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Leading Quietly: An Unorthodox Guide to Doing the Right Thing Hardcover – Feb 1 2002


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Leading Quietly: An Unorthodox Guide to Doing the Right Thing + Defining Moments: When Managers Must Choose Between Right and Right
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press; 1 edition (Feb. 1 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486634159
  • ISBN-13: 978-1578514878
  • ASIN: 1578514878
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 15.9 x 23.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 476 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #155,653 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

When we think of great leaders, it's usually the charismatic, globally influential Churchill, Patton, Jack Welch who spring to mind. But as Harvard Business School professor Badaracco (Defining Moments: When Managers Must Choose Between Right and Right) correctly points out, everyday leadership is not so dramatic, and daily leadership decisions are rarely carried out at the top of an organization. Badaracco focuses here is on helping the middle- and senior-level managers who make the ordinary decisions that ultimately determine an organization's success. As he puts it: "What usually matters are careful, thoughtful, small, practical efforts by people working far from the limelight. In short, quiet leadership is what moves and changes the world." Out of a four-year study of these real-life leaders, Badaracco describes eight strategies for making effective leadership decisions in murky situations where the "right" thing is far from obvious. The strategies range from the commonsensical (truly examine the question at hand; don't ignore corporate politics) to the counterintuitive (don't expect to be wholly altruistic and accept that some of your motives are self-interested; try not to make important decisions as quickly as possible). Badaracco presents each principle with a brief introduction, followed by a case study and summary of the lessons to be learned. The sum is a useful checklist middle-level managers can put to work immediately.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From the Publisher

 Presenting a new approach to leadership and ethics, this alternative guide is about exercising quiet moral authority in everyday situations.  Makes the case that creative, practical approaches to everyday ethical choices are the essence of effective leadership.  Provides a toolkit for quiet leaders, laying out a framework for action with eight counterintuitive strategies for making ethical decisions.  Grounds each strategy in an engaging case study, showing leaders resolving (or failing to resolve) difficult problems.  Includes surprising answers and counterintuitive approaches to “doing the right thing” that include recognizing your own self-interest, buying time, and bending the rules.  Badaracco is a trusted authority on business ethics and leadership.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
QUIET LEADERS ARE REALISTS. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

By J. Estill on Dec 19 2006
Format: Hardcover
One of the books I read on the weekend was - Leading Quietly - An unorthodox Guide to Doing the Right Thing by Joseph Badaracco.

The book is more about the subtitle "An unorthodox Guide to Doing the Right Thing" than the title - "Leading Quietly". It did make a valid point that often the best leaders are not the loud stars that the press talks about all the time. Often the best leaders are the quiet plodders that create value over a long period of time.

Much of the book talked about making decisions in uncertain circumstances. Much of leadership involves decision making. And most decisions are not clear. The mark of a good leader is one who is willing to make the decisions quickly. Good leaders know when enough information is enough (some people will not make decisions because they want more information even though the probability of that information changing the decision is negligible). As Badaracco says "the courage to prudently tackle tough situations".

Good leader do not balk at making decisions even though there is risk involved. Usually there is greater risk in not making the decision.

Much of good decision making is about identifying the problem and simplifying it. Einstein said "Everything should be as simple as possible and no simpler".

On statement that rang true to me "leadership is hard work". I guess I never really thought about it but at the time I was reading it, I was struggling with many issues and juggling many balls so it hit home. It also talked about tenacity. This is a trait that I try hard to have. When I do not get the answer I want, I try to figure other approaches to make the sale (and most things are sales even if they involve selling internally or selling someone in a negotiation).

Good book.
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Format: Hardcover
Instead of Leading Quietly, this book should have been titled "Manuevering Quietly." It discusses the nuts and bolts of approaching problems without falling on your sword, but I failed to find real leadership principles applied.
For one thing, leaders have followers and many of the case studies involved (roughly half) depicted people who had to solve an ethical problem, yet they did not have anyone following them. The protagonists navigated their way through murky waters, but there weren't taking anyone anywhere. That's why I think "Manuevering Quietly" would have been more appropriate.
And yet, it's an intriguing concept. Who has not stood up for an ethical principle and been punched in the nose, ultimately thwarting any potential influence to be applied down the line? Like Jim Collins and Jerry Porras' Built To Last, Badaracco advises us to not always think in black and white, right and wrong terms, that the sooner we realize every situation has infinite shades of gray, the better off we are to handle the conplexities of our problems.
Many critique this book because they feel it reduced ethics to a worldview of pragmatism, but I think Badaracco emphasizes the importance of character and caring enough to where he's not preaching a nihilistic approach to problem solving. The bottom line is if you're often in a rock and a hard place and the most likely thing to get smushed is you, Leading Quietly can help you get out of the way without compromising your principles. And that's applaudable.
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Format: Hardcover
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 moral 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.
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