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Highlight Clip of The Tim Ferriss Show: The Scariest Navy SEAL I've Ever Met...And What He Taught Me

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Last Played: January 14, 2022
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Jocko Willink, the scariest Navy SEAL that Tim's ever met, talks about what it takes to be a great leader. Check out the rest of the episode for a fascinating interview with Jocko, a legend in the Special Operations world.
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when you when you look at the reason I was asking about the smaller groups that are sent out to the 8 to 10 seals within the Iraqi, um, colleagues, Uh, what distinguishes a good leader in that type situation or in buds or elsewhere? I mean, what, what? What have you observed and learned about what makes a good leader versus a good or mediocre or a bad? Later? Uh, again, it's It's the the immediate answer that comes to mind this humility, because you've got to be humble and you've got to be coachable. You know that we would fire guys later, when I was running training, we would fire Ah couple leaders in every from every seal team because they couldn't they couldn't lead, and 99.9% of the time it was wasn't a question of their ability. It was a question of their ability to listen and their ability to step outside and see that maybe there's a better way to do things. Eso that's that's number one. And number two, I would say, is a new individual who is balanced and you know I talk about there's a There's a phrase that I use. It's the dichotomy of leadership. So lead in a leadership situation. You're constantly balancing these opposing forces. So you have to be aggressive. Absolutely. Can you be too aggressive? Yes, you can. Um can you be? Do you need to be courageous? Yes. You dio. Can you be foolhardy and get people killed? Absolutely. So there's all these balances. Can you be too close to your men? Yes, you can. Can you be not close enough? Yes, you can. You can you be too robotic? Yes, you can. Can you be too emotional? Absolutely. So what? I find the best leaders. They have this ability to balance all those opposing forces. And and usually, when you do find a problem, you know, if you're if you're making if you realize that your leadership isn't working, generally you can look and say, Oh, I'm going too far in one direction on this particular, uh, force This dichotomy leadership. I'm going too far. And being being overbearing, I'm micromanaging. You know, micromanage is a great one, right? You can obviously micromanager people and they won't act. They won't do anything on their own. They won't take any initiative. And that's horrible. The other end is you cannot give them the guidance that they need and and not pay close enough attention to them. And now they don't know what the mission is or what they're doing. So there's all these dichotomies that you have to balance as a leader. And you know, I think that between being humble and balancing all those dichotomies of leadership is what makes a good leader and how would say the ability to listen and be coachable. Um, what would be an example of how that manifests itself? Just how you would observe that and say, That's a guy who is good at what? Being humble and coachable or the opposite, right? Like So I'm looking for the things that you would observe or here where you're like, You know what? I think we might have to let that guy go. Yeah, you'd see a guy again. Now we're going back to training. We put these guys through very, um, realistic and challenging training, to say the least, and I know if there's any guys that went through training when I was running it right now, they're chuckling because it was very realistic, psychotic and we put so much pressure on these guys and overwhelmed them and, you know, Ah, good leader would come back and say I lost it. I didn't control it. I didn't I didn't do a good job. I didn't see what was happening. I got too absorbed in this little tiny tactical situation that was right in front of me. They they Either they'd make those criticisms themselves about themselves. Or they'd say, What did I do wrong? And when you told them they'd nod their head, they pull out their notebook, they take notes and and that right there, you know, that's a guy that's gonna that's gonna make it that's gonna do it right. And then you get the guy that comes in and he's immediately saying, uh, you know, you say, Well, what do you think of the operation or if it was a disaster, you say it was a disaster and go well, what went wrong? And immediately it's well, my assault team leader didn't do X, and my mobility commander didn't do why. And I told those guys I wanted him to over there and they didn't go there, finger pointing immediately, finger pointing and That's just a telltale sign. You've got a guy that's not humble enough and and coachable, and it's It's an awful thing and you can try and you can try and change people, and sometimes they would change. But it's difficult to get them to change. You know, that's some people are born with that characteristic, and and it's it's a bummer to see, because it's if you can't fix them, you can't fix them right And they're not gonna listen anybody. It sounds like it's self awareness is also a big component of that to have the the awareness to kind of step outside and objectively evaluate yourself.
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