When we think of leadership, we think of the commanding, visionary person who takes charge in a time of crisis and leads his company to victory when all seems lost. Although this type of leader is what we think of most, there’s another form of leadership that ultimately may be more effective at achieving high performance. It’s called “quiet leadership”.
One of the primary traits of quiet leadership is leading by example, and eliciting the behavior you want by demonstrating it, rather than just telling others to do it.
Daniel Goleman’s recent book, Primal Leadership, suggests that a coaching style of leadership may best describe the qualities of the quiet leader. “The coaching style is the least-used tool in the leader’s toolkit,” says Goleman, “probably because it doesn’t look like leadership.” Like a coach, a quiet leader can achieve breakthroughs by asking guided questions rather than giving orders or advice. And what better way to empower your team.
And quiet leadership isn’t just for those at the top, but applies across the spectrum, from the leader in all levels of management, to solo entrepreneurs, to leaders of the community fundraiser, and the leader of the 12 year old soccer team. So what about you? What kind of leader are you?
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