Every day, we hear and read stories of situations where a low-ranking employee or team member makes a mistake, causes a problem, or gets out of line. The boss, manager, or coach is quick to avoid blame, pointing out that the infraction was the result of the guilty individual’s own poor choices or behavior.
What’s wrong with this picture?
The effective leader recognizes that everything that happens under her watch is her responsibility. Everything. She takes ownership of the mistake, finds out what caused the problem and takes step to prevent the problem from taking place in the future. The book “Extreme Ownership” calls this behavior by enlightened leaders, well, “extreme ownership.” The book details the practices of the U.S. Navy SEALS, pointing out all of the ways the SEALS must practice extreme ownership to win their battles.
In business, the principle of extreme ownership plays out every day. If you’ve got employees, when your customer complains about a delayed product launch, sub-par service or miscommunication, you could pass the buck to the employee who made the mistake. Or, you could do what your customer wants you to do: own the problem, take accountability for it, and fix it.
Now, what if the problem was TOTALLY out of your control, caused by a supplier upstream, a power outage or an act of God? Your customer wants you to do the same. “Extreme Ownership” calls for you to take responsibility for everything. And when you do, your employees will notice. They will begin taking extreme ownership. Your partners and customers will appreciate it. And your reputation will grow. You will be recognized as a great leader, but only if you’re willing to step out of your comfort zone and take extreme ownership.
SBS Idea of the Day: Look back at the last time something went wrong in your business. Who took the responsibility for it? If you didn’t squarely own it, there’s an opportunity for you to strengthen your company by accepting ownership of the problem, figuring out the root cause, and taking steps to prevent it from happening again.