We Need to Eliminate Command and Control

Doug Thorpe
4 min readNov 9, 2022

I never thought I’d say those words. Being a former commissioned officer in the U.S. Army, command and control were integral to my success. The ability to stand on the rank and position I held helped direct troop movement and engagement.

Fortunately for most of those in my command, I always commanded from more of a servant leader’s heart and mind but applied the benefits of command and control to be sure my units delivered results. If a soldier ever decided to not engage in the activity of the day, there was a specific discipline that happened. There was no ‘touchy-feely’ about it. The touch and feel was a proverbial boot in the seat of the pants administered by a more than willing sergeant who had access to the soldier’s whole life.

Honestly, speaking from a pure leadership perspective, there were parts of that experience that didn’t sit well with me. Perhaps that is why I opted to resign my commission when my service obligation time was up. Please hear me correctly though. I fully admire, respect, and support our military. I did then. I still do today. I’m just saying that there were aspects of command and control I witnessed and at times was subjected to that made it hard to get through the day. Fortunately, most days were not that way.

Back to the point of this article.

It is my humble opinion that command and control no longer have a meaningful place in today’s business world as a ‘leadership style.’ Too many things have changed with the way we do work and the way people view their lives as employees.

Expectations between employer and employee have changed. There are very few instances where an absolute need for direct command and control is required.

Yes, there are moments throughout the day when someone needs the final say. If I am under a knife with a surgeon in an operating room, I hope he/she is very directive with the team in the OR. I don’t want any collaborative think-tank discussions going on. I want my person to be certain about the steps in the procedure.

Apart from those critical decision moments, the work world is just not that precise. Moreso the new revolution in the workforce has demanded a shift away from command and control. Employees are no longer willing…

Doug Thorpe

Business Advisor and Executive Coach for Entrepreneurs & Large Corp Executives | Maximize People, Process & Profits