Extreme ownership is a book written by two highly decorated, retired SEAL team commanders, Jocko Willink and Leif Babin. In it, they talk about a leadership style where you take “extreme ownership” of everything. This leadership style is being used by one of the world’s most elite teams and has proven itself to be effective as the two now have a company that consults with business leaders on how to properly lead.
Taking Ownership Of Everything, The Good And The Bad
Taking ownership of mistakes is hard for everyone, our egos don’t want to be bruised by failure or blame. Getting over your ego allows you to say “this was my fault, let’s analyze this and do it properly.” The book talks about the human aspect of leadership, people aren’t flawless and they will make mistakes, SEAL team members are the exact same way, except unlike most people SEALs will look at what they did wrong, what options could have been done instead, and implement them. When you display this sort of behavior in front of your team, they’ll start to pick up on it.
Taking ownership of the good is definitely something you should do but in a modified way. Instead of taking the glory all for yourself, make sure to commend your team. To put it bluntly, distribute the credit among your team and watch the positive attitude spread. The effects of sharing success among a team greatly outweighs the small amount of achievement you may feel by taking all the credit for your success. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t feel successful, you should own that success, but in a much more humble way.
Learn To Take Criticism
Being able to own criticism then analyze and learn from it is critical to growth as a leader. If you take criticism with a respectful mindset and tell yourself “this person knows more than me”, you will get more out of it. You’ll stop seeing it as an attack and instead be able to make adjustments in order to better yourself. Even if you come to the conclusion that the person wasn’t correct in their assessment, you can still use it as a springboard, think “what might have prompted them to say that?”
Leading Your Team
Being responsible for a team is simple in theory but it doesn’t end up being that way in practice. Leading doesn’t mean giving out orders, the human element stops that from working. People want to have a back and forth, they want to work things out, and they want to come up with an idea of their own in order to solve a problem. If you led a team of robots that did anything you wanted, whenever you wanted, you could bark orders all day and find success, but until technology reaches that point, you have to learn to lead properly. You have to handle people with more tact, leading by example, and exhibiting qualities you want to instill in your team has a sort of trickle-down effect. Like owning your mistakes, when others see you doing it, they will follow suit.
The idea of owning the good and bad is a very basic concept, someone probably thought of it long ago, but why has it only become a topic of conversation in recent times? The answer is because an elite team of people got it to work with proven results. By incorporating these techniques into your leadership style, you’re going to see changes within your organization that will better it as a whole.