It seems like everyone these days has advice on how to be a good leader. But who better to advise the masses on leadership skills than those who lead America’s most heroic men and women into combat every day? Thanks to a report released by Business Insider, everyday Americans can now have access to some of the key leadership ideas that help make U.S. Special Forces so successful.
The folks at BI interviewed former Navy SEAL commanders Jocko Willink and Leif Babin, former Delta Force commander going by the pseudonym Dalton Fury, and retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal — who led the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) branch of SOCOM before leading American forces in the war in Afghanistan.
Here are the abridged versions of their lessons.
1. Manage your boss
Fury notes that having your superior trust you to succeed is key. When plan A does not always work, step up to show that you can handle a situation and earn your boss’ trust.
2. Mitigate risk as much as possible
Fury also noted that attention to detail is incredibly important. “See the forest through the trees, and anticipate as many scenarios in a mission as possible, in order to always have a plan ready to go with the least risky choice available,” he told BI.
3. Have a set of standards that guide decisions
“There are a set of standards that you know are right,” McChrystal said to BI. “They may look and feel different at times, but those standards should guide you.”
“The reality is we often delay making decisions when we already know the right answer and we’re trying somehow to prevent ourselves from having to make that step because we’re trying to mitigate all the reaction we’ll get to it,” he said. “But sometimes you just have to cut bait and do it.”
4. Be the alpha, but don’t be overbearing
Fury told BI, “Play well with others — but remain the alpha.”
“That being said,” he added, “my subordinates also knew that if they wanted to complain about the hard work and relentless push to accomplish the mission I expected of them, they best take those thoughts elsewhere.”
5. Be calm without being robotic
“People do not follow robots,” Fury wrote.”And at that moment when you apply this secret, realizing you are not one of the action heroes — more Clark Kent than Superman — you have met the first standard for actually leading high-performance teams.”
6. Trust your subordinates
Trust is at the core of what makes elite units elite. McChrystal said that the Navy SEALs’ intense, selfless teamwork from the top down that allows them to process any challenge with “near telepathy.”
7. A team’s success falls entirely on its leader
Taking ownership in a leading position is key. As Babin writes,”whether or not your team succeeds or fails is all on you.”
The Full original report can be read on Business Insider’s website linked below.
(H/T Business Insider)