Episode#45 – Quiet Leadership

Quiet Leadership

by Carlo Ancelotti with Chris Brady & Mike Forde


The book in one sentence

Leadership is based on listening, not talking.


My personal opinion

I believe business can still learn a lot from sports. Valuing the act of training for example. Training on a frequent, regular basis. Coming all together, training as a team. Analysing the performance of the team and each individual. Focusing on continuous improvement to better your best. That is why I really love reading about great sports people.

The book about Carlo Ancelotti was therefore interesting for me because of two aspects: he brings in the sports attitude and covers all the important areas of leadership. At its core, the book will tell you that leadership is about dealing with people. People, you have to listen to in order to understand them. Only based on this understanding you can lead effectively.

Leadership impacts and is impacted by a lot of things. The book covers several important aspects. All these aspects are explained in context to Ancelotti’s professional career as a soccer coach. This combination of entertaining stories and well reflected advice makes Quiet Leadership a good read for me. I think I read the whole book during one weekend. Here you can get an overview of the different chapters:

  • Experience
  • Culture
  • Hierarchy
  • Talent
  • The Workplace
  • Responsibility
  • The Product
  • Data
  • Growing
  • Values

What I really like the most about this book and Carlo Ancelotti is the way how he deals with people: he listens to everybody, he is open for new ideas from everybody, he tries to deal with everybody in an equal way and he strongly protects his team.


To whom I would recommend this book

Quiet Leadership can be interesting for you because of many things:

  • You love soccer? – go for this book!
  • You want to learn more about what makes a great leader? – go for this book!
  • You are more an introvert and want to learn more about the value of being quiet? – go for this book!


What I learned from this book

  • “As children, we first play the game because we fall in love with it. When I started playing professionally, I couldn’t believe my luck at being paid to do something I love. Sometimes, somewhere along the way the pressures and difficulties on and off the pitch can cause the passion to fade or die. It is my responsibility to help the players stay in love. If i can succeed in this, then I am happy.”
  • “This is the way at the big clubs. You have to wait for your chance and then take it. And, when you do take it, you have to know that you will always be challenged. There is no room for complacency at a big club and it is important […] to know that.”
  • Even if you had success in the past, if you join a new team as a leader your “honeymoon period” will not last long. Soon your team members will ask “What can this guy do for me?”
  • “A manager has to work with the player to try to get him to be clear about his development; to understand what makes him great.” – I personally think this is an important statement. We all have strengths which makes us great in what we do and which led us to the place we are today. Over time and in joining more complex (work) environments we can get distracted and explore a lot of other areas. Trying out new things is good, of course. Don’t get me wrong. But remembering our strengths and leveraging them continuously helps to deliver more value. I believe in strengthening one’s strength. And I believe a good manager can help to recognise what makes us great and to develop a certain level of focus to work on our strengths.
  • “The transition from member of staff to leader is not as straightforward as you think. You have to understand that, no matter how insignificant you think your actions and words are, to your staff you cast a shadow over most aspects of their lives. Take that responsibility seriously; take care of people and don’t abuse power.”
  • “He treats everybody as an equal. He never dismiss someone just because they are not at his level; he will always listen.” – Cristiano Ronaldo on Carlo Ancelotti
  • Always be open to new ideas: “A culture of improvement is essential to success.”
  • “Cliques are unacceptable; […]integration is the only way to win.”
  • “[…] but Carlo would never  agree with the [club] owners if they criticised the players. He would always protect us. He would say that the players had done everything he had asked of us.” – Zlatan Ibrahimovic on Carlo Ancelotti
  • “Another important thing about Carlo was that, when the team was going through a difficult time, he made it all about the manager, putting it all on himself. Even if there were things going on around the club that were disturbing, he would never let it affect the players. He would take all the pressure of us and blame himself – that’s what great managers do.” – David Beckham on Carlo Ancelotti
  • “He doesn’t accept losing easily.” – John Terry on Carlo Ancelotti
  • Establish high standards.
  • Take time off.
  • “[…] leading is not about how you see yourself, but how others see you.” – so, be a role model for your team!


Want to read this book?

Check it out on Amazon.com – Quiet Leadership by Carlo Ancelotti with Chris Brady & Mike Forde



Thanks to the publisher for printing such a great book!

Portfolio Penguin