The numbers are down. The deal fell through. The team missed our delivery date. Who’s to blame?

If they didn’t get it right, then I didn’t do my part to help them get there. No amount of blaming will change the result – it only makes it worse. But every moment of problem solving to understand the gaps and fill them – without blaming – will immediately improve things today AND next time.

Leaders who learn, can humble themselves, own the issue, and help make it right.

This was the very direct yet sincere message from my recent listen to “Extreme Ownership: How Navy SEALs Lead and Win” by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin. Their message is direct, yet respectful, while seeking to help leaders balance the dichotomies we face every day.

One of my surprises from the stories in Extreme Ownership was how they personalized their approach to help each team member succeed. It wasn’t one-size-fits-all… they had to figure out what that person needed to believe in the mission and dive in.

On the battlefield a team getting it wrong can cost injuries or lives, that are often avoidable in some way. Other jobs have a similar focus on safety like the ER or a construction site.

For the rest of us, this commitment to owning the outcome is just as important even though physical safety may not be at stake. Our overall economic and social well-being is still impacted.

Extreme ownership isn’t about becoming extreme, just holding yourself ultimately responsible to get things right when tempted to pass the buck. The authors are former SEALS who consult with businesses to help them realize “there are no bad teams, only bad leaders.”

Yes, there are individuals who may not be pulling their weight, but the overall team’s effectiveness depends on the leader’s commitment to help them succeed. If you have a person who isn’t responding to coaching, then you have to own that and replace them with someone who will.

“Tell, sell, and hope it gels” is not leadership.

In every significant team failure to deliver, real change comes from honestly assessing the root cause of the miss. Admit your part as the leader. It’s OK, you’re always learning too!

Yes, we need to manage process AND lead people to take responsibility for getting the process right. Not by bossing around, but helping each person connect with, and take ownership, of their part of the process and the overall result. You’re learning it together.

Agree? Disagree? Have you experienced this in some way?

Life is a team sport. Own your team’s success AND failures to help them get it right.

#ExtremeOwnership #TeamBuilding #TalentManagement #Accountability #CrownClarity