A true story of turning followers into leaders

Turn the Ship Around. By Captain David Marquet

It has been a real pleasure to interview Capt. David Marquet as part of the inspiring leadership series. This book is a top read and a number of my clients have applied the tips and advice in it. I I also strongly recommend that you take 5 minutes to watch his video on YouTube about […]
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Turn the Ship Around. By Captain David MarquetBook Review by Jonathan Bowman-Perks

It has been a real pleasure to interview Capt. David Marquet as part of the inspiring leadership series.

This book is a top read and a number of my clients have applied the tips and advice in it. I

I also strongly recommend that you take 5 minutes to watch his video on YouTube about what is leadership.  The Book is a real story about him taking over command of a Nuclear Submarine that had performed appallingly badly the USS Santa Fe and that he literally turned the ships performance around from being one of the worst in the fleet to being the best in the fleet. Its performance continues to impress. More than that the alum night of people who are trained in the empowering and delegating culture he instilled went on to greatness in other roles.

His Key Points I valued are:

  1. From leader-follower to leader-leader
  2. Question the basic leadership assumptions and shift from take-control authority to give-control empowerment.
  3. Release proactivity and initiative with ‘I intend to…‘  You share your “Commander’s Intent” (we used that in the British Army) and get them to share their Intent of how they will complete the task.
  4. Build teamwork and minimise errors with “deliberate action“.
  5. Enhance responsibility and ownership by eliminating top-down monitoring.
  6. Improving morale by focusing on excellence rather than errors.
  7. Not Empowerment (where the big boss leader decides what followers can do but rather emancipation. Free people up, and allow them to reach their full potential. Release their inner abilities, their talents and their passion and create a structure where all of that can find the right creative outlets. True emancipation is when everyone has control over their decisions, which are made against the backdrop of competence and clarity into organisational goals.

Stephen Covey said: Leadership is communicating to people their worth and potential so clearly that they are inspired to see it in themselves.
The problem with the “leader-follower” model is that success mainly hinges on a great leader (or a small set of strong leaders), and people who are treated as followers feel like followers and act like followers. Decision making authority does not percolate all the way down, and while followers may feel some ownership of their parts of the work, there is little real incentive for them to give their work their full passion, energy and intellect.

Leader-leader is the wise approach today.

– Jonathan Bowman-Perks

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