Featured Video Play Icon

Leadership Nudge® 332 – Make Your Intentions Visible

When giving up control, aim for level 5 on the Ladder of Leadership. This allows for robust discussions and maintains a safe environment for decisions.


We’re careful to represent level five as the sweet spot on the Ladder of Leadership. But there’s this notion that well, six is greater than five. So six must be better than five. Be careful with that. 

We think about it like a ski slope, as teams are moving up from level one, two, three, four, five.  It’s like you’re on the front side of the mountain. I’m sitting in the lodge, I got my binoculars, I can see what’s happening. Why? Because people are stating what’s happening, or what they intend to do before it actually happens. “Hey, here’s what I see.” “Here’s what I think’s going on.” “Here’s what I intend to do, check my thinking.” And then there’s lots of robust feedback amongst the team members.

When we go to level six, its like you’re on the back side of the mountain, because now all of a sudden, I don’t know what’s happening until after it happens. “Oh, I just did this.” “Yeah, I took care of that.” “I did that.” 

Now, for certain things that might be the right place for the decision to go. But if a decision has been yours, and you’re going to delegate this to the next level down, I’d be really careful about putting it at level six, at least for a while. You want it to be at level five because that encourages that sense of discussion, and exposing our thinking, which makes it safe for people to then be more bold and risk embracing, which is what we need in business as we make decisions. 

I’m David Marquet. That’s your Leadership Nudge.



%d bloggers like this: