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Leadership is Language

L. David Marquet
The Hidden Power of What You Say -- And What You Don't

In his last book, Turn the Ship Around!, (which is one of Brad Malone’s favorite books on leadership), Marquet told the incredible story of abandoning command-and-control leadership on his submarine and empowering his crew to turn the worst performing submarine to the best performer in the fleet. Now, with Leadership is Language he gives businesspeople the tools they need to achieve such transformational leadership in their organizations.

It’s time to ditch the industrial age playbook of leadership. In Leadership is Language, you’ll learn how choosing your words can dramatically improve decision-making and execution on your team.

Too many leaders fall in love with the sound of their own voice, and wind-up dictating plans and digging in their heels when problems begin to emerge. Even when you want to be a more collaborative leader, you can undermine your own efforts by defaulting to command-and-control language we’ve inherited from the industrial era.

You need to foster a climate of collaborative experimentation that encourages people to speak up when they notice problems and work together to identify and test solutions.

Marquet outlines six plays for all leaders, anchored in how you use language:

  • Control the clock, don’t obey the clock
  • Collaborate, don’t coerce
  • Commit, don’t comply
  • Complete, not continue
  • Improve, don’t prove
  • Connect, don’t conform


Leadership is Language is Recommended Reading for Navigate Academy Module 19: Project Internal Kick-off Meeting & Planning

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