Putting Leadership Into Action with Jocko Willink

It can be strongly argued that leadership is the most complex of all human endeavors. While there are books galore out there that provide leadership lessons, there has not existed – until now – a field manual type of leadership book providing direct, situational, pragmatic, and how-to hands-on skills that anyone can instantly put to use. Jocko Willink, #1 New York Times and #1 Wall Street Journal bestselling author, and decorated Navy SEAL, brilliantly fills the void with the ultimate guide on leadership, LEADERSHIP STRATEGY AND TACTICS: Field Manual

What can a field manual do for someone thrust into a leadership role? In the military, these field manuals offer straight-forward, step-by-step language and instruction for soldiers to complete their mission. In the non-military world, there are generic leadership tomes, but any “manuals” are for fixing a broken pipe, or car maintenance, et al. A manual for leading colleagues or a business? Mr. Willink offers guidance and advice for leaders, including:

  • Handling a promotion where you will lead peers
  • Dealing with “imposter” syndrome, where you don’t feel worthy of your position
  • Managing chains of command in a tactful and positive way
  • Defining the best methods for administering praise or criticism
  • Accepting decisions you disagree with (e.g., by-passed for a leadership position you wanted or deserved)
  • Building trust with both your superiors and those under your command
  • Developing humility in the form of leadership
  • Embracing the elements of “Decentralized Command,” giving orders and defining what needs to be done, while allowing those under your command the freedom to make their own decisions
  • Learning to fill the leadership gap; acknowledging the dichotomy of when to lead and when to follow

As Mr. Willink states in LEADERSHIP STRATEGY AND TACTICS: Field Manual, the best course of action for someone new is to listen and absorb all that your mentor is teaching you, and allow each lesson to form your foundation of how to be a leader and mentor. Asking questions or for assistance builds trust and helps you earn the ability to influence peers and gain their respect. In other words:

  • Don’t act like you know everything and be humble
  • Treat everyone, above and below you in the chain of command, with equal respect
  • Take ownership for the mistakes you make (and you will make them)
  • Generously dole out credit up and down the chain
  • Be balanced, decisive, and mostly, GET THE JOB DONE.

Jocko Willink has written the most unique and vital book on leadership today: it is a rapid reference manual that thoroughly explains how to take leadership theory, quickly and accurately translate that theory into applicable strategy, and then put that leadership into effective action at a tactical level. LEADERSHIP STRATEGY AND TACTICS: Field Manual is the essential book that leaders at every level need – not just to understand the leadership game but, more importantly, to win at it.

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