Become a More Effective Leader With Extreme Ownership

Nov 2020

One of the resounding themes in KWSM’s leadership training is self-governance. This concept of being in control of your thoughts and emotions directly applies to your success as a leader. It’s about owning your mind and acting with intention. Extreme ownership is an alternative concept to typical ownership. When used correctly, it will help you confidently lead your team and ensure your mission is a success.

“There are only two types of leaders: effective and ineffective. Effective leaders that lead successful, high-performance teams exhibit Extreme Ownership. Anything else is simply ineffective. Anything else is bad leadership.” – Leif Babin 

Defining Extreme Ownership

Taking ownership is about you. It’s not assigned or given to you, but it’s about you stepping up. It is the true essence of leadership. The practice of extreme ownership takes typical ownership to an entirely new level and minimizes the risk of dropping the ball. In this concept, you as the leader own every part of the plan. You are responsible for the success of tasks you directly complete and those that you delegate to other members of your team as well. You are the one fully responsible for the success of your mission.

Applying Ownership To Your Work

As the leader on a project exercising extreme ownership, you gain full responsibility for explaining strategies, developing tactics, and obtaining training or resources your team will need to be successful. Start by creating a checklist of what needs to be accomplished. Identify your ideal results, the purpose of your team, the tools needed, and where other team members will contribute. Then try to anticipate obstacles and create solutions for them. Clearly communicate the plan to your team and empower them to lead in their area. Keep the plan simple and focus on critical priorities.

While the project is underway, keep track of your team’s progress. Through extreme ownership, you are responsible for every piece of the plan. If something is not going well, make a change, and pivot. Even if the change doesn’t directly impact every member of your team, be sure to communicate what’s going on with everyone. Being on the same page is the key to success.

At the end of the project, reflect on how it went. What could you have done better? Where did you fall short? What communication did you overlook? What problems arose? By taking an honest assessment of yourself and your team, you can learn where your weaknesses are and improve them to be more successful in your next project. 

Extreme ownership does so much more than guarantee your project is successful. Because you are responsible for every level, your dedication will likely inspire others on your team to adopt the same mindset. This type of ownership doesn’t leave room for pointing fingers. If a mistake happens, you own it and find out how and why it happened. If you meet your goals, everyone benefits from success.

Extreme ownership has transformed my leadership abilities. I learned this concept during KWSM’s leadership training and have been applying it to all areas of my life and work. Not only do I feel more confident in my decisions, but I can also anticipate when obstacles will occur and remedy them quickly.

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