Podcast #325: Leading Quietly

When we think of being a good leader, we often think we need to be a bold, visionary, risk-taking type like Winston Churchill, Theodore Roosevelt, or Steve Jobs.

But my guest today argues that most of the day-to-day work that makes the world function is done by individuals who stand outside the limelight and lead with calm confidence. His name is Joseph Badaracco and he’s the author of the book Leading Quietly: An Unorthodox Guide to Doing the Right Thing. Today on the show, Joe and I discuss the heroic archetype of leadership, why most leadership development books and courses focus on it, and why heroic leadership can actually get in the way of an organization’s success. He then shares the qualities of a quiet leader and why they’re often more effective than heroic leaders at getting things done in an organization. We end our conversation by exploring the Aristotelian approach to leadership that most quiet leaders utilize and how you can start using those same principles today in your work, community, and family. 

Show Highlights

  • Why do we see leaders as heroic, on-the-front-lines types of people?
  • How can heroic leadership get in the way of progress?
  • How quiet leaders are different from heroic leaders
  • The scenarios in which quiet leadership is the better model, and vice versa
  • The importance of pragmatic realism in leadership, and how to build that skill
  • How to remain realistic without falling into cynicism
  • The myth of the angelic motives of quiet leaders and why it’s okay to be selfish with your career
  • Why honing your managerial — that is, quiet — skills is important
  • Lincoln’s creative political maneuver that displayed quiet leadership
  • Why everyone should know the value of compromise, and how to do it
  • The role of rule-bending and flexibility in leadership
  • The 3 quiet virtues of leadership

Resources/People/Articles Mentioned in Podcast

Leading Quietly is one of the most practical and nuanced on books on leadership I’ve read. I’ve applied several of the principles in the book to my own life and have seen immediate results.

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