In the video “Greatness” David Marquet ( shares his experiences as a submarine commander.  You won’t get caught up in military speak as he tells his story.  It’s very relatable and the hand-drawn graphics are really entertaining.

Marquet presents an excellent challenge for leaders everywhere and steps to organizational greatness.  He points away from command and control leadership and management and towards empowerment and employee engagement.  He achieved results at levels never seen before!

The essential challenge:

How can leaders ensure the organizational mission and goals are accomplished without needing to make every decision and advise on every activity? 

He offers advice to leaders on how to guide an organization, empower teams, and make themselves more invisible from a command and control perspective.

Marquet points to a few key concepts:

  1. Leaders stop giving orders and instead, they give intent. Employees stop asking for permission, and instead, they start giving intent.  Leaders give feedback, not permission.  Marquet describes how this happens in the video.


  1. Leaders need to transfer more ownership to their employees—they don’t need to be the answer persons for everything.


  1. The transition to empowerment includes coaching through questions and dialog.


  1. The two pillars of empowerment are functional competence and organizational clarity. Employees need the technical skills to do their jobs correctly, which they get through training and coaching.  They need to be clear about and committed to the organization’s mission and goals—they get this through communication and dialog.


  1. When the two pillars are strong, employees can effectively “own” their work areas. Instead of teams of followers, you have teams of knowledgeable employees, capable of making sound decisions themselves.


Leaders—one last question for you….Do you want to take control and attract more followers, or give control and create teams of leaders?

Watch the video and decide for yourself in less than 10 minutes