What is Extreme Ownership?

What is Extreme Ownership?

Libertarian Country |

Extreme ownership is the idea and concept that total responsibility should be proudly accepted by the leader in an operation, business or political office.

The purpose of extreme ownership is to maximize efficiency top-down, conveying the message and ethos of strength and stability throughout an organization.

An effective business leader who embraces extreme ownership does not blame their team members for any failure within the company. "There are no bad subordinates, only bad leaders."

Applying the principles of extreme ownership to your business or organization gives you the power to increase performance, productivity, efficiency and positive brand awareness.

When full responsibility is accepted by the leader, the chain of command strengthens.


A Good Leader Does Not Blame Others

Picture this. The owner of the company receives an email from an outraged client. The team was unable to deliver the services promised on time and is at risk of losing a valuable customer.

Naturally, the owner of the company investigates the situation to see what happened and where they went wrong. He was able to identify the weakness in their operation that led to their failure to meet the customer's expectations.

What does he do next?

A poor leader will jump on a call or write up an email explaining to the customer that his team screwed up. He will utilize language that castigates his staff, shifting the responsibility from himself to his employees.

He might say, "We're sorry, Mr. Edwards, our guys screwed up big time. I tell you, you can't find good help these days. We're looking at firing some of these imbeciles. They can't handle the assignments. They're fucking morons."

The last thing the poor leader wants is to take credit for failures he righteously believes were not his fault. He doesn't want to feel the sting of failure, so he puts all the blame on his team.

While deflecting the blame may relieve temporary embarrassment, a savvy client will view his response as unacceptable cowardice and it will likely damage the business relationship beyond repair.

Now let's look at how a good leader handles the situation.

The good leader jumps on a call with his disgruntled client: "Hey, John, I apologize for not delivering on time, that's on me. I'm working on a solution for you and I will have this resolved before the end of the day. You're in good hands; I'm going to take care of you and I'll make sure this doesn't happen again."

The customer's rage becomes a quiet storm. While they are not pleased with the failure, they take comfort in knowing that the issue is being resolved. The owner has reached out to the client and assured him that the problem will be fixed and that it will not reoccur.

The good leader then follows through on his promise and makes sure that the customer is taken care of.

Notice how the good leader does not deflect the blame. He doesn't use words like "we" or "our". He says "I apologize", "I'm working on a solution," and "I'm going to take care of you."

That's an example of extreme ownership.

Fun Tip: Establishing a personal connection with the customer, the good leader doesn't call their client 'Mr. Edwards', they call him John. Addressing a customer by their last name feels like corporate speak--it can be perceived as condescending and antiquated. Get to know your clients and call them by their first name.

Study the difference between how a poor leader responds to their customers and how a good leader interacts with theirs. A good leader always claims extreme ownership and never blames others.


There are No Bad Teams, Only Bad Leaders

A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. The good leader, being the strongest link, must identify weak areas of the organization and strengthen them.

Effective leaders understand that utilizing resources to target weaknesses and implement proper training is a lucrative investment. Remedying potential operational hazards fortifies the mothership.

As weaknesses become strengths, the overall power of the organization becomes enhanced.

Let's go back to our disgruntled customer for a moment. After the good leader ends his call with John, he goes into action.

What happened? What went wrong? Where can I improve? How do I prevent this from happening in the future?

Instead of raising hell with their staff and team members, a good leader embraces extreme ownership. It's not their fault, it's mine.

With noble character, a good leader works closely with their management team to maximize the efficiency of the organization. They never yell, blame or ridicule their staff. Instead, they invoke leadership skills to resolve issues and offer viable solutions.

The core principle of extreme ownership is always accepting responsibility for any weakness or failure within your organization or operation.

When you're the captain of the ship, it's all on you. Whatever happens on your watch is your fault.

Conversely, all the glory is rightfully yours, but will you keep it for yourself?

Extreme ownership means that all the failure and glory of your operation are rightfully yours. However, good leaders never keep all the glory for themselves; they humbly give it to their team.

"You guys really knocked it out of the park. Way to go!"



For a deep dive into the philosophy, I recommend reading the New York Times bestseller, Extreme Ownership by U.S. Navy Seals Jocko Willink and Leif Babin.

Extreme ownership is a valuable virtue and principle any business owner, organization leader or politician can incorporate into their operation. Beyond that, the principles of extreme ownership can be applied to your everyday life, enhancing your relationships with your significant other, family and friends.

It's not the 80s anymore. The days of treating your employees and subordinates like irredeemable garbage are long gone. The most successful Fortune 500 companies have completely revamped and revolutionized their business practices.

Smart leaders understand that maximum efficiency is won by creating an environment conducive to long-lasting success. Your team members, employees and subordinates are awesome. They deserve to be treated as such.

When people feel valued, they will be compelled to produce valuable results. The more you give, the more you will receive.

Be a true leader--own it!


If you enjoyed this article, you may also like 'What Does it Take to be a Successful Entrepreneur?'

Libertarian Shirts