5 Tactics for Effective Leadership

Jocko Willink joined Fox News Digital for an on-camera interview. Leadership is the “most important thing,” he said. “Good leadership has the most massive impact on the performance of a team.”


“We solve problems through leadership, through interacting with other human beings,” he said.


“That was very clear when I was in the military,” he said. “When you had a good leader, that platoon or battalion would perform well. If you had a bad leader, that platoon would not perform well.”


“So good leadership has the most massive impact on the performance of a team,” he added.


“Of all the different things that I have learned to do throughout my life, leadership was the most important,” he said. “It’s the thing that I ended up teaching to the young leaders in my last few years inside the SEAL teams.”


“I realized almost instantly that all the leadership lessons that I had learned inside the military, under the most stressful environment possible, applied in any leadership situation,” he said.


“I know that when you have problems in an organization, those problems are leadership problems, and leadership is how you solve those problems.”


The former SEAL revealed a few of his top tips for achieving effective leadership through the lens of military initiatives.


  1. Listen

Although this may seem “counterintuitive,” Willink said that listening to input and feedback from members of a team will improve leadership performance.


This includes considering the ideas of other team members and adopting a “decentralized command” approach in which everyone chips in as a leader.


“Everyone has to be aligned,” he said. “And then you have to empower those subordinate leaders.”


Particularly in the age of hybrid and remote work, Willink noted that using a decentralized command approach will allow employees to take ownership of their jobs from varying locations.


“People have to have a better understanding of why they’re doing what they’re doing, so they can actually execute,” he said.



  1. Build Strong Relationships


In order to effectively use decentralized command in the workplace, Willink emphasized that building relationships is key.


“If we have good relationships, then we can have trust between us, listen to each other, influence each other and make decisions based on our common shared knowledge”.


This is especially important in a modern-day workspace, where co-workers are not always co-located, Willink stressed.


  1. Practice Discipline

One of Willink’s major philosophies is the power of discipline, which he said correlates to effective leadership.


“If you’re in a leadership position, you’ve got to be able to make sure that you’re doing well,” he said.


“You’ve got to make sure that you’ve got your own world in order, because if you can’t square yourself away, there’s no way you can lead other people.”


Discipline is “absolutely critical” inside an organization, Willink said.


Even though people often view discipline as constricting, he said, “the opposite is true.”


“When you have a disciplined organization, that allows them to understand what it is they’re doing [and] why they’re doing it, [and] the parameters they’re allowed to work within, and then they can go and make decisions based on those parameters … and they can make things happen a lot quicker.”


“It gives you freedom, and it gives them freedom,” he went on.



  1. Strike a Balance

Those looking to up the ante as leaders need to first find balance, Willink advised.


“I think any time a leader has an extreme opinion about something, it’s usually not going to work out well,” he said.


“If they’re extremely emotional, it’s not going to work out well,” he went on. “If they’re extremely unemotional, that’s not going to work out well. So, it’s very important for a leader to be balanced.”


Willink urged all individuals to pay attention to certain signals that may point toward the need for a better balance.


These include feeling unhealthy from working long hours, lacking sleep, hearing complaints from significant others about work habits and missing out on important events at home.



  1. Take Ownership

Willink’s final piece of advice is for leaders to take responsibility for what occurs within their team.


“It’s your team. You’re in a leadership position,” he said.


“When things go wrong, it’s your fault — and you’re the one who needs to fix it.”


Willink also encouraged leaders to practice making small decisions quickly instead of attempting to solve large problems with one “giant” decision.


“It’s easier, smarter and more efficient to try and make small decisions very rapidly and make adjustments on those decisions,” he said.


“I think that’s one of the most important things that we as leaders can do is to create other leaders, and we do that by empowering the people around us.”


“Leadership is a skill, just like playing basketball or guitar,” he said.


I Power Seeds

Here are our takeaways and thoughts - pause and reflect, then nourish and grow!

He is a little wordy (sorry), but his words carry a lot of wisdom and weight.  Really good advice and insight.



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