An Unorthodox Guide to Doing the Right Thing
Joseph L. Badaracco Jr.
224 pages (Harvard Business School Press, 2002)
In “Leading Quietly,” Harvard Business School professor Joseph Badaracco Jr. challenges the traditional models of leadership. Instead of looking to self-sacrificing and worldchanging figures such as Gandhi and Mother Teresa, Badaracco describes the ordinary middle manager whose patience, restraint, and ethics helps them make everyday decisions and gain modest inroads. The book provides tactics for how middle managers working within larger bureaucracies can address realistic situations, such as how to navigate office politics while protecting their positions in their organizations (through “patient escalation” of the problem to senior management). Through case studies (such as how a line worker at a pharmaceutical company responded to the discovery of a defect in a product’s safety seal) the book illustrates that the choices may be complex, and leader’s should accept that some of their motives can be self-interested. –Colleen Anne McCarthy