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adrw // Andrew Alexander

The Dichotomy of Leadership

Books, Author(Jocko Willink), Author(Leif Babin)1 min read

2018 | Jocko Willink, Leif Babin

A follow up to their book Extreme Ownership, former Navy Seal leaders Jocko Willink and Leif Babin outline the key tradeoffs in leadership, emphasizing that the ideal is not to be out on an extreme end of a spectrum for any given principle (which some had miniterpreted the title of their first book to imply), but to have a reasonable and effective medium that balances the tension of any given principle spectrum.

Example dichotomies include (from the Amazon book description):

  • Take Extreme Ownership of everything that impacts their mission, yet utilize Decentralize Command by giving ownership to their team.
  • Care deeply about their people and their individual success and livelihoods, yet look out for the good of the overall team and above all accomplish the strategic mission.
  • Exhibit the most important quality in a leader―humility, but also be willing to speak up and push back against questionable decisions that could hurt the team and the mission.

I found the stories from their military experience and business examples from their leadership consulting work, similar to the first book, compelling and effective at driving the point home.

This book certainly some overlap in content with the first book, and seems to be more of a nuanced follow up for leaders who may have taken the original principles to the extreme.

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