The Dichotomy Of Leadership | part 2
Balancing The Challenges Of Extreme Ownership To Lead And Win
If you’re in a leadership position or are aspiring to take your team to the next level, then tune in to this episode because we’re going to learn how to achieve balance in our mission and why it’s essential to focus on finding that equilibrium in the things we do.
This is part 2 of 3 for a review of a book written by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin. They’re retired Navy Seals who now run a company called Echelon Front that consults businesses about how to level up their games. Jocko is also the host of Jocko Podcast.
0:00 - Prelude
4:27 - Leadership is everything and everywhere
6:35 - Train Hard & Train Smart
12:27 - Aggressive, Not Reckless.
18:04 - Disciplined, Not Rigid.
23:47 - Hold People Accountable, but Don’t Hold Their Hands.
26:47 - Summary take aways
30:15 - Epilogue
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Aggressive, Not Reckless
Problems aren’t going to solve themselves—a leader must get aggressive and take action to solve them and implement a solution. Being too passive and waiting for a solution to appear often enables a problem to escalate and get out of control. Changes and new methodologies in a team aren’t going to implement themselves—leaders need to aggressively implement them.
An aggressive mind-set should be the default setting of any leader. This means that the best leaders, the best teams, don’t wait to act. Instead, understanding the strategic vision (or commander’s intent), they aggressively execute to overcome obstacles, capitalize on opportunities, and accomplish the mission.
“Aggressive” means proactive. It doesn’t mean that leaders can get angry, lose their temper, or be aggressive toward their people. A leader must always deal professionally with people. Speaking angrily to others is ineffective. Losing your temper is a sign of weakness. The aggression that wins in life is directed not toward people but toward solving problems, achieving goals, and accomplishing the mission.
It is also critical to balance aggression with careful thought and analysis to make sure that risks have been assessed and mitigated. The dichotomy with the Default: Aggressive mind-set is that sometimes hesitation allows a leader to further understand a situation so that he or she can react properly to it.
As aggressive as leaders must be, leaders must be cautious that they are not “running to their deaths” simply because their instinct is to take action. The dichotomy between aggression and caution must be balanced.
Hold People Accountable,
but Don’t Hold Their Hands
Accountability is an important tool that leaders must utilize. However, it should not be the primary tool. It must be balanced with other leadership tools, such as making sure people understand the why, empowering subordinates, and trusting they will do the right thing without direct oversight.
It’s not what you preach, it’s what you tolerate.
It is imperative that leaders hold the line and uphold the standards where it matters most. If a subordinate is not performing to standard, despite understanding why, despite knowing the impact on the mission, and despite being given ownership, then a leader must hold the line. That method is accountability.
The leader must drill down and micromanage tasks in order to get the subordinate on track. But the leader cannot stay there. The leader must eventually give subordinates leeway to perform based on their own intrinsic drive—not because they are being held accountable, and not based on the micromanagement of the leader, but because they have a better understanding of why.
Use accountability as a tool when needed, but don’t rely on it as the sole means of enforcement. A reliance on heavy accountability consumes the time and focus of the leader and inhibits the trust, growth, and development of subordinates.
Instead, balance accountability with educating the team and empowering its members to maintain standards even without direct oversight from the top. This is the hallmark of the highest-performing teams that dominate.