There have been many changes recently withing my professional career. To help me get through these transitional periods, I have been reading more books on business and leadership to provide me with guidelines and advice on how to navigate through the unsteady waters. To add to my ever increasing knowledge base, I just finished reading Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin. Willink and Babin used real life scenarios within the military to enhance the points that they were making withing their book. Many of the concepts in the book I have pondered for a while now and have often discussed with peers.
The main points that I gleaned from the book fell into three distinct categories: vision, teamwork and action. Each business or organization has a mission, whether it be specific or general. Leadership requires belief in that designated mission. The best leaders are focused on this mission and how best to accomplish it. Not only does the leader have to believe in the vision that is presented before them, but they must also understand why the mission is important. In addition, the leader needs to be able to communicate that vision and connect his/her team and how their actions affect the overall goal.
I firmly believe that a true leader is only as strong as the people in which they surround themselves. Without a team, there can be no leadership. However, the leader must provide guidance to the team. The leader’s attitude sets the TUNE for the entire team and must always drive performance for the rest of the members. A leader must not just “manage” but provide mentor ship to the team members, to empower the team to lead and grow themselves. As the team lead trusts and relies on the other members, the team will continue to improve and grow. Not only will this allow the individual team members to learn, grow and move up, but the leader as well will be given new opportunities.
As new opportunities are brought before them, leaders are compelled to take action. They are not complacent and waiting for things to happen around them. Instead, a leader is never satisfied and is always looking for ways to improve. These areas of improvement may not be the same to each team and each person. The key though is to continually evolve and discover new, more efficient ways of doing things. Thus, the leader is constantly in a state of action and is always in the process of something that will move towards the mission.
Execution of the tasks at hand is at the core to achieve the intended mission. A leader must take the much needed time to make the necessary decisions on what priorities to attend to first. As all these items interweave among each other, the leader must find the balance between them in order to propel themselves and their team ahead. While these points that were discussed in Extreme Ownership resonated with me, I know that I need to continue to follow these ideals in order to improve my overall effectiveness as a business woman and a leader.