Joseph L. Badaracco, Jr.

In most organizations, most of the time, self-interest, short-sightedness, and chicanery are tumbling together with shards of loyalty, commitment, perseverance and integrity. The churning is continuous-fuelled by the dynamism of the modern economy, the restlessness and vibrancy of contemporary life, and the age-old drivers of human nature.

This is why quiet leaders reject cynicism-they see it as too simplistic. Dark-tinted glasses distort reality just as badly as rose-tinted ones. In fact, cynics are often quite naive-they actually believe they can predict human behaviour, almost mechanically, by assuming that people will act on the basis of narrow, self-interested and generally low motives. In contrast, realists expect all sorts of things to happen-good and bad, virtuous and vicious, inspiring and dismaying. They make plenty of room for the unexpected.

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