The Dichotomy of Leadership: Balancing the Challenges of Extreme Ownership to Lead and Win Hardcover – Illustrated, 25 September 2018
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WHAT READERS ARE SAYING ABOUT THE DICHOTOMY OF LEADERSHIP:
"Until this point in my life, I've never read a book that reveals the truths of leadership in such detail and rawness. The true value of this book cannot be quantified in words." --Pete Roberts, Co-Founder & CEO, Origin Maine USA
"The Dichotomy of Leadership needs to come with a warning label: BRUTALLY HONEST. Finally, a book that tells the truth on how hard and complex it can be to tackle leadership challenges." --Lindi Horton, Director of Cloud Services, Cyber Security Company
"Inspiring, practical, and honest lessons that transcend the battlefield. Buy this book, read it, and apply the lessons to any challenge." --Sarah Armstrong, CFO, Mesa Technical Associates
"The Dichotomy of Leadership provides even more depth and dimension to the principles of Extreme Ownership." --Sonja Winkler, Senior Director of Operations, Nashville Symphony
Jocko and Leif have done the impossible. The Dichotomy of Leadership is better than Extreme Ownership. In this book they refine the principles that made two of the leading voices in management and leadership today. All of the questions your team asked after reading Extreme Ownership are answered. The nuance provided in The Dichotomy of Leadership is exactly what our team needed to fully implement Extreme Ownership. --Bryce Maddock, CEO, TaskUs
"Even better than Extreme Ownership. It's FREAKING AWESOME." --Joe Masciantonio, Vice President of Sales, The Nature's Bounty Company
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Dichotomy of Leadership follows the same general format as Extreme Ownership. The book is divided into three parts: 1) Balancing People, 2) Balancing the Mission, and 3) Balancing Yourself. Each part is then divided into four different chapters---so twelve chapters all together---with each one covering common issues that leaders face. Special emphasis is put on balancing preferable leadership qualities without going to extremes. Here's a quick summary of each chapter:
1) Care about your individual team members, but accept that you might have to sacrifice individuals to save the group.
2) Claim ownership, but don't micromanage others so much that no one else has the opportunity to take control and feel ownership themselves. (One of my favorite chapters.)
3) Be resolute but not overbearing.
4) Do everything you can to help struggling team members, but know when it's time to fire them.
5) Train your team well, but don't be so hard on people that they become overwhelmed and can no longer learn.
6) Be aggressive but not reckless.
7) Be disciplined but not rigid. Allow for flexibility.
8) Hold people accountable, but don't smother them with direction.
9) Be a good follower if you want to be a good leader. (Another favorite!)
10) Plan, but don't over-plan.
11) Be humble, but don't be passive. Prioritize when to push back.
12) Know the details of the mission, but also be detached enough that you can see the big picture.
The chapter on being a good follower was so eye-opening for me. I don't work in a business setting, but I am very active in the PTO at my kid's school. Sometimes the group I lead gets the support it needs...and sometimes it doesn't. And when it doesn't, truthfully, I get mad at my "boss." But this chapter showed me the importance of developing and maintaining a good relationship with my higher-ups, regardless of whether I agree with them or not. I loved this quote:
Strive to have the same relationship with every boss you ever work for, no matter if they are good or bad. The relationship you should seek with any boss incorporates three things: 1) they trust you, 2) they value and seek your opinion and guidance, and 3) they give you what you need to accomplish your mission and then let you go execute.
It's not easy to have patience when you're at odds with your boss, but I appreciate Willink and Babin's advice to breathe and remember my long term goals.
Ultimately, I really enjoyed this book. It's well-written and well-organized, and I loved the real-life examples from the authors' lives. This is a great resource for anyone who works in groups, runs a team, or answers to a boss. In other words, there's something in here for everyone.
1. Jocko and Leif have done it again. They've written an epic book with practical leadership lessons for anyone in any sized business. They blend the leadership lessons into compelling stories from their time in Iraq as Navy SEALs.
2. Dichotomy is Extreme Ownership (EO) 2.0. You don't need to read EO before Dichotomy, though I'd recommend it. EO had a chapter introducing the concepts that are fully developed in Dichotomy.
3. Get inspired by this book! Jocko and Leif are retired U.S. Navy SEALs. Jocko has inspired me to wake up early, which has been a game changer for my life. Jocko posts a photo of his watch on Twitter every morning when he wakes up at 4:30 a.m. I am not getting up that early, but I'm now waking up at 6 a.m. most mornings, including weekends, which has amped up my daily productivity significantly.
4. Navy SEALs are tough, obviously. I'm probably the opposite of a Navy SEAL. I wouldn't have made the cut. However, somehow Jocko and Leif's intensity has encouraged me greatly. Jocko believes that waking up early and exercising is the transformational habit for your day. I believe him. I've been what you call a "night owl" for most of my life. I'm now waking up early consistently. Apparently a Navy SEAL can still motivate me here in my 40s. :)
5. Jocko believes in the word GOOD, even when things do not seem good on the surface. I'm sure this is some sort of Navy SEAL training Jedi-mind trick, but it works. It's taking life head on and all that it brings you. And some good can be found in whatever it brings you. The Stoic philosophers approached life this way as well. They encourage us to embrace whatever life brings our way. "Embrace it all."
6. Jocko advocates that we all exercise daily. It doesn't have to be lifting weights daily, but some activity every day and ideally first thing in the morning to get your blood pumping. It could be a walk. It could be a run. He does advocate for strength training, which I agree with.
7. Jocko and Leif served our country as a U.S. Navy SEALs. They are veterans and heroes. I thank them for their service to our country and thank them for their new mission of service to motivate and train civilians like me through epic books like Dichotomy of Leadership and EO.
Do not get me wrong; I am a Jocko fan and like his podcast very much, however, I did not get the personal payoff and expected impact from this book. This was a solid C+ effort. I hope the authors can get back on the path for future efforts. Thank you for the chance to share my reading experience.