LEADERSHIP IN THE LEANING REST #1 (NEW GRTFC SERIES)   Leave a comment

Today is a rest day in my current training program, and rest days are good days to re-focus on goals and reflect especially on developing leadership competence and character. I am reading an outstanding book entitled Team Secrets of the Navy SEALs by Robert Needham. Needham is a currently active Navy SEAL. I have a feeling that the publishers picked the long wordy esoteric sounding title, not Needham, because this is a very straightforward text on leadership in the context of high performing teams.

There is so much good info in this text that summarizing it would never capture it all sufficiently. My plan is to share my highlights and notes with you chapter by chapter. You’ll get some main points, and if you figure out you want the full story you can go out and hunt down a copy. Team leadership development is a core component of the Great River Tactical Fitness Center (GRTFC) training model. If you want more information or want to get yourself or your team engaged, contact me – Tom Delaney – at greatriverfitness@gmail.com.

Here is the first installment of my highlights and notes. In the text below, sections of text from Needham’s book are in quotes, and my notes follow. Write this stuff down. Think about it. Apply it in your own situation. Keep what works and throw the rest away! Adapt, adapt, adapt …

Chapter 1 – Leading the Best (Part 1)

“Every moment of a SEAL’s life is geared toward the development, education, and honing of the Team! The word ‘Team’ encompasses everything from the sixteen-man platoon to our entire country and way of life.” –See my previous post on Navy SEAL Ethos and consider the term “team” as referring to your friends and family, as well as the implications.

“You can’t think only of yourself and those factors affecting or stressing your life. Everyone’s life depends on each member thinking as one. The ‘poor me’ attitude is poison and is a mjor hurdle in any group dynamic.” – What I observe most often with the mentality that blames others for problems, is that it serves as a false excuse from taking responsibility. A person who wallows in self-pity and blames others for their problems will have a hard time taking charge of making positive change in their life, and repositioning themselves to be a support to others.

“If you have been assigned a task, you had better seriously evaluate your ability to complete it before accepting it…carefully assess the situations at hand and take on any challenge you feel that, through the combined effort of you and your Team, you will be able to accomplish.” – This places probability of success as the decisive factor. Not probability of fame, favor or fortune.

“Remember that once you have committed, you are in. If you suddenly find that you’re in over your head, you had better sprout gils and come up with a way to complete the task properly. …If you need to reset, do so after careful consideration of the consequences and after developing other possible solutions.” — I’ve talked about this quote in a previous post, in terms of technical versus adaptive problems and leadership. The ability to adapt is a core competency for team leadership, because the fundamental nature of reality is one of constant change. Failure to adapt inevitably leads to a failure to survive and thrive. On a deeper level, the ability to adapt is also linked to a leadership character trait of openness to change. Even better, a leadership attitude of expecting a necessity for change, and actively seeking out the advantageous opportunities for positive change. If you live your life expecting to regularly review your beliefs, views, attitudes and modes of living, and subsequently identifying and eliminating the unrealistic and outdated of these, you will be living well.

“Team Concepts for the Individual: Never Quit!” – Enough said!

“You are only as strong as your weakest team member.” – I look at this as a reminder to be realistic in goal setting and planning for contingencies. Overconfidence can result in worse problems than a plan was originally designed to solve. ON an individual level, if you look at your own body as your team, the implication is a caution against thinking that your strengths will compensate for your weaknesses or injuries. You have to address those weaknesses or injuries in your personal plan, whether they be underdeveloped muscle groups, your weight, or an unhealthy habit.

“Surround yourself with ‘operators,’ those who perform, always being mindful of the difference between the person you just like to have around and the one you and your Team need to succeed.” – There are obvious work implications, but on a personal level, the implication is that it is very important to surround yourself with people who actively share common commitments with you. There are plenty of fun people in this world, they’re good people, and they are liked. However, if you have set a difficult goal, are training hard to achieve it, are engaging with physical and psychological obstacles in a very involved and intense way, you need “operators” with you, not “good time people.” Sometimes you can get lucky and have an operator who is also a good time friend! But – AND THIS IS IMPORTANT – if you need to make a choice…go with the operator every time.

… stay tuned for more in this Leadership in the Leaning Rest series I am running. Train hard, never quit, live well! – Tom

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