Episode 42: Extreme Ownership (Leadership Lessons From A Navy SEAL)

Episode 42 Show Notes


9 Ways to practice Extreme Ownership at your school


1 Lead by example

  • Taking ownership of your actions and decisions sets a strong example for the entire school community
  • encouraging accountability and responsibility among staff, students, and parents.
  • If you point fingers and care more about blame, your team will do the same


2 Control your ego

  • Ghandi said: “When the ego dies, the soul awakes”
  • We all have an ego, the question is how big is it and how good am I at controlling it.
  • Ego is diminished when you don’t care who gets the credit 


3 See mistakes as learning opportunities

  • Leaders who practice extreme ownership see failures as learning opportunities rather than setbacks. 
  • They seek to understand what went wrong and make adjustments for improvement.
  • Growth Mindset


4 Build trust and credibility

  • When leaders own up to their actions, they build trust with their team, students, and parents. 
  • Trust is crucial for effective leadership and collaboration.
  • When your team members are worried that you are going to throw them under the bus, they will work less hard and take less risks.
  • Be predictable 


5 Apologize:

  • When you mess up, own it, apologize sincerely and say that you will work hard to not do that again.
  • Recently, I made a decision and then informed my IS teachers. Normally, I would discuss it at a meeting, get their feedback and then make a decision. I didn’t do that. 
  • I reflected and realized that I was pretty sure that they weren’t going to like it, so I just did it. I acknowledged how this made them feel, apologized, I should have looked at our track record together, will work hard to collaborate


6  Create a culture of ownership

  • By demonstrating accountability, private school leaders inspire others to take ownership of their roles and responsibilities, 
  • This creates a more cohesive and empowered school community.


7 Encourage open communication

  • When leaders take ownership of their mistakes, it becomes easier for others to admit their errors and share feedback. 
  • This open communication helps identify issues early and find effective solutions.
  • Your teachers are more willing to speak up. NO ONE WILL SPEAK UP IF THEY ARE GOING TO GET BLAMED.
  • If all of the ideas come from you, YOU ARE THE LID.


8 Adapt and innovate

  • Extreme ownership pushes leaders to be proactive and adaptive. 
  • They find creative ways to address challenges and continuously improve their school's performance.
  • Extreme Ownership = Proactive, Blame Game = Reactive


9 Stay focused on the mission

  • Extreme ownership keeps leaders focused on the ultimate goals of your school.
  • Focused on your vision and mission. 
  • Focus increases stamina and resilience
  • When everyone’s head is on a swivel, wondering where the next burst from the blamethrower is coming from, they ARE NOT focused on what’s important

Big Takeaways:


What is Extreme Ownership

  • The idea of taking complete responsibility for one's actions and decisions, without blaming others or making excuses.


9 Ways to practice Extreme Ownership at your school


  • Lead by example
  • Control your ego
  • See mistakes as learning opportunities
  • Build trust and credibility
  • Apologize
  • Create a culture of ownership
  • Encourage open communication
  • Adapt and innovate
  • Stay focused on the mission


Call to Action


  • The next time you want to make an excuse or point the finger at someone else, practice Extreme Ownership


CLICK HERE for the book, Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead And Win by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin(This is an affiliate link. If you purchase through this link, at no additional cost to you, I receive a commission of 4% of the price of the book to help defray the costs of the podcast and the website. You don’t have to use this link if you prefer to purchase the book directly from Amazon or another vendor.) 


I’ve created a free resource for you called “The 6 Things That Every Private School Teacher Wants From Their Leader”. This guide is a 6 page pdf that will be a game changer for you. I guarantee you that if you do these 6 things, the teachers at your school will be happy to follow you. CLICK HERE to get the guide!


I want to give you a gift to say “thank you” for listening to the podcast. I have created a FREE guide for you called “5 Strategies To Help You Work With Difficult Parents”. We know that working with parents is part of the job and most of our parents are great, but some of them can be very demanding and emotional and difficult. This guide will give you the tools that you need to build better relationships and have better meetings with the difficult parents at your school. CLICK HERE to grab the guide. Thank you again for listening every week!


If you implement any of these strategies at your school, I would love to hear from you! Send me a quick note at [email protected] and tell me about it. I can answer your questions and I’m also good at giving pep talks when you get stuck!


If you have gotten value from listening to the podcast, I would love to work with you 1-on-1. I would love to take my experience and help you to feel less overwhelmed and frustrated or help you have success if you are a brand new leader. I also work with private school leaders who are aspiring Heads of School and want to accelerate their leadership growth or experienced leaders that are moving on to a new school and they want to get off to a great start. If I’m describing you, then CLICK HERE to learn more about working with me 1-on-1.


CLICK HERE for a bunch of free resources, including Plug & Play PD's (video webinars with guided notes) for you to use with your teachers, Top Lists of Leadership Books, Productivity Books, TED Talks and much more!


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