How to Be a Quiet Leader and Have a Big Impact

Alyssa Gregory

There are many different leadership styles that are directly related to the leader’s personality and character, and many more that are a combination of several different philosophies. Many leadership styles, though, can be successfully implemented with a quiet approach.

Must-Haves for Quiet Leadership

Quiet leaders are powerful. They focus on action instead of words, and are able to generate excitement, encourage ownership and develop loyalty in unique ways. But it’s not easy to become an effective quiet leader. There are many factors that come into play if you are going to be successful at leading quietly, including:

  • Earning the respect of your team
  • Displaying confidence, but not overconfidence
  • Being understanding, compassionate and open-minded
  • Thinking laterally, not hierarchically
  • Having a likeable and relatable personality
  • Being approachable and easy to talk to

How to Be a Quiet Leader

Quiet leadership may certainly be easier for those that already have the analytical and possibly introverted behaviors already in place, but anyone can adopt a quieter leadership style by taking some conscious actions.


One of the most valuable qualities of a quiet leader is his/her ability to listen and hear what is being said. A quiet leader is not a tyrant, leading with an attitude of “my way or the highway.” It’s more about giving everyone a chance to contribute, share in the process and have ownership in the result.

Effective listening not only means giving team members a chance to talk and share suggestions, points of view and ideas, but it also means that each suggestion will be considered and respected.

Let Go of the Ego

Quiet leaders lack something that is stereotypically present in good leaders – an exaggerated ego. When you think “leader,” you may think “loud,” but those two words are certainly not synonymous. In fact, many times the volume comes from overconfidence, a competitive nature and inherent need to feed an ego.

If you can lead without directly relating your success or failure back to your own self-worth, you can turn down the volume and lead just as (or more) effectively.

Follow Your Own Lead

A good strategy in all types of leaders, but particularly quiet leaders, is never asking your team to do something you wouldn’t do yourself. And secondary to that is following the team ground rules and guidelines that you’re asking everyone else to follow.

If you hold yourself to the same standards and accountability that you are placing on your team, you will be quicker to earn their trust and respect. A must-have for effective leadership of any kind.

Keep Your Cool

Quiet leaders don’t fly off the handle when things go awry; they are able to stay calm, cool and collected in times of crisis.

Keeping your cool as a quiet leader also means being able to take constructive criticism from your team, being open-minded, and being able to admit when you’re wrong.

How Loud Are You?

I don’t necessarily think quiet leaders are always more effective than their boisterous counterparts, but I do think leading quietly can be more successful in some situations. Once you build up that level of respect with your team, you really don’t have to speak loudly to be heard. And that is the power of quiet leadership.

But what is more effective for you? Do you lead quietly or find that an increase in volume gets better results?

Image credit: bewinca