Quiet Leadership: The High Performance Secret?

When we think of leadership, what often comes to mind is an image 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 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?


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 very importantly, to the leaders in the home.  So what about you? What kind of leader are you?

One comment

  1. Myriam

    01 Feb 2017 - 4:36 pm

    Well, for one I’m not a quiet leader. I didn’t even know about this type of leadership but I want to be it. Your article is nice way to say “shut up” and more action. This sounds like a skill that needs to be honed for several years because it requires you to live in a manner where you control your environment knowing only you can control yourself. How can quiet leaders assess their team and provide constructive criticism but still maintain humility?

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