Extreme Ownership for College 1.2: No Bad Teams, Only Bad Leaders

My analysis of the terrific book “Extreme Ownership” by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin. Part 2 of 12.

I’ll focus on what 21-year old, just-graduated, tech-loving kids (people like me) or college students can relate to. Hopefully there’s some value in these articles even if you don’t fit that demographic. This is not a summary of the book by any means. My goal will be to give my perspective on these lessons and hopefully incite some thoughts from you, the reader. Let’s begin.

My copy of “Extreme Ownership”

“as a leader, it’s not what you preach, it’s what you tolerate” (Page 54)

This chapter is definitely tightly wound with the previous chapter. As a leader in any setting, you really should be holding people to a higher standard. It doesn’t necessarily mean you need to be micromanaging or be a “bossy” person, but it means that you should 1) lead by example and 2)hold people accountable.

Leading by example means “walking the walk” and not just “talking the talk”. I remember hearing those lines a lot especially when there was some person who would bluster with bravado about what they were capable of but were not able to deliver when the time came. You have simply got to do it before others can truly believe and follow. This also leads to being more able to hold people accountable. It’s tough to tell someone to do something when they know you’re not actually doing it.

In the similar vein of project groups from the previous one in this series, being chill with your project won’t get you to success. I’ve seen too many times that not being anal about people’s roles/accountability in the beginning leads to procrastination and lower grades. Be on top of things from the get-go. Assume the leadership role, delegate stuff to be done(but leave some for yourself so your teammates can see you as an example) and make sure everyone delivers. Trust me, following this approach will lead to finishing a project a week before, with no more work than normal.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments section!

Willink, Jocko, and Leif Babin. Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win. Macmillan, 2018.

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