietly: An Unorthodox Guide to Doing the Right Thing

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More About This Textbook


Most of us think of leaders as courageous risk takers, orchestrators of major events. In a word: heroes. Although such figures are inspiring, Joseph Badaracco argues that their larger-than-life accomplishments are not what makes the world work. What does, he says, is the sum of millions of small yet consequential decisions that individuals working far from the limelight make every day. Badaracco calls them "quiet leaders"—people who choose responsible, behind-the-scenes action over public heroism to resolve tough leadership challenges. Quiet leaders don't fit the stereotype of the bold and gutsy leader, and they don't want to. What they want is to do the "right thing"—for their organizations, their coworkers, and themselves—but inconspicuously and without casualties. Drawing from extensive research, Badaracco presents eight practical yet counterintuitive guidelines for situations in which right and wrong seem like moving targets. Compelling stories illustrate how these "nonheroes" succeed by managing their political capital, buying themselves time, bending the rules, and more. From the executive suite to the office cubicle—Leading Quietly shows how patient, everyday efforts can add up to a better company and a better world.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781578514878
  • Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press
  • Publication date: 2/11/2002
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 390,279
  • Product dimensions: 6.44 (w) x 9.42 (h) x 0.89 (d)

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 20, 2006

    a reviewer

    This philosophical essay about leadership is not about the kind of leader who makes it onto the front pages of newspapers or into the history books. Instead, it is about average people who labor in the middle to lower levels of bureaucracies, and who do the work that keeps their organizations moving forward. Author Joseph L. Badaracco, Jr., calls these people 'quiet leaders.' They make decisions that may not appear earthshaking, but that still must take many complex factors into account. Badaracco illustrates the kinds of ethical and moral dilemmas quiet leaders face by extracting guidelines from case studies. However, many of the stories he presents are so commonplace, and the lessons he draws are so self-evident, that the book is hardly the 'unorthodox guide' it wishes to be. We recommend this to mid- and low-level managers who are looking for an alternative to traditional ideas about heroic leadership.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 10, 2003

    Make the best decisions and take the right actions

    This book is a must read for anyone who is interested in leading with integrity and being his or her own person. You will gain many interesting insights from this well written book. Another superb book to accomplish being your best, leading others, bringing out the best in them and creating a culture committed to optimization is Optimal Thinking. I highly suggest reading each of these books.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2002


    This book is exceptional. It shows you how much people we work with do behind the scenes. So many people out there in the workplace and in life lead this way. I think more of us should.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 7, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

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