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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Involve Them in the Conversation
When telling does not work, "Why not try asking questions?" might be another way to describe the "Quiet Leadership" approach advocated by training and coaching consultant David Rock in this book that describes his performance coaching methodology of leadership. Designed to get the other party to think, rather than react to your thinking, Rock presents his Six Steps to...
Published on November 7, 2007 by Dennis DeWilde

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187 of 229 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Pseudoscientific leadership mumbo-jumbo
I purchased this book after receiving a series of promotional emails, and I had high expectations due to the level of name-dropping and implied endorsements. The book was promoted as giving a scientific brain-based explanation of leadership. I am a management and leadership professor and consultant who has researched and taught leadership theory, philosophy and practice...
Published on June 23, 2006 by A management reader


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187 of 229 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Pseudoscientific leadership mumbo-jumbo, June 23, 2006
I purchased this book after receiving a series of promotional emails, and I had high expectations due to the level of name-dropping and implied endorsements. The book was promoted as giving a scientific brain-based explanation of leadership. I am a management and leadership professor and consultant who has researched and taught leadership theory, philosophy and practice in leading US and European universities for many years.

Unfortunately I found this was this is yet another pseudoscientific book on management and leadership offering over-simplified "magic bullet" six-step solutions, although one with an interesting spin, in that it uses neuroscientific research as a means of justifying and legitimizing the author's leadership development programs.

Pseudoscientists claim to base their theories on empirical evidence and take great pleasure in pointing out the consistency of their theories with past research and well-known facts.

Pseudoscientists do not recognize that such consistency is, in fact, not proof of anything at all, and they use previous scientific work as a means of legitimizing or justifying their own argument or products (for a detailed discussion of this issue see the excellent book Management Mumbo-Jumbo: A Skeptics' Dictionary - the UK amazon web site has a recorded sound clip well worth hearing).

Pseudoscientific works are typified by at least five key characteristics:

1) Lack of theoretical clarity leading to the drawing of conclusions that are not justified;
2) Inappropriate use of scientific empirical studies in support of the argument;
3) Promotion of the author as a guru with special or unique knowledge;
4) The author's lack of formal education or training in the claimed area of expertise; and
5) The works tend to be self-refuting - the works contradict themselves in either content or style.

This book demonstrates all five characteristics. Rock demonstrates his lack of rigorous thought in the way he repeatedly makes assertions that go far beyond the conclusions drawn by the original authors of the original scientific research.

For example on page 24 he mentions how dendrites (minuscule pieces of brain tissue) on a glass slide in a laboratory will grow a small amount after being stimulated in the laboratory. He then suggests that the reader try to open a car door with their non-dominant hand for a week (a simple motor-skill - door opening) to see how easy it is to make motor-skill changes, and then states that it is easy to change complex leadership behaviours with his six-step method which is based (he claims) on neuroscience.

The form of his argument is ... 1, dendrites can be enlarged on slides in laboratories and ... 2, you can learn to open doors with the other hand, and (because of this) ... 3, it is easy to purposefully grow new neural connections and create new habits. Thus, he (erroneously) concludes (and repeatedly asserts) that leadership styles and organizational cultures (highly complex and highly contextualised and systemic behaviors) are easy to change using his particular six-step coaching method, and that therefore neuroscience provides a solid theoretical framework for the "Quiet Leadership" model.

Of course this is a seriously flawed and confused argument, and one which would be rejected in any first year undergraduate philosophy essay. This is because one premise does not lead to the next, and the conclusion is simply not supported by the premises. This kind of over-simplistic and erroneous reasoning, and inappropriate use of research is repeated throughout the book and this, as other reviewers have noted, makes the book confusing to read, frequently presenting common-sense ideas in an overcomplicated "scientific" fashion: pseudoscience.

The astute reader will also be quietly amused by the stark contrast between the espoused values of the supposed "quiet leader" (humble and self-effacing) and the author's own Alpha-male chest-thumping writing style - good salesmanship - but poor "Quiet Leadership" modelling. On one page alone I counted 12 "I did ... I said ... I've consulted to such-and-such a high-profile corporation" type statements, and in some places the book seems to be far more about the author himself than the topic of leadership or leading others!

More worrying is the fact that nowhere in the book, despite many extravagant claims, did I find any real experimental or solid research support for the notion that "Quiet Leadership" was in fact superior to other models of leadership or even effective. Given that this book is promoting a new leadership model, to be taken seriously the reader would reasonably expect to have seen in-depth comparisons between "Quiet Leadership", and more established models of leadership, for example, Bass and Avilio's Transformational Leadership Model, which is one of the well-known and most researched models of leadership in the serious leadership literature.

I'm not sure if I'm cynical or if others are being gullible, or if they are simply uninformed about both leadership and neuroscience - but none of this book seems to be "groundbreaking code-breaking" "thought-leadership" or the "road to self-actualisation", just another example of using management mumbo-jumbo with a "scientific" label to legitimize and sell "magic bullet" leadership development products.

Neuroscience may well (eventually) in time move beyond functional analysis of neurological brain processes and offer meaningful insights into real-world leadership behaviors and organisational change, but this book does not, as claimed, give a solid brain-based explanation of leadership nor a solid theoretical basis for leadership coaching.

Buyer beware the "BS"!!!

A management reader2
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49 of 58 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Had promise, but..., September 1, 2006
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Quiet Leadership - David Rock

I bought this book encouraged by some of the positive reviews it received, and by the promise of the title, Quiet Leadership. I have long felt that effective leadership can be accomplished in "quiet", humble, and non-demonstrative ways and I was looking forward to the author's insights and contributions toward this leadership approach. This book disappointed me.

Mr. Rock presents his leadership development approach as six steps. Well enough. But when you actually read through chapters describing the six steps, you soon realize that his approach is more like twenty or so steps as each basic step is further broken down into sub-steps and in some cases, "models". A powerful aspect of good books on leadership is to present ideas, even if they are already well-known principles, in a simple and/or motivating manner. This book does not do this. Mr. Rock's approach is tedious and unnecessarily complex, and I found it hard to maintain my focus while reading the individual chapters.

Mr. Rock supports his approach by findings in neuroscience. This impressed me as superfluous. For, example, I think most astute, aware individuals understand that people bring different experiences and points of view to a situation. Now, from reading Mr. Rock, I understand that is because people have different and unique neural "maps". Ok, what's special about the neuroscience's insight here? Neuroscience is undoubtedly a complex field and most likely still has a long way to go before we understand everything there is to know about the workings of the brain. The assuredness and precision of Mr Rock's "findings" just don't seem appropriate to this kind of science as applied to leadership.

I gave the book an overall, 3 rating for some good material on effective conversational styles captured in the chapters entitled, Speak with Intent, and Dance Toward Insight (two of the six steps). I could not be more generous with my rating because of the overall complexity and the less than compelling presentation of the author's insights.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Involve Them in the Conversation, November 7, 2007
When telling does not work, "Why not try asking questions?" might be another way to describe the "Quiet Leadership" approach advocated by training and coaching consultant David Rock in this book that describes his performance coaching methodology of leadership. Designed to get the other party to think, rather than react to your thinking, Rock presents his Six Steps to Transforming Performance as the six sigma of performance coaching. Others might describe the process as respecting the individual (looking for the positive and the possibilities) and using an active listening process to help them get clear on the issues, constraints, and possible solutions. However you say it, the thinking behind the coaching process is solid as a `Rock' and any leader interested in developing the potential of his/her people might pick-up some useful tips from reading this book.

Dennis DeWilde, author of
"The Performance Connection"
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25 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars People are their brains... sort of, June 17, 2006
Finally, a book that acknowledged the human brain as it relates to leadership. When you want to lead someone, you are attempting to get them to think in a way that will cause/allow them to act as you want them to. This book reveals the most recent discoveries in neuroscience and applies them to the domain of leadership. What a find!

The book presents six steps to leading people and they are:

1) Think about Thinking

2) Listen for Potential

3) Speak with Intent

4) Dance Toward Insight

5) Create New Thinking

6) Follow Up

In the end, the most important thing I can say about this book is that it's different. If you're tired of buying and reading leadership books that are more of just the same, you really should consider this book. There is very little here you've ever seen before.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Leading Edge of Leadership, January 24, 2007
Quiet Leadership is the best book I have read for tying the most recent advances in neuroscience to leadership behaviors, particularly coaching. Having worked with leadership and coaching for a long time, and just recently starting working with neuroscience, I am personally thrilled to see all of these tied together. I strongly believe that the use of neuroscience in all aspects of business will grow rapidly, so this is a very timely contribution. It is worth reading just for the first sections.

However, the coaching methodology of the Six Steps is too complex for me -- too many steps and substeps. These sections still have some value, particularly the ties to neuroscience, but I would recommend skimming those sections.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Help Me Help You!, November 13, 2010
This review is from: Quiet Leadership: Six Steps to Transforming Performance at Work (Paperback)
Rock, CEO of Results Coaching System, has written a coaching book that draws on recent discoveries in neuroscience and behavioral science to offer insights into the most effective ways to lead people to make positive changes in their behavior. I found the book very helpful in thinking about the ways in which I work with executives and emerging leaders to encourage them to achieve maximum performance. At times, Rock's methodology feels a bit too "touchy-feely" for my tatses, but the overall good of the book outweighs any negatives.

According to Rock, a leader's job "should be to help people make their own connections." The subtitles of the book reinforce this assertion: "Six Steps to Transforming Performance at Work; Help People Think Better - Don't Tell Them What to Do!"

He details the six steps for encouraging growth:

Think About Thinking - let people think things through without telling them what to do, while remaining "solutions-focused"

Listen for Potential - be a sounding board for employees and those you are coaching

Speak with Intent - clarify and streamline conversation

Dance Toward Insight - communicate in ways that promote other people's insights

CREATE New Thinking - which stands for Current Reality, Explore Alternatives and Tap Their Energy, an acronym about "helping people turn their insights into habits"

Follow Up - to ensure ongoing improved performance.

In the section in which he lays out the Six Steps, Rock offers insight into why it is so rare in our culture to offer truly helpful and constructive feedback.

"As a society we not only want to be comfortable, we also have an unspoken conspiracy about not wanting to make anyone else uncomfortable, physically, mentally or emotionally. We're worried about losing friends, about upsetting people, about lawsuits. We'd much rather leave the status quo as it is. It's no wonder it's hard for leaders to improve performance, given this requires people to feel uncomfortable. It's almost on the level of a cultural taboo." (Page 54)

In discussing how to break that taboo, Rock offers some helpful suggestions that echoes some of the best advice I was ever given about reinforcing positive behavior: "When you 'catch' someone doing something right, elaborately and publicly praise them very specifically for the positive thing they have accomplished."

This is the way that rock expresses the same truth:

"If we want to transform people's performance we need to master the skill of acknowledgment. This means building new mental wiring around seeing what people are doing well. It means watching out for how people are challenging themselves, growing, learning, and developing. And it means noticing the new wiring others are developing, and being able to feed back what we see in ways that make a difference." (Page 62)

Let me end by sharing two quotations that Rock uses to reinforce his main points:

"The future belongs to people who see possibilities before they become obvious." Ted Leavitt, circa 1990 (Page 72)

"The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function." F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940) (Page 159)

In this book, Rock encourages readers to see possibilities on others become they become obvious to others, and to encourage those they are leading and coaching to think in new ways that creatively exploring alternatives. This is a book I will give as a gift to others who seek to shape leaders.

Enjoy.

Al
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Rather than Quiet Leadership read Your Brain at Work, July 20, 2011
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This review is from: Quiet Leadership: Six Steps to Transforming Performance at Work (Paperback)
Quiet leadership - If you can only read one of Rock's books, go straight to `Your Brain at work' or read this one first.

Unfortunately, I read this book after his more recent `Your Brain at Work'. If you haven't read either yet, I would read that - it is very good. This book didn't add much for me, although for coaching or mentoring one-on-one this has a great deal of practical information.

Rock is a coach and owns `Results Coaching' and so this book promotes leadership form a coaching (individual) point of view. There isn't much about team leadership or leading an organisation. He claims that will be his next area of development, but he is so good at this aspect of leadership that it might be a shame for him to move away from his specialism.

The focus of this book is the role of the leader as a thinking promoter. He offers a good introduction to recent, relevant brain research followed by 6 steps to transforming performance and a final part on application of the steps. I admit that I became a little confused by three parts, six steps and a number of models including CREATE, FEELING and the dance of insight cycle.

This book had too many elements to keep in my head at the same time. I also find that I react against pages of dialogue between people as examples; I find myself skipping over the pages and finding them tedious. However, this is certainly more of a reflection on my own preferences for learning!

Overall I found this book complex and not really written in my style, but for someone looking for processes enabling one-on-one mentoring, it has excellent tools. It also highlights the message that the most important role of a leader is to help others to think. There is a method for doing that and Rock is an expert.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Informative, March 9, 2010
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This review is from: Quiet Leadership (Kindle Edition)
As an employer, I really enjoyed this book. I strongly agree with the basic principles of Quiet Leadership. I believe an employee's effectiveness is rooted in his or her ability to solve problems by using sound thought processes. A manager should create an environment in which thos basic attitude is cultivated and nurtured. David lays out some simple approaches to accomplishing this goal.

I found the concept of neuroplasticity particularly particularly helpful. Gaining this understanding has helped my communication with employees. I recommend this book to anyone who is an employer, manager, or any other leader. Applying the principles in this book will immediately assist you.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought Leadership, January 9, 2007
As a professional project manager, the ideas in this book strike a real chord. So many books on leadership spend their time cataloging the attributes and behaviours of good leaders, but offer no advice as to how to implement for ourselves a leadership style that is authentic and appropriate. To anyone who has to manage people in a day to day, pressured environment the advice in this book is very welcome. In particular the emphasis on allowing people to work things out for themselves makes a lot of sense, as well as the focus on insight as the energising mechanism. The information on neuro-science is a bit of a distraction: it may or may not be true, and so runs the risk of detracting from some simple and profound messages. Even just to consider that everyone is thinking differently and therefore having a different experience is, on reflection, self evident, and doesn't need experimental validation. As Einstein explained, the real breakthrough comes from the insight, the experimental validation may never come. There is plenty in this book to help those who would like a bit of help, and, apparently, really annoy those who don't.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I like it, November 24, 2012
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This review is from: Quiet Leadership: Six Steps to Transforming Performance at Work (Paperback)
For me, a five star book blows my mind; a four star book opens up new avenues of thought; and a three star book is fine. I give this four stars because it opened up new avenues of thought. It could have earned five if it was better written -- and by better I mean written in a way that was more enticing. Overall, I recommend it for business people, as a quick read; it's skim-worthy.
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Quiet Leadership: Six Steps to Transforming Performance at Work
Quiet Leadership: Six Steps to Transforming Performance at Work by David Rock (Paperback - October 16, 2007)
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