Leadership Strategy And Tactics Summary

1-Sentence-Summary: Leadership Strategy And Tactics shows you how to become effective when you’re in charge by using the power of traits like accountability, humility, and others that Jocko Willink uses to lead his team of Navy SEALs.

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If you’ve ever lead a team, you know how tough it is. You’ve got to manage your responsibilities well, including training, decisions, and much more. And to top it all off you also need to lead from the front to set a good example for your team!

As hard as it is, though, corporate leadership will never be as difficult as managing a team in life or death circumstances. Thankfully for us, that’s what Jocko Willink, the head of a Navy SEAL platoon, did. Realizing how well his experiences and learnings apply in the office, he wrote a book about them. 

The result is his latest book, Leadership Strategy And Tactics. It shatters the age-old myth that military units only blindly follow orders. You’ll see just how much those in charge in these situations require all kinds of skills, from humility to building relationships with trust.

Here are just 3 of my favorite lessons this book teaches about leadership:

  1. To see the best move forward for your team, take a step backward, even literally if you have to.
  2. Effective leadership means having enough humility to do things like picking up brass.
  3. If you want everything to run more smoothly, learn to communicate well.

Ready for a big boost to your leadership skills? Let’s get to it!

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Lesson 1: Taking a step back, even literally, will always help you see your situation accurately and make better decisions about how to move forward.

Imagine you’re with a Navy SEAL team on an offshore oil rig doing a training mission. The team ends up stuck in a position, not knowing how to move forward, waiting for the call. But nobody is making a move because there are just too many unknowns. 

Your training tells you to scan for targets, but there’s only so much you can see through the scope of your gun. Nobody can see the big picture. That is, unless someone decides to separate themselves to get a better view. 

That’s what Willink did in this situation. Once he got away and moved his gun into the right position, he could accurately see what was going on. This technique is something he finds effective even when not in combat scenarios.

If you’re feeling like what you’ve got on your plate is too much, just step away from it all for a time. You can even literally move back from your desk or any physical place that a situation is going on. Then, take a breath, relax, and reassess. 

This works so well because the pause lets you release any built-up emotions that may be clouding your judgment. You can only make the best decision when you don’t have strong feelings getting in the way. And it’s best to take a breather to let this happen.

Lesson 2: Picking up brass is just one thing that a good, humble leader does.

Some people still mistakenly believe that people are born with talent or the lack thereof. This is not only untrue but also harmful to personal growth. That’s because admitting that talent doesn’t exist beyond hard work lets you see that anyone can improve at anything.

This mindset is one vital key to being an effective leader, too. When you’re called to your position, you might feel a heavy bit of imposter syndrome, or that you’re not good enough for it. Seeing that you can improve can annihilate those feelings of inadequacy that are sure to come.

But it’s also helpful in realizing that feeling like your skills are lacking is a good way to stay humble. People prefer a leader that is constantly trying to become better over one that is arrogant.

You even need to be humble enough to do the menial tasks like picking up brass. This phrase refers to the time a team has to spend picking up bullet shells after target practice, which is often considered a low-level responsibility. You as a leader are not above work like this, and you need to remember that.

It doesn’t mean you have to volunteer for these jobs. But when you do help with them it improves unity among your team. It’s also a great way to help people respect and trust you.

Lesson 3: Everything goes better when you communicate clearly with your team.

To be the best you can for the people you’re in charge of, learn how to give information effectively. When you don’t, it’s easy for people to get confused, make mistakes, get left behind, and start rumors that damage morale. 

By practicing this skill, you can guarantee that your people will trust you and you will all work more efficiently. 

First, when giving praise, make sure to be specific about it. For example, saying something like “Your confidence was key to our success in that sales pitch we did last week!” is a lot better than “You did great!”

It’s also a good idea to frame your compliments within the bigger picture. Help individuals see that each win is an important step on the way to the overall goal you’re working toward.

You will especially want to watch out that you don’t leave anyone behind when giving information of any kind. 

People not knowing what’s going on is a perfect breeding ground for an infestation of rumors. These will kill team spirit and tear down unity. Combat this by being proactive about making sure that everyone understands their responsibilities. And always be honest by trying to explain why they should follow your orders.

Additionally, it’s important to be prepared when people disobey. The first step is always to practice Extreme Ownership by asking something like “how could I have done better when I was explaining your part in this project?”

It’s also important to pay careful attention to how you say things. People listen to those who are calm and exercise self-control. And they pay attention especially well to those leaders that listen to them.

Leadership Strategy And Tactics Review

Jocko Willink is an awesome leader who I always enjoy learning from, and his Leadership And Strategy Tactics didn’t disappoint. His experiences as a Navy SEAL make for a lot of interesting stories of why these principles work. I like that I’ve already seen the power of some of these ideas in my work, and I’m excited to try them all!

Who would I recommend the Leadership Strategy And Tactics summary to?

The 36-year-old manager whose team members keep leaving the company because he micromanages and doesn’t know it, the 19-year-old who wants to be a leader someday, and anyone that wants some inspiration on how to help their team run more efficiently.

Last Updated on September 1, 2022

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Luke Rowley

With over 450 summaries that he contributed to Four Minute Books, first as a part-time writer, then as our full-time Managing Editor until late 2021, Luke is our second-most prolific writer. He's also a professional, licensed engineer, working in the solar industry. Next to his day job, he also runs Goal Engineering, a website dedicated to achieving your goals with a unique, 4-4-4 system. Luke is also a husband, father, 75 Hard finisher, and lover of the outdoors. He lives in Utah with his wife and 3 kids.