We’re back to Figure 1a, our Control-Competence-Clarity graph, where we talk about leaders tuning the level of control to the level of competence and clarity of the team.

It turns out that we actually have a little “z-factor”. So, we say “The level of control is a function of competence, clarity and ‘Z’”.


What is ‘z’?

Z is the growth factor where the leader is inviting the team to take slightly more control than perhaps is warranted by the exact level of competence and clarity that they have.

So, ‘z’ is a control gap. The leader does that first by inviting people to take more control. This then provokes the team to “up their game”. It now puts the onus on them to up their game in terms of their competence and their clarity. Then, they grow to fill those roles and show more competence and clarity. Then the leader invites them up a little bit more and they grow even more. Then the leader invites them up a little bit more.

The size of that ‘z’ is dependent on two things:

  1. The learning orientation inside the organization and the people.
  2. The psychological safety.

If there’s no learning orientation or it doesn’t feel safe, then that z is going to be very small. It may even be 0. At 0 it feels very static. It doesn’t feel like we’re developing people. We’re not building leaders.

So, the speed at which you can develop leaders, (the size of that z-factor), is a function of learning orientation and psychological safety.

I’m David Marquet and that’s your Leadership Nudge.