Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win

The Founder of Inspire Leadership & focuses on unlocking people’s potential by providing them with programs; mentorship and coaching into high performance

By: Jocko Willink and Leif Babin

Extreme Ownership is a book written by two former Navy SEALs, Jocko Willink and Leif Babin, who now head a leadership training company, therefore, if you like military combat, you should read this book. If this is not your thing, then the leadership lessons will make you more interested in the book. Extreme ownership is a mindset which explains everything you need to do if you want to be successful. Authors Jocko and Leif have written this guidebook to help us be successful in all ventures of life. The book provides principles of leadership which these two authors experienced as first-hand US Navy SEALs, specifically in and around their 2006 deployment to Ramadi, Iraq, one of the most dangerous places and times in the war. The principles provided in the book can be applied to any walks of life or relationships. The principles are simple and anyone can understand and use them under any circumstances.

The principle of extreme ownership is about the narrative that leaders are responsible for everything within their jurisdiction, whether be it in the boardroom or any other setting that calls for leadership.

The book is full of thrilling anecdotes from the war front in Iraq, specifically their role in leading the SEAL Team Three Task Force Bruiser.  Jocko and Leif give many insights from different aspects that come with takeaways and caveats on what not to do as a leader. They also provide us with some advice on how to handle the responsibilities of leadership and the character and characteristics we need to be on the helm of an efficient and trustworthy team. Irrespective of your circumstances, may it be for military recruits & officers, parents, corporate executives, students, low-level management, spouses, housewife, independent contractors, and sole proprietors, the book is a gem to help you become a better leader. This is even more important if you feel like you are stuck, lacking motivation and discipline or you need to move your leadership skills to the next level.

The structure of the book is also amazing. The book structure is an area that many authors normally neglects- Regarding this book, each chapter is structured in such a way that it has three sections. Section one is a practical military example from tours of Iraq, the second section is the underlying leadership principle and the third section is on an application to business or by extension any other leadership role. 

While going through the book, I could not resist noticing the obvious, that for one to be a leader, there is a need to have a clear vision, be proactive, organized and disciplined. These are some of the principles that I have been preaching under the Inspire Leadership flagship, especially under my new membership offering.  

Other key takeaways from the book that as leaders we need to adhere to include;

  • Always stand up and take the blame for mistakes made by our teams or by ourselves.
  • We should not blame the subordinates for mistakes as it is our responsibility. 
  • Communication is key and it should be in the simplest and most straight forward way to ensure no confusion and mistakes.
  • Credits given should belong to our subordinates, they are the ones with the boots on the ground and hence should receive all the praises for positive outcomes.
  • There is a definite need to be decisive and to prioritize issues that are most important and saying no to issues to avoid being overwhelmed.
  • Always be disciplined in following plans but at the same time be flexible enough to adapt to any changes is key to our success.

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