By Atty. Gilberto Lauengco, J.D.

Quiet leadership

December 7 2022, 10:51 am

“A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves,” -Lao Tzu

This week, one of this administration’s most lowkey but effective cabinet secretary is up for confirmation. Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Jaime Bautista will again face the gauntlet known as the Commission on Appointment which can confirm or reject his appointment. There are many who are observing this process with keen interest, not only because the department is a vital cog in this administration’s key programs but, because many believe the official’s style of leadership is fit for the agency’s present objectives.

A stark contrast to his predecessor who was bombastic and media savvy, Secretary Bautista is a quiet and taciturn worker who stays away from the limelight. Having a corporate and professional background (CPA), he is focused on the mission and the goals set before him. He is a practitioner of the Quiet Leadership.

Similarly, many of his DOTr officials are also practitioners of this art. One in particular -Philippine National Railway (PNR) General Manager Jeremy Regino has had a long career in both local governments and national agencies and is known as a focused, quiet, and efficient workaholic. Under GM Regino’s leadership, the PNR is beginning to fulfill its potential with long delayed projects starting to move along.

Quiet leaders are team players who solve problems quietly through collaboration, logical thought and encouragement rather than aggression and dominance.  In his book, Quiet Leadership author and neuroscientist David Rock shared his research on common traits of quiet and thinking leaders. He says that quiet leadership involves six practices of the said leaders. Many other authors and practitioners have adapted these practices and have helped evolve them into the following:

-- Stretch and group think- Quiet leaders encourage their team to think and to focus on the solutions and to stretch their thoughts on the possible

-- Listen to potential- Quiet leaders look for the potential doers

-- Speak with Intent- Quiet leaders speak when they have something worth to say and try to be concise

-- Encourage insight- Quiet leaders encourage insight

-- Create new thinking- Quiet leaders want new ideas about problems to work to a solution

-- Do and Follow up- Quiet leaders encourage the need for action and the desire to follow up these actions to the desired conclusion

The qualities of quiet leaders are clearly needed in government. As such, many fervently hope that they are allowed to remain as long as they are able.

This is my oblique observation.


About the Columnist

Image of Atty. Gilberto Lauengco, J.D.

ATTY. GILBERTO LAUENGCO, J.D. is a lawyer, educator, political strategist, government consultant, Lego enthusiast, and the director of CAER Think Tank. He is a Former Vice Chairman of MECO, Special Assistant of NFA and City Administrator among others. His broad experience has molded his unique approach to issues analysis which he calls the oblique observation.