Nick and I are currently reading a book called "Extreme Ownership: How US Navy SEALs Lead and Win," by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin. It's one that has been on Nick's reading list for awhile, but I didn't know what to expect when I started reading it.
I can tell you that I've found this book to be an incredible read. If you lead a team, are ever going to lead a team, have hopes of leading a team, this book is for you. Not just in the military either. This works for any type of business. And I can picture how it works, or doesn't, in my current situations.
I mean, think about it. You have a group of people working in a business with no direct leadership or guidance. They don't know the mission or how they're all supposed to work together. And when someone gets out of line with the mission, there's no clear way of dealing with it. Or worse, there are no consequences. Usually, most people in a situation like this do whatever they want, which usually aligns with their own desires, not the business'. How well do you think that business is doing?
On the other hand, you have businesses where the leaders very clearly delineate the mission of the business and what's supposed to happen with their employees. How things are run. How decisions are made. Why the business does things the way it does. Everyone has their job and responsibilities. And if people don't do what they're supposed to, there are consequences for it. Now, how well do you think that business is doing?
It's very easy to see when a business has a good leader. It runs like a well oiled machine. All the players are in alignment with what they're supposed to do and there are no doubts about what's supposed to happen. Everyone is on the same page. There are no hidden agendas. Everyone takes OWNERSHIP for their part in the business.
Everyone in a business should know the mission of the business, the why and how behind the mission, and what their responsibilities are in said business. And when something happens, good, bad or otherwise, people should take ownership of their actions (or inactions) that caused that something.
For instance, the top leader should take ownership if they haven't communicated their intent down the line. How are their employees supposed to do their work if they haven't been told what the intent and mission is? Or worse, they don't understand the intent or mission.
On the other hand, if everything has been communicated and employees know what they're supposed to do, but they fail to do it, then it is their responsibility for the failure(s) in the business. As such, those employees should take ownership of their actions (or inactions). And of course, those employees should have consequences for their mishaps.
Yes, people may have their own agendas. They end up not being team players. But it is the leader's responsibility to remove those team players. Because otherwise, that person is going to sour the team. Thus, making it a terrible team. However, is the team to blame, or the leader?
I firmly believe there are no bad teams, only bad leaders. And if you have a bad team, it's the result of a bad leader.
Under bad leaders, teams become hostile and discontent. Employees begin to resent the under-performers, especially if they aren't disciplined or reprimanded. It becomes an unhappy workplace. Ultimately, the business may end up losing good employees, thus losing business. It's a lose-lose all around.
Of course, when the reverse is true and a business has good leaders, teams are happy and productive. Everyone knows their role and performs as they should. And under-performers are reprimanded accordingly. It creates a positive work environment where people are willing to do and give more. It's a win-win for the business and the employees.
As Nick and I start our own business, we hope to bring these principles into play. We want to trust the people we have working for us and we want them to trust us. It definitely goes both ways. We want there to be open communication and consequences for actions, both good and bad.
We're starting a new journey in our lives and I'm incredibly happy to have this book to help guide us in our leadership and on our journey.
Let me know if you've read it. And let me know if you can think of any instances where this is true. I've been under both good and bad leaders. And I can 100% see where these principles come into play.
I hope you enjoy your week. And welcome September (already).
With love and wellness,