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 counter-intuitive 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.
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).
Introduction 1. Don't Kid Yourself 2. Trust Mixed Motives 3. Buy a Little Time 4. Invest Wisely 5. Drill Down 6. Bend the Rules 7. Nudge, Test, and Escalate Gradually 8. Craft a Compromise 9. Three Quiet Virtues Endnotes Appendix: Note on Sources Acknowledgements About the Author