Extreme Ownership

In their book, Extreme Ownership, former Navy SEALs, Jocko Willink and Leif Babin, write about the power of extreme ownership as a critical element in highly successful leadership. “This concept,” they write, “is the number-one characteristic of any high-performance winning team…. It mandates that a leader set ego aside, accept responsibility for failures, attack weaknesses and consistently work to build a better and more effective team.

Great leaders own and embrace their accountability and responsibility for everything that happens or doesn’t happen in their organization, team or family… “the leader must own everything in his or her world.” It is about everything. As Molière wrote: “It is not only what we do, but also what we do not, for which we are held accountable.”

When situations do occur, it starts with great leaders looking first into a mirror and asking what they could or should have done about the situation. This inward look requires courage and humility to accept responsibility when things go wrong. Ego is set aside and blame is accepted. In this selfless act, great leadership is demonstrated and a heroic model of ownership and accountability is given to those served. Harry Truman powerfully captured the concept of extreme ownership in his words: “The buck stops here.”

Willink and Babin conclude by sharing their thoughts on The Dichotomy of Leadership.

A good leader must be: confident but not cocky; courageous but not foolhardy; competitive but a gracious loser; attentive to details but not obsessed by them; strong but have endurance;?a leader and follower; humble not passive; aggressive not overbearing; quiet not silent; calm but not robotic; logical but not devoid of emotions; close with the troops but not so close that one becomes more important than another or more important than the good of the team; not so close that they forget who is in charge; able to execute Extreme Ownership while exercising decentralized command. A good leader has nothing to prove, but everything to prove.

May you be a great leader, not just a good leader. Be more than you ever dreamed you could be… and more… so much more. You are the best!

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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1 Response to Extreme Ownership

  1. Jack Beach says:

    Too many assume military leadership is about barking orders and mindless compliance. You sharing the words and leadership insights of Jocko Willink and Leif Babin should put such thinking to rest. Every organization has its share of good leaders and bad leaders, and some have a few that are truly magnificent. Willink and Babin fall into the latter category and make it clear that they were worthy of the special trust and confidence the nation rendered them—as our most our leaders in uniform. Thanks Mike

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