Don't change who you are. Be more of who you are - Sally Hogshead
The Dichotomy of Leadership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin
The Dichotomy of Leadership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin

The Dichotomy of Leadership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin

The Dichotomy of Leadership

Good leaders are rare; bad leaders are common – Jocko Willink

This or that. Either or. Most of us are inclined to choose one option or another. It is a natural inclination to believe that strong leaders should make a decision choosing one course while rejecting alternatives. That’s where Jocko Willink and Leif Babin step in to challenge the status quo and introduce readers to The Dichotomy of Leadership.

In their previous work, Extreme Ownership, these two Navy SEALs challenged us to accept that, as leaders, we are ultimately responsible for everything in our organizations. However, they realize that strong leaders must also strive for balance. As leaders, we are charged with the mission of the company and that also includes caring for and developing our people. Babin and Willink share stories and examples from their time in the military as well as private companies and organizations that demonstrate the various dichotomies that leaders will face. Here are just a few from the text:

  • Complete ownership and responsibility but also empowering.
  • Training hard and training smart.
  • Be aggressive but not reckless.
  • Utilize discipline but don’t be excessively rigid.
  • Be a leader and a follower.

None of us can be everything to everyone, nor can we be perfect. However, as leaders we can read the situation and determine the best course of action needed at the time. Many of us have learned over the years that treating people fairly does not mean treating them the same. Similarly, we can’t treat every situation the same. As leaders, we must always be learning and adapting.

So what does it take to win? Yes, you have to be determined. Yes, you have to be driven. Yes, you must have the unconquerable will to win. But to really win, to truly win at all cost, requires more flexibility, more creativity, more adaptability, more compromise, and more humility than most people ever realize. That is what it takes to win. – Jocko Willink