Be a leader – lead less and ask more questions

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I read a great article Re-imagining leadership and re-energising the workplace’ by David Marquet a former US Submarine commander. Marquet took on the USS Sante Fe and turned the crew from one of the poorest performing to top performer.

The article outlines his approach to leadership that worked so well. He describes it; “Our revolution embraces the notion that “I lead myself.” I am responsible for my intellectual energy and passion. At the same time, it rejects the notion that leaders lead people. What do leaders do then? Well, they create the structures where people lead themselves.”

It is an interesting read and really reminds us that we can lead all we want, but if we do not create the right environment that motivates people, gives people a sense of their own worth and feeling of control as well as challenging them, then we will not succeed.

I particularly liked his concept around operational briefings saying that the leaders should in fact not give direction but instead expect team members to come prepared having already spent time deciding what they feel is the appropriate thing to do. The role of the leader is not to tell, but to ask questions to verify that all has been thought off and confirm the arrangements across the team. He called this “certifications”.

In hospitality we have a lot of briefings – would a change of approach change the results for you and the team not only in terms of immediate operational outcomes but also employee motivation and engagement?

Let me know what you think or, if you are working with this approach, the difference it has made for you.

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