Order Work Without Ordering

Many executives find themselves complaining that people in their organizations lack leadership. But have they ever stopped to consider if they are giving their people enough opportunities to think for themselves?

In my view, one of the key qualities of a good leader is the ability to get to the heart of the matter and ask important questions. This approach is especially fitting for mentor/coach leaders who prefer not to give direct orders but instead encourage their subordinates to think critically.

When we refrain from issuing orders and instead provoke our team members to think, something remarkable happens. They come up with their own ideas and solutions, and when we see something that we believe will work, our job is simply to express agreement and support. This is when magic occurs, as the idea now becomes entirely theirs, and they take full ownership of the work.

“We’re here to get things done. Whoever owns the ideas, I don’t care.”

The Power of Empowerment

Ordering people around might get tasks done, but it rarely fosters a sense of ownership and responsibility. On the other hand, empowering individuals to think and solve problems on their own can lead to a more engaged and motivated team.

When you trust your team members to come up with their own solutions, you show them that their opinions and ideas matter. This fosters a sense of value and importance within the organization, encouraging them to take initiative and be more proactive in their roles.

The Mentor/Coach Leadership Style

The mentor/coach leadership style is about guiding and supporting team members rather than dictating their every move. By asking thought-provoking questions and allowing them to reach conclusions independently, leaders create an environment of growth and development.

When team members feel their leaders genuinely care about their growth and success, they become more committed to their work and the organization as a whole. This results in increased job satisfaction and a higher retention rate of talented employees.

Encouraging a Culture of Innovation

Ordering people what to do stifles creativity and innovation. In contrast, encouraging independent thinking opens up a world of possibilities for problem-solving and process improvement.

When individuals are given the space to think freely, they are more likely to come up with fresh ideas and innovative solutions. This culture of innovation can propel the organization forward and keep it ahead of the competition.


In conclusion, true leadership is not about barking orders, but about empowering others to think for themselves and take ownership of their work. The mentor/coach leadership style encourages independent thinking, fosters a sense of value and importance among team members, and leads to a culture of innovation.

So, let us challenge ourselves to be leaders who inspire, provoke, and uplift our teams to reach new heights by giving them the freedom to think, decide, and act. Together, we can achieve greatness and make a lasting impact on our organizations and the world.