“There are no bad teams, only bad leadership” Jocko Willink, Leif Babin
Own your actions and take responsibility for them – HoskWisdom
The book Extreme Ownership is written by two Seal officers and the core message is leaders take extreme ownership and responsibility for the actions of their team.
There are some great quotes in the book which I’m sure many readers can empathize with
“If I shouted less and encouraged more, my team would have done better“
I believe in encouraging effort, skills and ability can be learnt but without a person putting in effort nothing gets done. Instead of criticizing, shouting or blaming individuals you should focus on encouragement and how people can get better.
“I had to take complete ownership of what went wrong. That is what a leader does — even if it means getting fired. If anyone was to be blamed and fired for what happened, let it be me.”
The leader must take responsibility for the teams actions. If someone checks in bad code this is because the person felt it was OK. If the quality of someone’s work isn’t good enough, it‘s because you have explained the standard you expect.
Implementing Extreme ownership requires checking your ego and operation with a high degree of humility. Admitting mistakes, taking ownership, and developing a plan to overcome challenges are integral to any successful team. Ego can prevent a leader from conducting an honest, realistic assessment of his or her own performance and the performance of the team. Jocko Willink
“When setting expectations, no matter what has been said or written, if substandard performance is accepted and no one is held accountable — if there are no consequences — that poor performance becomes the new standard. Therefore, leaders must enforce standards.” Jocko Willink
“It‘s not what you preach, it‘s what you tolerate“ Jocko Willink
You are responsible
The key message in the book is extreme ownership and you are responsible for the work produced by the team you work in.
You collaborate with other people and teams, sometimes the quality of work or the the time taken to produce the work can have a negative effect on the project.
It‘s easy to place the blame on other people and think you have done your work so the blame should be attributed to you. Extreme ownership says you should take responsibility for any work you have worked on.
If you are the leader of a team, you can ask yourself could you have done better. Could you
- Explained things clearer
- helped others resolve their pain points
- given more help (resources, knowledge)
- can you work differently to help others to their part of the work
If some part of the project is not working you should think what can you do better to help the team work more effectively because you are responsible for delivering the project and how can you do that better. You might be working with other people but you should take responsibility of the work done.
When people make mistakes it’s not usually the person who is at fault but the system which let them make a mistake. The problem is not with the person but inherent in the systems and processes.