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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars How to lead forcefully, but without any noise
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...
Published on 20 Sep 2006 by Rolf Dobelli

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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars a leading business ethics book
In a period where the ghost of Enron and other business malpractices wanders over the stock markets, a book like this certainly has it's value. However, after reading the book I wonder whether people applying what's written down in this work would have helped to prevent these malpractices, and I must say that I have my doubts. More specifically, instead of doing some...
Published on 23 Jun 2002 by Amazon Customer


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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars a leading business ethics book, 23 Jun 2002
By 
Amazon Customer (Eeklo, Vlaanderen (Belgium, Europe)) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Leading Quietly: An Unorthodox Guide to Doing the Right Thing (Hardcover)
In a period where the ghost of Enron and other business malpractices wanders over the stock markets, a book like this certainly has it's value. However, after reading the book I wonder whether people applying what's written down in this work would have helped to prevent these malpractices, and I must say that I have my doubts. More specifically, instead of doing some whistle blowing, you might decide to back off, in order to save your career. That might be "emotional intelligent" in the sense of understanding the emotional reactions of others against whistle-blowers, but its not really "integer" according to my definition of that word and thus certainly doesn't fit my European interpretation of being an ethical person. That explains why from a business ethics point of view, I prefer Linda Tobey's "The Integrity Moment" or even Badaracco's previous book "Defining Moments".
Actually, when I bought the book, I hadn't fully grasped I was buying a business ethics book. I though I had a leadership book in my hands, which explains my average rating. While its' true that personal restraint, modesty and tenacity are virtues for leaders, if you want a book on leading quietly, I prefer Jim Collins' "Good to Great" by far. His level 5 leadership is also a form of leading quietly, but it's much more a book for people willing to lead in the business meaning of that word.
Patrick E.C. Merlevede - author of "7 Steps to Emotional Intelligence"
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars How to lead forcefully, but without any noise, 20 Sep 2006
By 
Rolf Dobelli "getAbstract" (Switzerland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Leading Quietly: An Unorthodox Guide to Doing the Right Thing (Hardcover)
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Visibility is Not Leadership, 4 Jun 2011
By 
John M. Ford "johnDC" (near DC, MD USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Leading Quietly: An Unorthodox Guide to Doing the Right Thing (Hardcover)
Joseph Badaracco reminds us that the best leaders are not highly visible "heroes" who single-handedly set things right with dramatic deeds on center stage. They are restrained, modest and tenacious individuals working quietly in the shadows. If they are ever recognized, like Winston Churchill or Mother Theresa, it is only after many years or decades of quiet striving. We should not only recognize them, but learn to emulate their unassuming style.

Using case studies and clear prose, the author describes the techniques of quiet leadership, advising us to focus on small things that need to be handled every day. Quiet leaders accept that they will be surprised and will need to make decisions without knowing all of the facts. They are able to trust others, but verify information when possible. Quiet leaders are realists, accepting mixed motives in themselves and others. This allows them to find win-win solutions between individuals and organizations with different needs and goals.

Quiet leaders don't rush--or allow themselves to be rushed--into hasty decisions. They try to buy time to dig into the political and technical details and find a better solution. They build up political capital with others over time and "withdraw" this capital to help solve problems--or get extra time to solve them. Quiet leaders carefully consider drawing on this resource before taking on a problem. They may walk away from a problem they do not have the resources to address. They may bend the rules a bit to solve a problem, being careful to adhere to the principles they are based upon. A compromise is preferable to a conflict. If conflict seems necessary, quiet leaders move toward it carefully, escalating gradually, continually testing and trying for a low-key resolution.

In the closing chapter, Badaracco describes the case study methods used to gather data on quiet leaders and their egotistic counterparts. It is a good implementation of the "critical incident technique" described in Applied Measurement Methods in Industrial Psychology. He also acknowledges that: "Each of the tools presented in this book can be misused. Seeing the world as a complicated and uncertain place can serve as an excuse for not thinking about serious problems. Bending the rules can be an excuse for avoiding plain duties. Buying time and drilling down can evolve into procrastination or cowardice. Some compromises sell out basic principles. Some people invest their political capital so prudently and escalate so gently that they basically do nothing." (p. 169).

This book is highly recommended as a guide to working in a large organization's political environment.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Wise words, but it feels like it's asking leaders to aim low, 26 May 2014
By 
R. Boston - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Leading Quietly: An Unorthodox Guide to Doing the Right Thing (Hardcover)
There are a lot of truths in this book and a lot of useful lessons. It encourages leaders to think systemically, although it doesn't engage with systemic thinking in any big way (I'm not sure Badaracco even used the word "systemic"). It tells us to pay attention to the small things that'll make the difference. It recognises that most leaders aren't making world-changing decisions: they're dealing with difficult, localised decisions and constraints.

However, it feels like a manifesto for mediocrity. "There are old pilots and bold pilots, but no old bold pilots," the author writes. Unfortunately, he's quoting the oldest, boldest pilot there is - a man who lived past 100 - and seems unaware of the irony.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Anecdotal and not really about leadership, 11 July 2009
By 
John Hardy (Redditch, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Leading Quietly: An Unorthodox Guide to Doing the Right Thing (Hardcover)
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 business ethics

The worst thing about this book is that it is anecdotal: you can draw any conclusions you like from anecdotes. The book is one man's opinion and no doubt the stories are chosen and interpreted to reflect that opinion. At the end of the book, he describes his "methodology" which draws heavily on second hand evidence (ie stories that have already been filtered through someone else's perceptions) and also includes drawing on fiction.

This book is also not really about leadership. The anecdotes generally describe situations from the viewpoint of a single protagonist, and we get little insight into the impact of their actions on the thinking of others. I came to this book hoping for insights into the success of leaders like Stephen Green (group chairman of HSBC, described by the Guardian as "An ordained Anglican priest...tall, bookish and self effacing") but I was disappointed.

Lastly the book for me sometimes flirted with the sleazy, with it's talk of political capital, rule bending and playing for time. The author does attempt to draw lines in the sand on all these issues, which I applaud; but I was hoping for guidance on transforming an organisation where these games are needed into one where they are not. I didn't get any.
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7 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More Than You Ever Expected from a Business Book, 4 Jun 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Leading Quietly: An Unorthodox Guide to Doing the Right Thing (Hardcover)
Winston Churchill, a prime example of quiet leadership, appeared anything but quiet when he stepped onto history's stage and led his nation to victory against all odds. Yet, Winston exercised a quiet form of leadership developed over many years of painstaking effort and perseverance. To many Winston appeared unrestrained, but those who knew him best understood Churchill held more in reserve than he ever displayed in public. Tenacious but not vicious, magnanimous in victory, willing to invest time in real deliberation, and willing to compromise where appropriate, Winston Churchill proved more adept a leader than his enemies who were anything but "quiet" leaders either publicly or privately. After reading "Leading Quietly" you should read another business book filled with great illustrations drawn from Winston Churchill's leadership and thinking experiences: "Why Didn't I Think of That? - Think the Unthinkable and Achieve Creative Greatness." Between these two books you will discover why Churchill, rather than Einstein, should have been named Time's "Man of the Century." Behind the Churchill seen publicly existed a quiet, highly effective leader and thinker whose brilliant decisions left his adversaries wondering "why didn't I think of that?"
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Leading Quietly: An Unorthodox Guide to Doing the Right Thing
Leading Quietly: An Unorthodox Guide to Doing the Right Thing by Joseph L Badaracco (Hardcover - 1 Jan 2002)
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