The Ladder of Leadership and facilitating change

Jason Yip
Jul 4, 2023

The Ladder of Leadership is a leadership development model created by L. David Marquet and Stephen Covey.

Ladder of Leadership cards

The ladder is an incremental scale from people needing to be told exactly what to do, to acting completely independently.

When facilitating change, there are generally two ways to create problems by assessing incorrectly where people are on the ladder:

  • If you wrongly assume that people are closer to the “I’ve been doing...” end, you won’t provide enough guidance and they’ll either be confused and freeze up OR act anyway and do the wrong things.
  • If you wrongly assume that people are closer to the “Tell me what to do” end, you’ll provide too much guidance and undermine people’s autonomy and learning.

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Jason Yip

Senior Manager Product Engineering at Grainger. Extreme Programming, Agile, Lean guy. Ex-Spotify, ex-ThoughtWorks, ex-CruiseControl