Leading Quietly: An Unorthodox Guide to Doing the Right Thing

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Harvard Business Press, 2002 - Business & Economics - 201 pages
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Most of us think of leaders as courageous risk takers, orchestrators of major events-in a word, heroes. Yet while such figures are inspiring and admirable, Harvard Business School Professor Joseph Badaracco argues that their larger-than-life accomplishments are simply not what makes the world work. What does, he says, is the sum of millions of small yet consequential decisions that men and women working far from the limelight make every day: how a line worker for a pharmaceutical company responds when he discovers a defect in a product's safety seal; how a manager deals with a valued employee suspected of stealing; how a trader handles a transaction error that will cost a client money.

Badaracco calls them "quiet leaders"-people who choose responsible, behind-the-scenes action over public heroism to resolve tough leadership challenges. These individuals 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. They do so by being baldly realistic about the complexities of their own motives and those of the dilemmas they face. In today's fast and fluid business world, nothing is as it seems. And they know it.

Drawing from a four-year study of quiet leadership, Badaracco presents eight practical and counterintuitive guidelines for confronting situations in which right and wrong seem like moving targets. Grounding each strategy in an engaging story, he shows how these "non-heroes" succeed by managing their political capital, buying themselves time, bending the rules, and more.

From leaders in the executive suite to aspiring leaders in the office cubicle, Leading Quietly compellingly shows how patient, everyday efforts can add up to a better company and even a better world.

Joseph L. Badaracco Jr. is a Professor at Harvard Business School, the Chair of the M.B.A. Elective Curriculum, and the author of Defining Moments: When Managers Must Choose between Right and Right (ISBN 0875848036, HBS Press, 1997).


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User Review  - John_Hardy - LibraryThing

The best thing about this book is that it is anecdotal which means that it is an easy read. The author tells the stories well. I found it hard to put down which is a striking achievement for a book on ... Read full review


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